1 Oct 2023

Election 2023: Green Party unveils policy priorities and fiscal plan review

2:35 pm on 1 October 2023
Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson.

Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The Green Party has unveiled its policy priorities as well as an independent fiscal review, which it says shows their plan adds up.

In the document labelled 'The Future is Up to Us', the party outlines three main points; income guarantee, a warm, dry, affordable and accessible place to call home, and climate action.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the independent fiscal review showed their policies would "fix the fundamentals of our tax system to make sure everyone has enough to get by".

"This includes our plan for an Income Guarantee of at least $385 per week. It includes a tax-free threshold of $10,000, more money in the back pockets of families raising kids, and free dental care for everyone.

"Our Clean Power Payment, which will support people to cut their home energy bills with rooftop solar and other low carbon home upgrades, can also be fully met from the money we will raise from our biggest polluters."

The party would reallocate existing funding and have modest new borrowing to "make sure people have accessible and climate-friendly" transport methods.

They also planned to move Auckland's planned tunnelled light rail to street-level to save enough money to build light rail in Christchurch and Wellington too.

Co-leader Marama Davidson said the party wanted to transform Aotearoa to work for everyone, not just the wealthy few.

"The two Chrises spend more time telling you who not to vote for - trying to scare you with how things will be under the other lot - than they do talking about how we build the future our tamariki deserve. It does not have to be this way.

"An election is a chance to tell your political leaders what you want Aotearoa to be.

"We can have an Aotearoa where everyone has enough to live good lives; where everyone has a warm, dry, affordable and accessible home, powered by cheap, clean solar energy; where everyone has access to free dental care; and where we have restored the health and mauri of the ocean."

The fiscal review was prepared by Infometrics - the same firm which reviewed Labour's fiscal plan.

It found the Greens' policies would raise more revenue, but also increase expenses.

Income tax changes, the proposed wealth tax, and changes to ACC levies would raise $43.3b more in revenue than in the government's Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU).

The Greens would spend $38.4b more than PREFU, on policies such as universal dental care and income support. But these policies would be funded through the wealth tax.

Infometrics also said the Greens' Clean Power Payment could be fully funded through the Climate Emergency Response Fund. While there is only $1b left in the fund, and the payment policy would cost $1.3b, the Greens intend to return the $500m loan to the National Land Transport Fund back to the CERF.

Income and tax

  • $385 a week guaranteed for students and anyone looking for work, with an extra $135 each week if you are caring for kids at home on your own.
  • Top-ups for whānau: up to $215 a week for the first child and $135 a week for other children, plus a universal payment of $140 a week for every child under three
  • At least 80 percent of the minimum wage for everyone out of work because of a health condition or disability
  • No tax on the first $10,000 of your income
  • Pay less tax if you earn less than $125,000 a year
  • A 2.5 percent wealth tax on the value of assets over $2 million for individuals or $4m for couples, after debt and mortgages
  • Returning the corporate tax rate to 33 percent
  • A new rate of 45 percent on income over $180,000

Housing and land

  • A Clean Power Payment to help cover the cost of upgrading a home to run on clean energy, saving you money each month on your power bills
  • Grants of up to $6000 for solar panels, insulation, and energy efficiency upgrades; and interest-free loans of up to $30,000 to cover the balance
  • Installing solar on the roofs of 30,000 Kāinga Ora homes over the next three years
  • Community energy fund for local clean energy projects, including Māori-led projects

Among other housing policies for tenants it plans to put in place are rent caps - so rent never rises more than 3 percent a year - a Rental Warrant of Fitness to ensure every home is warm, dry, and safe, and a national register for landlords and property managers for accountability.

An 'affordability target' which would set a standard of housing affordability in law and direct the government to build homes that achieve this and building 35,000 new homes to clear the housing waitlist in five years.

For its land back - hoki whenua mai policy, it wants to end perpetual leases of whenua Māori, return land taken under the Public Works Act that's not being used, and stopping any more being taken, enable new historical claims to the Waitangi Tribunal, a commission of inquiry into land dispossession, and fair ways to return it.

Climate and environment

  • Street-level light rail for Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch
  • bike paths and pedestrian connections, especially around schools
  • More green spaces to both protect us from flooding and provide places for recreation and relaxation
  • Tree-lined streets and neighbourhoods

For the ocean, it wants to put in place a new legal framework that upholds Te Tiriti and protect 30 percent of the oceans around Aotearoa by 2030 as well as ban bottom trawling and other "destructive commercial fishing practices".

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