Monday, 28 November 2011

New Zealand: New Economics Party


Laurence Boomert speaks about The New Economics Party

2 comments:

  1. Still I can't get my head round their website, seems like a dogs dinner of vaguely populist ideas mostly adopted because of their acceptability to the disposessed without actually requiring them to get off their arses and become responsible for their own sustenance, ie we just adjust certain facets of the structure of the economy and all good things follow.
    The trouble is that any movement that is aiming to achieve prominence by collecting votes is doomed to populist policy. This party is clearly aimed at urban populations that don't own land, don't have access to land, dont want to work on the land but see land as a priviledge of the wealthy that can be taxed to provide an income stream to be given free of any commitment to do real productive work to those who basically have grown used to their service sector effortless pretend jobs that are basically only possible because of the anachronism of a century of subsidy by cheap oil.
    These guys really need to understand the concept of distributism, which is a well thought-out concept of land use that is the only way that everyone is going to get fed in the post oil age. Unfortunately working the land is an abhorrent thought to the vast majority of those in Auckland or Wellington and that is where political power lies. For these deluded urbanites, I'm afraid only the misery of an empty belly at some future time will be sufficient to cure them of their delusions. See here my blog post on supply chain collapse for likely outcomes.

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  2. Hello Kevin

    There is nothing populist about our policies. We leave that to the Green Party to go for the middle ground and not campaign on the urgent issues of our time which are positively alarming. No one is going to argue that recommending a 4-6% decrease every year in our oil imports would appeal to anyone except those who know the reality and know we must face it.

    If you think it is a "dog's dinner" by which you mean it doesn't fit any previous models you are right. No other party wanting the whole world to have access to food, housing, water, health, education and social justice is currently recommending such a radical reversal of tax policy.

    We say we need to tax unearned income not earned income. After all it was the banks in the early 20th century who demanded of our government that they impose income tax, we didn't have it in NZ up till then. GST is regressive and why should any government tax enterprise?

    On the other hand, as Greens have pointed out for two decades, prices give the wrong signals because companies and individuals use water, land, oil, artificial fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides etc and society pays the price of clearning up the mess, (rivers, toxic sites and so on). The way to internalise costs is to charge an annual rent for the privilege of using that part of the commons you "own". Many industries today can only operate because their costs are externalised – an "I keep the income, someone else pays the costs" mind-set.

    As Charles Eisenstein says in his book Sacred Economics "The price of a tank of fuel doesn't include the cost of the pollution it generates, nor the cost of the wars fought to secure it, nor the cost of oil spills."

    Ours is a party that recognises that more people need to return to the land and to work the land. Just outside our major cities we watch as lifestylers commute all week and play on horses and ride-ons all weekend but don't use their valuable land for growing food. And meanwhile they watch their property value rise as community infrastructure round them is built by others while they gain unearned income. Here where I live I know a guy who bought his land on a river near a town which was growing. He bought it for $400,000 and it is now worth over a million while he has worked in Wellington and let the property decline and decline. And our council wants people to grow food on our good land! But without tax signals they are relatively helpless. Ridiculous and unfair. But at the local level they should change to rating on unimproved value rather than capital value. This is within their power. Then the price signals are right for growing food.

    Our policies of imposing resource taxes rather than income tax and GST are designed to reward those who work to improve their properties. If they are not working the land they should sell it to someone who does.

    Actually when an Australian NGO called Earthsharing Australia did some research on land values they found that the biggest concentration of land value was in the centre of the cities. A land value tax is the way to stop speculators sitting on valuable sites and waiting for them to appreciate. As the 2009 Tax Review stated a land tax will bring in income from overseas owners where before they didn't pay tax.

    And our policy is that those who contribute back to the commons should be monetarily compensated. This includes farmers who remove land from production to provide ecological services like carbon sequestration, water and soil conservation or provide habitat for plants insects and fish.

    With land value taxes and the removal of the incentive to speculate on land and resources the cycle of boom-bust is evened out. The price of land remains more even and doesn't rise exhorbitantly.

    The Greens in their campaign seem to have one resource tax – the tax on the commercial use of water. This is a good start. Capital gains tax will never do it for land though.

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