The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services(NZCCSS) – which represents 213 social service agencies located in 55 towns and cities throughout New Zealand – says a fairer approach to tax would bring in resources essential to helping Kiwis in need.
NZCCSS is calling for a fairer tax rate on the highest incomes, which would provide resources to help lift struggling families out of poverty, and those facing hard times get back on their feet, instead of falling behind.
According to NZCCSS research, both New Zealand and overseas evidence shows that societies where income and wealth are shared more fairly are better for everyone.
“A higher tax rate on incomes well over $100,000, combined with some form of well-designed tax on wealth, would deliver much needed income from taxes to fund essential services,” says Trevor McGlinchey, Executive Officer of the NZ Council of Christian Social Services.
Right now, important support services that hold our communities together are under huge pressure, said NZCCSS in a statement today.
They report that many organisations are struggling, because government funding has remained static, while costs and needs have risen.
Vital services in areas such as early childhood education and home support for older people are still being cut back and agencies are left unable to meet increasing need. One key reason behind this is that too little tax is being collected to fund these services.
“This is a real ‘double whammy’ for our communities,” says Trevor McGlinchey.
“When people are hit by life shocks like loss of employment, relationship break down or illness, their quality of life is badly affected.
“But our experience shows that with sufficient resources we can see the transformation in peoples’ lives when they are supported to make changes, and learn new skills.”
“Why should those with very high wealth pay next to no tax on their gains, while hard working people pay the lion’s share of income taxes?”
New Zealand is almost alone among developed countries in the way we let the wealthy pay unfairly low tax on their wealth gains.
Tax experts have various ideas for how wealth can be taxed in a fair way, but the most important thing is to do something now to tax wealth and put the money raised into lifting people out of poverty.
The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is the umbrella group for the social services of the Anglican Care Network, Baptist Churches of Aotearoa New Zealand, Catholic Social Services, Presbyterian Support NZ, the Methodist Church and the Salvation Army.