|Like the new Tax Justice cartoon (see below) people were queuing up to sign the petition at the Otara Markets in Auckland on Saturday 2 October. 565 signatures were collected in a few hours.|
3 October 2010
10,000 signatures for a petition calling on parliament to remove GST from food and tax financial speculation have been collected since GST went up to 15% on Friday.
“Tax Justice 10,000 was a big success,” says Vaughan Gunson, coordinator of the campaign.
From Friday to Sunday, petition stalls were organised in Kerikeri, Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, Oamaru and Dunedin. Plus volunteers in these and other centres collected signatures from friends, family and workmates.
To view a photo essay of “Tax Justice 10,000” go to http://www.nogstonfood.org/2010/10/03/photo-essay-of-tax-justice-10000/
“A comment we kept hearing from people was that National’s tax cuts were rubbish,” says Gunson. “The people flocking to sign our petition weren’t buying the government’s claim that they were going to be better off.” (A view confirmed by an opinion poll commissioned this week by Herald on Sunday, see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10677867.)
“People are angry at the rising cost of living, which the GST increase is only making worse,” says Gunson. “The pain people are feeling at the supermarket is only going to get worse over the coming months, when food price inflation from the speculative boom in food commodity prices filters through to the checkout.”
New Zealand Institute of Economic Research chief economist Shamubeel Eaqub predicts food price inflation to hit 10 per cent by the end of the year, which will wipe out National’s meager tax cuts for low and middle income earners.
The Tax Justice campaign has now collected over 20,000 signatures since the petition was launched a few months ago. Mr Gunson says this is only the beginning. “We’re buoyed by what we’ve achieved over the last few days and looking forward to working with other organisations who support this campaign.”
“We thank Maori Party MP Rahui Katene for putting forward her private members bill to remove GST from healthy food, which both Labour and Green MPs supported,” says Gunson.
“And we welcome Labour’s new GST policy of removing GST from fresh fruit and vegetables. This is a step in the right direction,” says Gunson.
“That one of the parties of government is breaking with its previous defence of New Zealand’s GST regime as “untouchable” is hugely significant. It’s a boost to our arguments and recognition of the groundswell of public opinion against GST on food.”
For comment, contact
Tax Justice campaign coordinator
Tax Justice media spokesperson