Think about inequality when you vote

This year 19 NGOs got together to do something about our inequality problem. They’ve evaluated the parties’ published policies to show you what will actually help fix inequality in New Zealand.

The policies are divided into two parts: those that tackle inequality directly, and those that reduce its impact in the long term. Within each part key policy areas have been highlighted and rated. Click each line for more detail …

National Labour Green NZ First Māori ACT Mana United Future Conservative Internet

Part 1: Addressing inequality at the source, right now

Getting people into skilled jobs
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Create more well-paying and rewarding jobs – and make sure people have the skills to fill them.
Creating more jobs in high-employment fields Plans to create another 150,000 jobs by 2018. Business Growth Agenda shift to value-added Support for industry to shift to value-added exports; unemployment down to 4% Create 100,000 new jobs through direct government investment Commitment to regional growth and improved productivity; limiting foreign workers Network of Maori economy champions; mentoring; Maori representation on NZTE Cutting taxes and govt spending will free up businesses to generate jobs Aim for full employment; focus on food, biofuels and IT; incentivise processing of resources within NZ Focus R&D spending on specific areas eg biotech No mention Whole of economy shift to Digital Economy; NZ as innovation hub; attracting global digital businesses
More research & development spending Invest $1.3 billion in R&D Restoring R&D tax credits at 12.5% additional $1 billion of government investment in research and development (R&D) above current spend, including tax breaks for business Tax incentives for R&D; more subsidies and scholarships for certain R&D-linked courses of study Ongoing funding for R&D for Maori businesses Cutting taxes and govt spending will free up businesses to generate jobs Focus on community economic development; mentoring of Maori business R&D funding lifted to OECD average; existing grants streamlined No mention Extra $1bn for R&D; innovation hubs; ideas grants; more tech skilled immigrants
More skills and trade training Expand Youth Guarantee programme to 10,000 places; provide 4500 places in vocational training at school; bring all apprenticeships under one scheme; expand Apprenticeship Reboot to 14,000 places More emphasis on education, training and upskilling; modern management and work methods; high performance work techniques Expand the apprenticeship programme Expand apprenticeship programme; subsidise wages for employers who take on young people for trade training programmes Double Māori and Pasifika Trade Training to 6,000 placements; $2.5m for 250 Māori Affairs cadetships Cutting taxes and govt spending will free up businesses to generate jobs All young people to be in education, training or work Encourage institution-industry links; promote Mayoral taskforce for jobs model; encourage awareness of training No mention Double no. of tech workers and free tertiary education
Closing the wage & salary gap
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Once people have a job, they should be fairly rewarded for their effort.
Significantly higher minimum wage No mention Raise to $16.25 by 2015 Raise to $18 by 2017 Raise to $17 Raise minimum wage to living wage Scrap the minimum wage Raise to $18.80 (living wage); then index at 66% of average wage; Repeal youth rates for workers aged 16-17 No mention No mention No mention
Support for a Living Wage of $18.80 No mention Living Wage for at least all core public service workers Living Wage for the core Government sector No mention Raise minimum wage to living wage No mention Yes No mention No mention No mention
Stronger collective bargaining Extend flexible working arrangements; strengthening rules around collective bargaining rules Hold Commission of Inquiry into wages and collective bargaining Workplace democracy and collective organisation are essential Ensure casualisation employment practices are fair and achieve better job security Encourage part-time and flexible working arrangements; subsidise childcare No mention Give workers greater bargaining power, including the right to strike; require employers to offer extra hours to existing staff, up to 40 hours per week, before hiring new staff Ensure reality of workplace relations in small businesses is catered for No mention No mention
Pay ratios and high pay transparency No mention No mention Require companies to report on the gap between top and bottom pay Salaries beyond accepted public service bands be cleared with stakeholder ministers No mention No mention No mention No mention No mention No mention
Tax & benefits
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For people not working, or doing important unpaid work like raising children, support needs to be more generous.
The tax system should ask those who can to contribute more.
Capital gains tax (CGT) Opposes CGT CGT 15% (excluding family home) CGT (excluding family home) Opposes CGT No mention Opposes CGT Progressive inheritence tax on estates above $500,000 Opposes CGT No mention No mention
More progressive tax system No tax changes Income tax rate 36% from $150,000 and 36% on trusts Income tax rate 40% from $140,000 and for trusts; reduce tax avoidance Remove GST on food items and rates; reduce tax avoidance No tax on first $25,000 income; remove GST from food; implement financial transactions tax; tax credits for people who do voluntary work Reduce top tax rate to 24% Abolish GST; introduce financial transactions tax; inheritence tax above $500,000 Support broad-based, low rate tax system; Introduce income sharing for couples with children Tax-free income up to $20,000 then flat tax No mention
Increasing payments to beneficiaries Continue welfare reform Best Start for Kids $60 a week for most kids from birth to 3 Children’s Credit $60 a week & Parental Tax Credit for poorest children Review Working for Families so everyone gets at least a living wage End whānau poverty by 2020; extend tax credit to all low income families Reduce tax rates for those shifting from welfare to work; lifetime limits on the Job Seeker Benefit and Sole Parent Support Increase benefits to provide a liveable income; yearly hardship grant $1,000 for people earning less than $30,000/td> Fund independent advice and advocacy services No mention No mention
Universal basic income No mention No mention No mention No mention No mention No mention Work towards implementing a Universal Basic Income No mention No mention No mention

