Manifesto, edition 50.

May 2001.
This was the last New Zealand edition of Alison’s Manifesto.
The current, British, edition is at

1.  Environmental protection as top priority
ahead of full employment, low inflation, or economic growth.  National accounts should include a capital side and resources accounting.  Green taxes or tradeable pollution quotas could be used to include pollution costs in prices.

Aotearoa, the land of the long twilight, should be nuclear-free.  I prefer the insecurity of the nuclear-free state to the risk of nuclear war or accidents and the problem of nuclear waste.

Genetic Engineering is another potentially devastating technology which should be severely restricted.

2.  Full employment.

Worthwhile paid employment should be available to all adults who want it, including part-time work, and it should be financially rewarding after tax has been deducted and benefits abated, but not compulsory.  Work should be allocated by self-selection, not compulsion.

Benefit abatement is effectively a tax, and effective marginal tax rates, including benefit abatement and the superannuation surcharge, should be no higher for beneficiaries or superannuitants than for high income earners. The necessary reduction in benefit abatement rates should have equal priority with job creation and the introduction of basic incomes for married women and children, so that low-to-average-paid work in the private sector, work in the public sector, and childcare are all promoted equally.

3.  An individual basic income for all adults and some children
for more effective sharing of wealth, and to support voluntary unemployment, economic independence for women, and childcare including the work of mothers at home.  To restore the incentive to work and save, the basic income should be paid regardless of other income, as negative tax to wage and salary earners, and to replace most benefits for non-earners.

Two children per mother should be entitled to these basic incomes.  Any further children would not be eligible for basic incomes until they reach school-leaving age.

4.  Intervention to ensure that adequate housing, education, and health care are available to all.

5.  Tax reform: resource taxes.

Either GST or income tax should be abolished and replaced with revenue from resource taxes or tradeable resource quotas.  It is an unnecessary duplication of administrative effort to have both income tax and GST.

The potential market price of scarce natural resources should be taxed at a rate at least as high as income tax or GST, after subtracting the cost of extraction and processing.  The potential market price is the actual market price including the resource tax, or the marginal cost, whichever is greater. The marginal cost per unit of resource is the cost per unit of increasing extraction or imports of that resource or the preferred substitute.

If scarce resources are taxed there is a stronger incentive for users to reduce consumption, or a weaker incentive for suppliers to promote it, and taxpayers get a share of the profits.  Suppliers and consumers still have an incentive to use the cheapest sources if the tax rate is flat and less than 100%.

6.  Tax reform: rating on land value not capital value.

Like other scarce natural resources, the annual value of land should be taxed at a rate at least as high as income tax or GST. The taxable value should be the estimated rental value including land tax and rates. There should be exemptions from land tax for indigenous forests and wetlands and Treaty of Waitangi compensation.

This increase in land tax or rates should be phased in over a period of 10 years or more, so that its effect is to reduce future capital gains rather than current land prices.

An assets tax like this is time-consuming and costly to administer, and may only be worthwhile for irreplaceable essential assets, such as land.  Manufactured goods are usually sold at cost-plus prices and have limited speculative potential.  There may be speculation in luxury assets, but only connoisseurs and gamblers need be involved.

7.  Tax reform: inflation adjustment for savings.

The inflation component of interest should not be taxed.  High interest rates have caused a lot of trouble, and it has been unfair and illogical that some income has been taxed heavily, while capital gains have been tax-free.  Saving and investment have been discouraged, and speculation has been favoured.

8. Intervention to control foreign exchange.

State-owned enterprises should be managed so that adequate reserves of foreign exchange are maintained.  A Tobin tax on foreign exchange transactions would deter currency speculation and reduce the power of financial markets over democratic governments.

International co-operation is necessary to prevent excessive concentration of wealth, and N.Z. should be a reluctant follower rather than a leader when reducing taxes or making other concessions to attract  business

9.  Electoral reform.

I prefer the single transferable vote (STV) system, which gives power to voters, rather than the mixed member proportional (MMP) or first past the post (FPP) systems, which give power to political parties.  Party lists can be included as options on the STV voting paper, as a compromise between Irish STV, which doesn’t have party lists, and MMP, in which they are unavoidable.

A separate constitutional arrangement for Maori representation should also be considered.

Suggestions for Further Reading:

Environment, employment, and economic growth.
Roefie Hueting, in “The Living Economy”, ed. Paul Ekins, Routledge 1986.
H.E. Daly and J.B. Cobb, “The Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare”, in “For The Common Good”, Beacon, 1989.

Basic Incomes.
David Collard, Political Quarterly, 56, 4, October 1985.
Basic Income European Network,
Alison’s Political Papers,

M. H. Cooper, “Economics of Health Care”, NZ Medical Journal, 26 October 1988, Part 2.
Brian Easton,  “A Healthy Prognosis”, NZ Listener, 11 November 1995.

Land Tax.
Brian Easton, “Polar Gains”, NZ Listener, 15 April 1989.
109 Notable Environmentalists on Taxing Land,
A. Marshall, “Land tax”, Greenweb (Newsletter of the Green Party of Aotearoa), February 1997.

Lester Thurow, “Dangerous Currents: The State of Economics”, Random House 1983, p209-211 and 227-230.

International relations, trade, and defence.
Robert Axelrod, “The Evolution of Cooperation”, Penguin 1990.
Tobin Tax Initiative,

Electoral reform.
Peacelink 59, March 1988.
Marilyn Waring, NZ Herald, 31 August 1992.
Bob Stephenson, NZ Listener, 5 September 1992

%d bloggers like this: