TOP deputy leader Shai Novat speaking in Tauranga last night. Photo / George Novak 210720gn31bop.JPG
The deputy leader of The Opportunities Party has unveiled some of the party's policies including tax reforms and business investment at a Tauranga meet-the-candidates event.
TOP deputy leader Shai Navot and three of the party's local candidates spoke to an audience of 15 at the World's End Bar & Restaurant in Fraser Cove shopping centre complex yesterday afternoon. The event was part of TOP's national roadshow, which heads to Rotorua today .
Navot, a former Crown prosecutor, was accompanied by TOP candidates Andrew Caie for Tauranga, Chris Jenkins for Bay of Plenty and Rob Hunter for Coromandel.
She outlined some key policies that she and her party believed would help turn social and economic futures around.
"The days of an economy based on buying and selling houses to each other, with profits often exported overseas by banks, or overseas landowners getting richer, has to end.
"It's not going to address our housing crisis nor improve the situation for those struggling to pay their rent or those that can't even think about saving to buy a house."
Navot said with house prices and rents "skyrocketing", some of the answers lay in tax reforms.
She revealed TOP's plans for a Universal Basic Income of $250 a week for all working-age adults, which would be paid for by tax reforms, including a 33 per cent flat income tax.
She said the policy had been "fully costed" at $36 billion - of which $20b would be from the flat tax.
TOP also proposes a property tax that would see homeowners billed 1 per cent of the equity of their home per year and this would be collected once the property was sold or from their estate.
Navot said TOP's affordable housing and rents policy included cutting red tape to support concentrated urban development and reduce "draconian" restrictions on builders.
She said TOP's key policies were targeted at protecting the environment and growing the economy and it was "possible to do both" at the same time.
Navot said investing in future-proofed and sustainable businesses to help the country bounce back from the economic impacts of Covid-19 was also critical.
"It's critical that as a country we pull back the carpet and deal with the fundamental issues that have caused our housing crisis and our social and economic poverty issues.
"This is the time to make a real change so we can emerge as stronger and more resilient New Zealand."
Navot said TOP was prepared to work with either main party to make its policies happen.
In attendance was Te Puna's John McKernan, who was interested in finding out more about TOP's key policies, especially the housing crisis policy.
"I also was keen to know more about its proposed universal basic income policy ... It sounds very interesting if it does help more people to get out of the poverty trap.
"I don't know who I will vote yet but I want to make sure that when I do my vote is not wasted.
"I think it's really important to attend these sorts of meetings so you are better informed about what the party stands for and the policy changes they would make."
The Rotorua event is at Hennessy's Irish Bar from 6.30pm.