The Greens do good policy work. They confront the real challenges and try to offer real solutions. Policy is generally adequately detailed, it’s costed, it’s plausible, it offers a clear way forward. It’s the kind of thing I hope to see Labour doing well before the next election.
Most of this policy is collected and presented in the Green New Deal which “tackles the economic crisis, the environmental crisis and the climate crisis at the same time”. The New Deal is a portfolio in three parts, all accessible from the previous link: a green stimulus package (we covered it here), a second stimulus and environmental package (covered here), and now a Green alternative budget.
The alternative budget was released by Metiria Turei. Called “Mind the Gap”, it focuses on the inequality between rich and poor in NZ. Such inequality is rightly called “the scourge of modern societies”, and it’s great to see the Greens tackling it head on:
This package contains eight simple solutions in four areas to take us towards greater equality and to reduce the gap between rich and poor in Aotearoa New Zealand. These are not intended as a comprehensive solution to the problem of growing inequality, but as eight simple, practical initiatives that can be implemented immediately.
Solution 1: A tax-free $10,000
Solution 2: A comprehensive capital gains tax (except on family homes)
Addressing energy poverty
Solution 3: Progressive electricity prices
Solution 4: In-Work Tax Credits for all low income families with dependent kids
Solution 5: Reinstate a discretionary Special Benefit
Solution 6: 6,000 new state houses in the next three years
Solution 7: Investment in community housing
Solution 8: Secure long-term rental tenure
Labour’s Phil Twyford wrote on inequality in a post (also titled “Mind the gap” – anyone who has used the London Underground will get the joke) here. Phil wrote: “For my money the challenge for Labour is to get inequality back on the political agenda”. Well I’d say the Greens have just done that! Come on Labour, what’s next after The Many not The Few?
As a postscript, on the subject of alternative budgets, a post by Bernard Hickey summarises an interesting competition: “The Productive Economy Council and the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA) have launched an inaugural Alternative Budget Competition for all university students”. Hey students, can you do better than the double dipping Minster of Finance?