Part 2: Breaking the cycle and reducing inequality in the long run

Education ★★
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Schools offer all children the chance to realise their potential, helping reduce the influence of socio-economic background on life choices.
Boosting teacher training and quality “Executive” principals available to struggling schools; excellent teachers available to poor performing teachers; master teacher concept Require the Teachers Council to pre-screen for all initial teacher education programmes; stronger professional development pre-requisites Improve pay, job status and job security for teachers and support staff; wide-ranging professional development Provide professional learning and development opportunities with fair access for all schools; more voice for teachers; teacher development Teaching of Te Reo and Maori history significantly supported No mention Professional development to ensure culturally supportive and relevant learning Emphasise Teach First NZ; examine entry requirements to teacher training No mention Review teachers’ professional learning to support the effective use of digital technology in schools
Helping low-decile schools and students and ensure that in all schools no students are left behind Meet specific education targets so that children have the skills they need to reach their potential; National Standards Hire 2000 more teachers to significantly reduce class sizes; extend reading recovery; Annual grants to lower decile schools; cancel National Standards Incremental reductions in class sizes; transport allowances; free lunches, nurses, holiday programmes and after school care for low decile schools; Significant increase in funding for the teaching and support of special needs students; increased operations grant Cancel National Standards; improved detection of those falling behind; significantly expand special needs programmes Implement ‘first language first’ policy in literacy instruction and learning for Pasefika students; Ensure Māori histories is compulsory, designed and delivered jointly with mana whenua; breakfasts in low decile schools Trust teachers and parental choice to improve outcomes Limit teacher:student ratio to 1:15 in all state schools; boost special education funding; breakfast and lunch programmes in low decile schools Increase funding for special needs and ORS students; reduce class sizes Cut back on costs & bureaucracy to free up money for schools to reduce class sizes; test new students for learning difficulties Invest additional $75 million to triple the amount of ICT funding to schools
Supporting high-quality early childhood education Increased money for ECE more free hours for ECE Improved teacher-child ratios in ECE; extend free 20 hours to 2 yr olds More support for playcentres and ECE in general Increase free hours 20 to 30 No mention Reinvigorate kōhanga reo; adult:child ratio of 1:3; minimum qualification levels for home-based services, 100% qualified and registered teachers in centre based services; breakfast and lunch programmes and health care services in all non-profit ECE centres Expand ECE programme
Health & housing ★★
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Being in good health is crucial to people’s chances of earning a decent income and not becoming trapped in cycles of poverty.
A Warrant of Fitness for all homes WoF for HNZ houses being trialled. Healthy Homes Guarantee – minimum standards for insulation & heating for all rental housing WoF for all rental houses WoF not mentioned, but support indicated to child wellbeing policy survey WoF compulsory for all rental houses (within 3 years) No WoF WoF for all rental houses Require energy efficiency rating for all homes to rent or buy. WoF not mentioned & told child wellbeing policy survey they would not support it. WoF not mentioned but support indicated to child wellbeing policy survey
Affordable houses to rent or buy Home Start package for 1st home buyers $20,000 grant & full Kiwisaver drawn-down. Commitment to “grow the social housing sector”. See also Budget 2014 housing Kiwibuild plan for 100,000 starter homes for families. Restrict foreign purchase of NZ properties; encouragelocal councils to include affordable homes in new housing developments Healthy Home policy; increased security of tenancy for renters, stop ‘reviewable tenancies’ in HNZ housing. Government assistance for 1st home buyers, low interest loans; low-cost government loans for older persons and other public rental housing; restrict foreign land and property ownership Māori Housing Strategy includes affordable rental and home ownership for whānau Read further Build 10,000 new state houses per year to rent (or rent-to-buy); Low interest loans for low income home buyers; require larger new property developments to include 50% affordable homes. Allow capitalisation of Working for Families credits for home purchase; extend community housing; explore alternatives to local council rates No mention No mention
Improving access to primary healthcare Free GP visits & prescriptions for all under-13-years. Free drop-in sore throat clinics targeting rheumatic fever. GP visits and prescriptions free for children aged up to 13. $60million boost in primary funding. Free GP visits & prescriptions for all under 18 yrs. Dedicated school nurses in decile 1-4 schools. Free doctor visits and prescriptions for all primary schoolchildren, including after hours and weekends Support free healthcare up to 18 yrs Read further Free doctor visits and prescriptions No mention on policy page but told child wellbeing policy survey they support free healthcare up to 18 yrs. No mention on policy page but told child wellbeing policy survey they support free healthcare up to 18 yrs. No mention on policy page but told child wellbeing policy survey they would support free healthcare for up to 18 yrs
Commitment to reducing health inequalities Reducing health inequalities co-ordinated across government. School hubs for health checks and welfare support Huge differences in need throughout the population... Māori health outcomes are not improving at the same rate as non-Māori and this must be rectified.” Commitment to increase kaupapa Maori services No mention Ensure equitable access to affordable, non-discriminatory, quality health care No mention No mention No mention
Democracy
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Only if everyone has a genuinely equal say in politics is New Zealand likely to move towards a fairer future.
Supporting high-quality public broadcasting Maintain pubic ownership of Radio NZ and TVNZ Working group on public service TV TVNZ ad free; 20% NZ content quota Ad-free channel; more funding for public good broadcasting No mention No mention No mention Review options for broadcasting; RNZ funding increases with inflation No mention No mention
Greater transparency and access to politics No mention Strengthen Ombudsman; proactive info disclosure Cabinet decisions published; OIA strengthened Reduce Cabinet and require greater accountability and performance No mention No mention No mention Devolve more powers to local councils No mention Proactive info disclosure; more online services; Democracy portal
Reform of political financing No mention Tighten rules around donations Limit donations to $35,000 in 1 year; publish all donations over $1000 No mention No mention No mention No mention No mention No mention No mention
Developing measures of progress beyond GDP No mention No mention Genuine Progress index and more funding for Stats NZ No mention No mention No mention Integrated social, environmental and economic policy No mention No mention No mention

Overall

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