20,000 signatures collected for Tax Justice petition

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The Tax Justice campaign has collected over 20,000 signatures for a parliamentary petition calling on GST to be removed from all food and a tax placed on financial speculation instead.

The petitions demands are connecting with a broad range of people angry at the economic hardships they’re being made to bear. The rising cost of food is for many New Zealanders a big issue, especially when real incomes levels for most people are either stagnant or falling. (See Council of Trade Unions media release Real incomes falling <http://business.scoop.co.nz/2010/10/07/real-incomes-falling/> , 7 October.)

The factors behind the positive popular reception to the Tax Justice petition are going to intensify in the months ahead. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has predicted that food price inflation will hit 10 per cent by the end of the year. (See Rising prices to offset October tax cuts <http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&amp;objectid=10670188> , 1 September.)

The stretched budgets of grassroots people, particularly when it comes to the most basic of lifes necessities, food, requires that progressive forces offer solutions, both immediate and longer term.

Its the view of Tax Justice campaigners that the common sense demand to remove GST from food, coupled with a tax revenue replacement that targets the mega-rich, has the potential to become a cut-through political issue for the left.

Invitation to get behind the Tax Justice campaign

In the spirit of greater cooperation and unity amongst leftists, unionists and other supporters of justice for grassroots people, well be approaching a number of organisations and groups over the coming weeks about getting behind the Tax Justice campaign.

The two groups who have initiated the campaign, Socialist Worker and the Alliance Party, are very interesting in discussing how we can collectively grow the campaign into a bigger political force, and what kind of organisational structures might be established to best achieve this.

Already the Tax Justice campaign has received solidarity from members of the Maori Party, Green Party, and the Labour Party, as well as from members of Grey Power and a number of trade unions. Increasing the level of broad and active support for Tax Justice will be essential if we’re going to force a major change to neo-liberal tax policy, which is what removing GST from food and the introduction of Financial Transaction Tax would undoubtedly represent.

The potential to break the Tax Justice campaign into national public consciousness is there, it just needs a big enough pool of active supporters to make it happen.

If you would like to discuss with us the prospects for broadening the groups and organisations actively involved in the Tax Justice campaign, please contact Vaughan Gunson, campaign coordinator. Email svpl@xtra.co.nz <mailto:svpl@xtra.co.nz> or phone 021-0415 082.

Two upcoming public meetings

There are two upcoming public meetings where the way forward for the Tax Justice campaign, along with other issues relating to left unity, can be discussed.

They are:

Tax Justice & Left Unity
7pm, Thursday 11 November
@ Socialist Centre, 89 Princes Street, Onehunga, Auckland

Speaker: Vaughan Gunson, Tax Justice campaign coordinator. Discussion to follow.

For more details, contact Vaughan, svpl@xtra.co.nz <mailto:svpl@xtra.co.nz> or 021-0415 082.

There Is An Alternative – Progressive Economics for the 21st Century
3pm, Saturday 13 November @ St Johns Church Hall, cnr of Willis & Dixon Street, Wellington

Speakers: Bill Rosenberg (CTU economist), Vaughan Gunson (Tax Justice campaign coordinator, Socialist Worker national chair).
Chaired by Andrew McKenzie co-leader Alliance Party.

For more details, contact Kay Murray, ksimmondsmurray@xtra.co.nz <mailto:ksimmondsmurray@xtra.co.nz> .

Both these meetings are open to all leftist, unionists and supporters of justice for grassroots people.

Labour MP to present petition to parliament in 2011

Sua William Sio, the Labour Party MP for Mangere, has offered to present the current Tax Justice petition to parliament sometime in 2011, most likely prior to the General Election.

Having a South Auckland MP present the petition to parliament will give it real political weight. We extend our thanks to Sua for making this offer.

For further up-to-date information on the Tax Justice campaign go to our website www.nogstonfood.org <http://www.nogstonfood.org/> The petition can be downloaded there.

And if youre on Facebook join the No GST on Food page. Over 5,500 people already have, making it one of New Zealands most popular grassroots political campaigns on Facebook.

Tax Justice campaigners will be working hard for the remainder of 2010 and into 2011. Help us make Tax Justice a big issue next year.

In solidarity,

Tax Justice executive committee:

Grant Brookes (Socialist Worker)
Kay Murray (Alliance Party)
Vaughan Gunson (Socialist Worker)
Victor Billot (Alliance Party)

Please forward this advisory on the Tax Justice campaign to your own networks.

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