In the long term it is important to:
- realise that wealth rather than just income is the major cause of inequality and some form of wealth tax will be necessary
- realise that the current means of giving people the resources with which to live is through wages/salaries and/or benefits
- recognise that with increasing automation there will not be enough jobs and consequently wages/ salaries for all who need them. Unless other ways are found to resource people, the
- benefit system will need to be expanded. Gareth Morgan’s Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a step in this direction. It will be increasingly important that Government either directly or
- indirectly ensure that essential services eg education, health and superannuation are freely accessible by all.
- realise that it is possible to raise enough taxes to pay for this approach. The current approach to this is entirely ideological ie that we need to reduce taxation. There are
- economists who will argue either way ie some argue that a reduction in taxation is important for the economy and others that an increase is important
- appreciate that a step in the direction of a UBI is to ensure that current benefits are adequate for healthy and rewarding living
- accept that increasing benefits to a reasonable level will not significantly increase the desire of people not to work ie on its own will not increase the number of unemployed or the number of pregnancies. The contrary view is entirely ideological and not based on research
In the short term
- Promote public awareness of the negative impacts of inequality on health (in the broadest sense), on NZ society in general (and in particular its cohesiveness), and on the economy. This will increase public readiness to accept changes towards a healthier society through movement to a more egalitarian society.
- Promote wage and income structures that reduce inequality through “ceilings” on top salaries or specifying ratios of top to bottom incomes, and/or a progressive tax system, and the “Living
- Wage” as the minimum wage increased as with the CPI. The current “Working for Families” policy helps those on low incomes but is essentially a “Government transfer” to employers and should be replaced by higher minimum wages.
- Reform the tax system so that it is fair, comprehensive and appropriate. For people, all income including capital gains from whatever source, benefits and superannuation, is taxed with a progressive system, For companies we need a tax system that encourages growth to stimulate the number of well-paid jobs See attached papers on taxation.
- Promote the provision of adequate resources and support for those needing welfare in NZ which ensures that they can live fulfilling lives
- Ensure that the essential services (health, education, superannuation, justice) are completely accessible to all New Zealanders regardless of their circumstances
- Promote education as a major tool in reducing inequality. Ensure that all children get the best possible education at all levels. Ensure that vocational training and tertiary education are freely available to all and accessible by all. Help all families to provide the best educational start for their children
- Promote the policy that there should always be enough well-paid jobs at family friendly hours for all those who need them. “Well-paid” work means sufficient income to ensure all those in families who depend on paid work for their income can live fulfilling lives
- Promote the idea that greater equality should be an underlying principle of all government and local government policies.