Below is an article written by my fellow Alliance candidate Sarah Campbell. It’s a well written commentary on why she’s running. Well worth a read. Feel free to share it with everyone you know.

Voting for a party like the Alliance – you just have to choose it!


by Sarah Campbell

I am running on the Alliance list this election. In the past few weeks I have encountered a lot of wry smiles, some open laughter, a lot of confusion, and some angry contempt. It’s the last one that bothers me the most of course, although it does make me sad and frustrated when people don’t know what the Alliance is, or think that we’re still Jim Anderton (he’s a party all to himself, I say).

What annoys me is people who say they are lefties too, and that we should be ashamed for splitting the left vote. Some of them seem more annoyed at me than at John Key. So I would like to put my case for why I am standing for the Alliance, and why that’s a move I will be proud of, no matter who comes out on top on November 8.

First of all, I would not say Labour is a party of the left. We aren’t splitting the “left vote”, we are the left vote!

People look at me in horror as if, in these desperate times, we have to support Labour just to keep the Nats out. That we have moved back toward a two party view of things in this age of MMP is sad. The debate on TV is just Helen vs John, and very much personality based. Labour’s ads for things that are “only safe with Labour” seem a desperate cry of “We’re slightly better than them! It seems to suit Labour well though, like it did last election, when people in their fear voted Labour rather than for their first choice. Strategic voting means voting against what you might want the most, to keep out what you fear the most. And it means settling for second best, and no real change for the better.

The 5% threshold has a lot to answer for here – without it, Alliance MPs would have been in Parliament during the 2002-2005 term. There is a good case for lowering the threshold to the lowest percentage that yields a seat. A lot of people throw up their hands in horror and say things like – “that would mean the Destiny Party would have got a seat.” But really, that’s representation, that’s democracy.

If Labour is only in competition with National it’s a race to the centre. Labour has not seen real opposition from the Left in years, and it hasn’t produced any left-wing policy in years. If National are their only real competition, then Labour will emulate their policies: tax cuts, anyone? If Labour sees real, strong competition from the left, they will adopt leftwing policies. I want to send a message that there are still people who believe in leftwing values, and who want more than Labour has done in nine years of “Third Way” mediocrity. Helen Clark and company have moved the goalposts so much so that recently at Otago University we saw students cheering for a very gradual return to what is far less than they deserve.

To the people who question whether the Alliance will actually win any seats, and therefore why are we bothering, I say: we will, eventually. We are rebuilding. It’s about actually having the courage of your convictions. I’m not going to join a party just because it’s the winning team, I joined because it’s the team that I want to win. Here’s my plug: pragmatically, I say, if people believe in Alliance policy but can’t quite bring themselves to give us their party vote, they should give us their electorate vote. Firstly, to appease all the Labour lovers, that won’t change the makeup of Parliament in terms of Labour v National. Second, once we are polling 5% in electorate votes, everyone will know it is safe to give the Alliance their party vote. Or if everyone who believed in us voted for us now, we’d be back in two ticks.

I want to vote for what I really believe in. I want to vote for free education, free health care, public ownership, progressive taxation and social justice. Not gradually, now! We don’t have to compromise on these things. With MMP you can vote for what you believe.

As the other side would say, you just have to choose it.

Sarah Campbell is a political activist and candidate with the Alliance Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand and a graduate of the University of Otago.

Advertisements

Our opening address

The Alliance has finished its opening address. you won’t get as many chances to see it on TV as you will the ones from the parties that awarded themselves much more broadcasting money so watch it here as often as you like. Share it around too.

GST and things to consider.

For many years now we in the Alliance have been saying that GST is an unfair and regressive tax that takes more than its fair share from the pay packets of the lower and middle income earners. Now a petition has been presented to parliament and it seems that our idea to get rid of GST has finally caught on.

The problem is though, that nobody has come up with a viable way to remove GST and maintain social spending. Nobody that is, except us, the Alliance. GST on food alone generates almost $2 billion a year. That is quite a chunk out of the budget. We have long said that GST should go and be replaced with a Financial Transactions Tax. This means that every time $100 is taken out of a bank account (withdrawals, not deposits) 2 cents is paid in tax. So you can pay $12.50 in every $100 in GST, or you can pay $0.02 (2 cents) in every $100 in a Financial Transactions Tax. I know which one I’d prefer and I know which one is fairer on the middle and low income earners, not to mention beneficiaries and the unemployed.

Below is the latest Alliance press release on this matter if you want to read further.

