Time for tax reform
I frequently disagree with Jay Kuten's Op-Eds, particularly the promotion of his own zealous convictions and his dismissal of other worldviews. However, his letter (Chronicle, October 1) is, for once, on the money.
Judith Collins' obsession with tax reduction for upper income earners so that they will then spend more and so benefit the economy is trickle-down nonsense. It hasn't worked in the past and won't work in the future.
By contrast some of our wealthiest, socially aware citizens, are calling for a radically different approach. Sir Stephen Tindall and rich-listers around the world are appealing to governments to tax them properly so that their contribution to their respective economies is truly proportional to their income.
Gareth Morgan calls for a radical overhaul of tax systems so that our preoccupation with housing as "the only safe investment" is less of a truism and houses become affordable for lower and middle income earners. As Kuten points out, these are the people who are really carrying the tax burden.
The Neo-liberal economic policies promoted by both our main parties for decades has been an abysmal failure for the majority of New Zealanders. It is however, a win-win for overseas financial institutions, multinational corporations and the (lawful) tax-avoiding by New Zealand's very wealthy.
Michael Cullen and the Tax Reform Group understood the injustice of this. "Tax avoidance erodes social capital. It is also fundamentally unfair, because it means that compliant taxpayers must pay more to make up for the lost revenue." (Executive summary, p12)
Hopefully in the next Parliament Ms Ardern will do a "John Key on GST" and forget that she ever said that Capital Gains tax would not come back on the agenda while she was prime minister.
If ever we needed tax reforms, it is now.
St Johns Hill
My letter on National's tax cuts (Chronicle, October 1) contains an error which is due to a combination of my own weakened math skills and a typographer's placement of a dot where there had been none in my original.
To correct any false impression created, let me restate my point. In 2009, John Key dropped the marginal tax rate for higher earners and increased GST from 12.5 per cent by 20 per cent to 15 per cent, not 25 per cent as I had written.
What pro-life means
A strong Māori basket woven from supplejack is a tāiki, and Māori oratory often ends with "Haumi ē! Hui ē! Tāiki ē!" an exhortation to join up, discuss appropriate action and become bound closely together like a basket woven with supplejack vines.
The Latin word for 'bind closely together' is 'religo' and the purpose of religions has always been to bind us closely; bind us to each other, bind us to plants and animals, bind us to the land, air and waters sustaining us, thus keeping our whole world alive and healthy despite being buffeted by harmful external forces.
Being religious or pro-life is to care for, to have charity-aroha for other humans past, present and future, for the plants and animals whose lives depend on our actions and on whom we depend, and caring for the soil, water and air that sustain all living things.
The Christian religion calls this care-charity-aroha 'serving God' and points out the obvious: "You cannot serve both God and Mammon", with today's Mammon being called 'Economic Development' or destructive capitalism.
In other words, you cannot be pro-life while destroying life to make money. Some industry is good, but ever-expanding industries that increasingly pollute soils, waters and the air are pro-death. Some farming is good, but mega-farms that drain wetlands, pollute rivers and destroy forests are pro-death. Some cities are good, but ever-expanding cities that cover forests and farmlands in concrete are also pro-death.
Our world's air, waters, soil, animals, plants and future generations are already grievously threatened by the pro-death forces of destructive capitalism, so as a pro-life person I will be unable to vote in the coming election for any right-wing party that is promoting economic development to give more money to those who are already rich. Haumi ē! Hui ē! Tāiki ē!