KRIS FAAFOI’S COLUMNBy Kris Faafoi, MP for Mana
As I left the chamber for the last time for the 49th Parliament of New Zealand, I couldn’t help but think of the importance of the decisions that we as politicians make.
On that same day, the 4000-plus signatures gathered by those who want to keep Kapiti an Expressway- free zone were presented to Parliament. That reminded me of the importance of the decisions that the public make.
This is the most important election in a generation.
Our economy is in trouble. We have a huge national debt. Our credit rating has been downgraded. Our population is aging. Jobs are scarce and the cost of living is skyrocketing.
The current government didn’t cause all of these problems, but it is meant to be solving them.
Yet things are getting tougher for Kiwi families, not easier.
That’s why, this November, you have a clear choice.
National says that to pay our way we need to sell our country’s assets – things like power stations and our airline.
Labour will not sell the assets – we know that once they’re gone they’re gone.
Yes, it’s important that we pay back out country’s debt.
But selling off our productive assets isn’t the right way to do it – that’s like selling the house to pay the mortgage.It just doesn’t make sense.
So what is Labour’s alternative? It’s a plan that makes sure we can own our future.
New Zealand’s state assets have been built up by generations of hardworking Kiwis. Over the years, all of us have paid for them though our taxes. We own them.
The profits the assets make go back into our communities.
The sums are large. Last year our power companies and airline returned nearly a billion dollars in dividends.
It’s no wonder that foreigners are so interested in getting their hands on them! And under National’s privatisation plan, that’s just what will happen.
The profits will go offshore while here at home power prices will rise.
I want to make sure that the money raised by our assets stays here in New Zealand.
It’s money that should be put to use improving our health and education systems and helping to ensure that our kids get the best start possible.
Protecting our assets is the first step towards owning our future – when you’re in a hole, you don’t sell your ladder!
That brings me to our debt problem. By itself, the money generated by our state assets isn’t enough to pay back our country’s debt.
So how do we climb out of the hole we’re in? Labour’s plan is a fairer tax system – one that makes sure that everyone pays their share, but also gives families a tax break.
First, the cornerstone of our plan is the introduction of what’s known as a capital gains tax – CGT for short.
A capital gains tax is a modest tax on the income that people make when they sell investment properties.
It’ll be set at only 15% and it won’t apply to the family home. So, it won’t apply to the family home, and it won’t be retrospective either.
Second, we’ll introduce a tax-free zone on the first $5,000 of annual income. That’s $10 extra a week in the pocket, which is a big boost to people who are finding things tough.
Third, we’ll charge a slightly higher tax rate on income above $150,000.
Taken together, these three things – a CGT, tax-free zone, and new top tax rate – are the foundation of Labour’s fairer tax system.
It’s our way of paying off the country’s debt – and making sure we have a future we can afford – without selling the assets.
Let me end where I started. A the huge issue for the Kapiti Coast: The coast needs a transport solution but one that doesn’t wreck the beauty of Kapiti. Labour will scrap the Expressway and build the Western Link Road. Our plan will be better, cheaper and sooner.