Alliance Party Media Release – For Immediate Release, Friday October 3,
2008

The Alliance Party has congratulated the Residents Action Movement (RAM)
who today presented a petition to Parliament calling for the abolition of
GST on food.

This petition was received by Maori Party MPs, who support the call. But
no one is talking turkey over how wiping GST on food can realistically be
achieved, says Alliance Party list candidate, Sarah Campbell.

“We need to talk about why GST should be abolished, and as to how we
can afford this. This is not just a question of making food cheaper because
people are struggling as it is, but it is more a matter of economic
justice and of being fair to all New Zealanders,” says Ms Campbell.
The Alliance Party supports wiping GST on food, and has a fully costed  alternative budget that shows how this consumption based tax can be  replaced by a financial transactions tax, where basic financial transactions are taxed at the small rate of 2 cents per $100. The revenue from this tax
would be entirely dedicated to removing the GST from food. Alliance policy is to work toward removing GST entirely, but its removal from food would be
an immediate priority for the party.

“GST is an unfair tax because those on lower incomes spend a higher  proportion of their incomes on basic commodities such as food, and  therefore pay a higher proportion of their incomes in tax. It’s a regressive     tax, and  that is the opposite of what Alliance policy is about,” she says.

A financial transactions tax (FTT) would be a very small amount to most
New  Zealanders – far less than they are currently paying in GST – but it
would  draw its biggest funds from the realms of currency speculation and
money  trading that made the likes of John Key unconscionably rich. While
everyday New Zealanders in 2008 pay 12.5% GST, and do not have the option of   moving their funds to Cayman Islands holding corporations, these Business Roundtable jockeys manage to move millions around the globe and through  New  Zealand markets without contributing to the future of New Zealand’s education, health, or infrastructure.

But the tide is turning. The financial crisis is raising awareness of
continuing structural inequalities in the world, and in New Zealand, and
the  public aren’t going to swallow it anymore.

“New Zealand is responding to the idea of GST off food, but it’s about
more  than cheaper cheese, and I think people know that. It’s about a fairer
future for all Kiwis and the Alliance can show you the money!” she stated.

Contact details for Alliance Party list candidate Sarah Campbell:

Email: sarah.campbell@ alliance. org.nz

Alliance Tax Tables

Below are the Alliance tax tables. I felt it was time to remind people that there are other alternatives out there to the two big parties. The Alliance is the only one of the smaller parties to cost out their policies. We know where evert dollar comes from and where every dollar goes. If you factor in the fact that under an Alliance government there would be no school fees, no health care fees, no prescriptions, no student loans to repay, and no tertiary fees (no bonding either) you can clearly see how you will wind up with more money in your own back pocket. If you want a more detailed account of our tax programme and our budget, check out the website, http://www.alliance.org.nz

INCOME

MARGINAL TAX %

INCOME

TOTAL TAX %

TOTAL MAX $

TOTAL DIFFERENCE

0 – 10,000

nil

10,000

nill

nil

Up To $1,530

10 – 20,000

24

20,000

12.00

2,400

841,000 kiwis will average $1,400 less tax

20 – 30,000

26

30,000

16.67

5,000

372,000 kiwis will average $984 less tax

30 – 40,000

30

40,000

20.00

8,000

339,000 kiwis will average $428 less tax

40 – 50,000

40

50,000

24.00

12,000

314,000 kiwis will average $232 more tax

50 – 60,000

42

60,000

27.00

16,200

225,000 kiwis will average $1,009 more tax

60 – 70,000

46

70,000

29.71

20,800

146,000 kiwis will average $1,794 more tax

70 – 100,000

50

100,000

35.80

35,800

205,000 kiwis will average $4,943 more tax

100,000+

54

200,000

44.90

89,800

138,000 kiwis will average $16,717 more tax

  • No tax on the first $10,000 means that all on that income will keep the $1530 they pay at present; super and benefits will be adjusted to give those receiving them the full value of our tax cuts plus some extra for married couples
  • The 67% of New Zealanders under $41,000 will pay less tax

Alliance refuses to take no for an answer in Wellington Union debate

Latest Press release. This time the CTU have redused to allow me to speak at their forum for political parties to convey their policies relating to workers and worker’s rights. How ridiculous!

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday 30
September 2008

The Alliance Party is demanding the right to speak at a Wellington
Union forum.

The Council of Trade Unions is holding a workers election forum on
Thursday 9 October 2008, 12 – 2 pm at the Main Hall, St John’s in the
City, corner Willis and Dixon Street, Wellington. But the Alliance has
been turned away.

Alliance Party Wellington Central candidate Richard Wallis is fuming
that he has been turned down in favour of anti-worker candidates from
ACT and the National Party.

