The Maritime Union of New Zealand says today’s budget is an attack on working class New Zealanders.
Maritime Union General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the increase in GST to 15% was taking money from the pockets of workers to pay for tax cuts for people like John Key, who had so much money they would have trouble knowing what to do with it.
He says rather than increasing GST it would be easier for workers just to hand over a $5 note every time they saw someone walk past in an expensive suit, because this was the actual effect of the GST increase.
“It is a wealth transfer from low to middle income earners to the wealthy.”
GST was a regressive tax that would hit struggling New Zealand families hard.
Mr Fleetwood says that a major problem for New Zealand is growing inequality of wealth.
Inequality leads to social breakdown and long term economic and social problems, as international research has shown, and National’s budget was making inequality worse.
He says the idea promoted by John Key that only high income earners contributed to New Zealand’s economy and society was both offensive and wrong.
“If we are at the stage where New Zealand is being held hostage by a tiny minority of the super rich, maybe it is time to question whether we still live in a democracy?”
Mr Fleetwood says that the international evidence shows that excessive wealth was being accumulated by a few at the top end of the wealth scale, while the majority of workers were squeezed by rising costs and static incomes.
“John Key is rewarding the big business, finance sector CEO types who are the backers of the National Government, whose greed knows no limits.”
He says the obsession with tax cuts was leading New Zealand down a dead end road as tax was essential to pay for hospitals, schools, infrastructure and other vital public goods.
However the tax burden was increasingly falling on low to middle income earners rather than the wealthy, which was the wrong way around.