Report shows National must change its economic plan

An OECD report today shows the fundamental philosophy of New Zealand Governments over the past 30 years has been wrong, and the only hope for New Zealand is if National dramatically changes direction, the Green Party said today.

“The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development found that New Zealand was the worst example in the developed world in which huge increases in inequality had hampered the economy.

“New Zealand was singled out for being the world’s most extreme disciple of the trickledown cult which has caused the severest damage to both our people and our economy,” Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said.

“We have been told for 30 years that we have to sacrifice the welfare of those at the bottom, particularly kids, for economic growth, but this shows that in doing that New Zealand sacrificed both growth and kids.

“National now has to confront the evidence that its entire economic plan is configured the wrong way around.  Trickledown is a myth and instead everyone is better off when the wealthy pay their fair share and the benefits are spread around.

“The evidence has been staring us in the face for decades. Thirty years of trickledown obsession has seen the rate of child poverty double and the bottom half of incomes stagnate while those at the top get more and more wealthy.

“This report is an indictment on successive Governments, but it’s now up to National to change direction and start focusing on the needs of the half of New Zealanders who are currently missing out.

“Before the election the Green Party outlined a $1 billion plan to attack child poverty through a child payment of $60 and weekly payments to new-born babies for families who currently miss out, and a $500 million investment in education and health.  We’d fund that by creating a new top tax rate of 40 percent for income above $140,000, cracking down on tax avoidance and introducing a capital gains tax that excluded the family home.

“These measures are in line with OECD recommendations that we rejig the economy so that the benefits are spread more evenly by lifting taxes on those at the top, taxing capital, and increasing benefits while also fixing the impact that inequality has had on education and health.

“Three years of more of the same will only see the wealthiest get richer while the future of another generation of children is sacrificed to the discredited trickledown theory.

“It’s a big job but none of this is impossible. It just requires the Government to admit it’s got it wrong and change direction,” Dr Norman said.