The New Zealand Green Party believes that protecting the planet and its inhabitants are two sides of the same coin. Green Party members hold eight seats in the federal government and are also represented in 42 local governments. Ahead of the 2020 elections in New Zealand, the Green Party has announced they are running 24 candidates for various seats within the federal government. According to the party’s website, the Green Party believes that New Zealand’s government must take further action to “protect our planet and make sure everyone is treated equally and has access to what they need to live a good life.” The party also announced an unconventional plan to reduce poverty in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s Poverty Action Plan
While New Zealand is typically considered a prosperous nation, approximately 14% of New Zealanders live in poverty. Some calculate this figure (poverty) based on the median household income, since there is no official national poverty line. As of 2016, researchers consider households with two adults and two children to be living below the poverty line if they are earning less than $390 (New Zealand dollars) per week. Additionally, single parent, single child households making less than $250 (N.Z. dollars) per week fall into the same category. The New Zealand Green Party has announced a poverty reduction plan centered around wealth taxes and a guaranteed minimum income. The plan, according to the party’s website, intends to “completely change the way [the government] support[s] people in New Zealand so when people ask for help, they get it.”
Poverty Action Plan Design
The party’s Poverty Action Plan is built on the following eight points, each of which is designed to fix what the party has called the country’s broken welfare system:
- Guaranteed Minimum Income: All New Zealanders who do not work a full-time job, including students, are provided with a small, guaranteed weekly income that assists those living below the poverty line and those living paycheck-to-paycheck.
- Universal Child Benefit: Families with children under three-years-old are supplied with a small, weekly payment of $65 (N.Z. dollars).
- Family Support Credit: Family Support Credit is a simplified version of New Zealand’s existing Working for Families tax credit system. It would provide weekly payments for families based on the number of children they have.
- Financial Support for Single Parents: Single parents receive additional financial support in addition to the Family Support Credit.
- Reforming the Accident Compensation Corporation: Improve compensation for work-impairing health conditions and disabilities to be fairer and more equitable.
- Wealth Taxes: All New Zealanders with a net worth over $1 million (N.Z. dollars) will be subject to a 1% wealth tax.
- Progressive Tax System: Redefine tax brackets to redistribute wealth among New Zealanders.
- Tax Brackets: Redistribute wealth using the addition of two new top income tax brackets.
The New Zealand Green Party leader, Marama Davidson, believes the country’s current welfare system is “outdated, unfair and unlivable.” Davidson hopes her party’s ambitious new plan will help struggling New Zealanders. While New Zealand does not suffer from extreme poverty, there is still room for improvement. The Green Party hopes to be a catalyst for this change through its new Poverty Action Plan.
– Jessie Cohen