“As a working secondary teacher and an active unionist with the PPTA,
I am outraged that I am being stopped from addressing fellow unionists
who will instead hear from anti-union, anti-worker parties like ACT,
National and United.”

“The Maori Party have said they will cut a deal with National, and
they get an invite. But not the Alliance.”

“The Alliance will fight National tooth and claw. We would offer
critical support to a Labour Government if re-elected to Parliament,
while rejecting Labour policies such as free trade, student debt and
tax cuts for the rich.”

Mr Wallis says if it wasn’t for the Alliance, Kiwibank and Paid
Parental Leave would never have been introduced.

“The argument that only parties in Parliament should have speaking
time is garbage. There are a lot of parties in Parliament that are
anti-union. Why is the CTU promoting them? They should be helping the
Alliance get back into Parliament.”

Mr Wallis says he will attend the debate regardless and would accept a
last minute invitation to speak.

“The Alliance is 100% pro-union and all we want is the opportunity to
speak to workers.”

Alliance Party Dunedin North candidate Victor Billot says he has been
invited to attend a CTU forum in Dunedin and can’t understand why this
is a problem in Wellington.

“As a member of the Maritime Union, I resent that ACT and the National
Party are promoting their policies at a Union forum and the Alliance
has been excluded. Alliance candidates have been supporting workers
and unions for years, as union members and on picket lines during
disputes.”

The goal of the Alliance workers rights policy is secure, well-paid
jobs. The Alliance will help workers in low-paid and insecure jobs,
reduce the working week and increase the minimum wage.

•The Alliance will increase the minimum wage to $17 per hour.
• We will introduce a 35-hour working week with no loss of pay.
• We will immediately introduce five weeks’ annual leave.
• We will introduce greater protections for casual workers.
• We will ensure responsible contracting – where private business gets
public money to deliver services, they will be required to meet
national standards in pay and conditions.
• We will improve paid parental leave – workers who become primary
caregivers should get 12 months’ paid parental leave and their
partners should get two weeks’ paid parental leave.
• We support the right to strike: workers should have the right to
strike to enforce their Collective Agreement, to oppose layoffs, to
support other workers and for political reasons.
• Workers should have a say in the way work is organised. We will push
for stronger employment legislation to ensure greater workplace
democracy
.
• We will ensure genuine full employment promoted by public-financed
regional economic development and public works’ programmes.

ENDS

Wellington Bus Driver’s Lockout Press Release

Back the Wellington bus drivers!

Alliance Party Wellington Central candidate Richard Wallis says Wellingtonians should support their local bus drivers in their quest for better wages and conditions.

Over three hundred bus drivers have been locked out by their employer.

“Bus drivers have a responsible job and work hard. They get paid poor wages and they deserve a better deal.”

Mr Wallis says that public transport is of huge importance to New Zealand.

“How can local and central Government be serious about promoting public transport when they stand back and allow the workforce to be treated like this?”

He says the Alliance supports a minimum wage of $17 per hour plus a major investment in upgrading public transport to deal with rocketing fuel costs and climate change.

Education

Recently Labour announced that they would make some form of training compulsory of all people under 18. This means that if you want to leave school, you either need to be excused from education (apply for an exemption) or go elsewhere for training, such as a polytech. The link is here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4698496a11.html. This is all well and good if you don’t mind finishing your teenange years with a student loan and little hope of paying it off.

What we really need is to invest significant amounts of money in education. $40 million is a drop in the bucket. It will make no difference to anybody currently stuck in our under funded and under resourced education system. If you want classrooms where teachers can engage in some serious one on one time then you need to reduce class sizes. To do that you need two things, more teachers and more support for those teachers.

To get more people into teaching you need to remove that most significant of barriers, cost. By making teacher education free you automatically make it a more enticing option for people. Once there we need to encourage people to stay. As it currently stands there are more and more teachers leaving the profession. This is leaving us with under staffed schools and classes that see a different relief teacher every day. A class of 20 (Max) would instantly make the life and workload of teachers more bearable.

So we can thank Labour for another drop in a rather empty bucket, or we could take a radical approach and say, “well actually, we want something better. We want classes of 20 max and we don’t want to have to take out a student loan if school isn’t working for us.”

The Alliance would invest an extra $2 650 million in education. This is more than enough to fill the bucket to over flowing. With this we can do many things, like smaller classes, make tertiary education free, wipe student loans, Implement our teacher sabbatical plan, create new teaching posts, create new tertiary posts, and abolish school fees amongst other things.

Check out our manifesto on our website for more details.