Thursday, 22 May 2008

RAM challenges Cullen to debate GST on food in front of Auckland shoppers

RAM - Residents Action Movement Media release 22 May 2008 Michael Cullen has delivered a budget that fails the majority of New Zealanders, says Oliver Woods, Auckland Central candidate for RAM - Residents Action Movement. "Food prices are skyrocketing, factories are closing all over New Zealand and home interest rates are crushing family budgets. Labour and National aren't listening to grassroots New Zealanders," said Oliver Woods. RAM, a political movement in the process of registration with the Electoral Commission, was formed into a parliamentary party just three months ago. Already the new party has more than 2,200 members, giving it a bigger membership than three of the parties currently represented in parliament (United Future, the Progressives and ACT). In the 2008 general election, RAM will be contesting electorate seats around the country (including upwards of a dozen in Greater Auckland), as well as the party list vote. Its aim is to provide a strong broad left voice. "RAM is offering a simple alternative budget. Our party has started a petition to remove GST from food which has received 10,000 signatures in just six weeks. By cutting this unfair tax from food, we will be saving Kiwi families thousands of dollars each year for ever more, thus giving far more relief than incremental income tax cuts," said Oliver Woods. "Yet Michael Cullen has ignored the thousands of GST-off-food petition signatories, and hasn't responded to RAM's invitation to debate GST on food in front of an Auckland supermarket. Is his government scared of the people they're supposed to represent?" "I take this opportunity to renew RAM's invite to the finance minister to debate GST with us out on the streets," said Oliver Woods. "RAM is proposing a practical set of solutions that can bring hope to ordinary Kiwis. We believe tax cuts should focus around low-to-modest income households, not the already rich. The government is offering subsidies to the racing industry, yet precious little to people facing escalating mortgages and rents." "RAM wants 2% interest state loans for first home buyers. We want a $15 minimum wage to put more money into the pockets of hard-working Kiwis. We want free tertiary education and student living allowances to halt the brain drain to Australia. There should be a shift away from unfair taxes like GST towards a financial transaction tax that targets the corporate money speculators." "RAM stands for common sense policies that put people before profit. That's why I am standing for RAM in Auckland Central. We need a positive, well-supported alternative to the LabNat political twins. Ordinary Kiwis are sick of being 'invisible people' ignored by the politicians." "RAM has heard the people's call for GST to be removed from food. We will be circulating our GST-off-food petition right up to the election campaign. We intend to make GST a big election issue that won't go away, no matter how much Labour and National both try to hide from it," said Oliver Woods. For more information, contact: Oliver Woods 021 072 4647

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