GST on food should be axed fresh ideas

With news in the Budget last week that GST is to rise to 15 percent on October 1, campaigners say all GST on food should be removed to help poorer families.

Organisers of a petition to parliament to have GST removed from food say increasing GST to 15% will be bad for most New Zealanders. The campaign to remove GST from food and tax financial speculation is being launched Saturday 22 May, two days after National’s 2010 Budget, when a GST rise to 15% was announced.
Media spokesperson Victor Billot says soaring food prices, combined with a GST hike, will be devastating to New Zealanders already finding it hard to make ends meet.
He says many people are worried about the GST increase and the campaign was expecting to collect thousands of petition signatures. The Government will have to take notice.
“Our campaign is about taking the daily pressure off the majority of New Zealanders who are under attack from a National government that’s only interested in helping its wealthy backers when it comes to tax.” National’s plan is to increase GST and give tax breaks to the rich, while attacking government spending on public services, he says.
Billot says that according to Statistics NZ grocery costs increased 16.3% in the three years to March 2010, way above New Zealand’s official rate of inflation. This spike in food prices is hurting people suffering stagnant incomes and job losses. Removing GST from food would provide an immediate and lasting benefit.”
Billot says that Finance Minister Bill English’s claims that a GST hike would encourage saving over consumption was off the planet.
“It just shows the insulated fantasy world that the National government are living in. There’s simply no way that many families can afford to save at the moment. Pushing up basic food costs will result in more debt, not more saving.” Billot says that taking GST off food was affordable if the government was to tax financial speculation.
“A modest financial transactions tax that targets large financial institutions is gaining support around the world following the global financial crisis.” He says the “Robin Hood Tax” campaign in the UK, which is calling for a financial transactions tax to be implemented, is gaining mass support.
The Alliance Party and Socialist Worker are jointly launching the tax campaign on Saturday 22 May at petition stalls around the country.
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