Imagine a tiny change to your IRD tax form: a box you could tick if you were willing for the amount you pay in tax to be made public.
The idea of such a box being, on the one hand, to encourage people to take pride in the contribution they made through the tax system to the wellbeing of society…
And on the other, perhaps to make people a little awkward if they did not tick the box.
That’s an idea that has been floated by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, in an article he wrote for the Yorkshire Post earlier this month.
In that piece Dr Sentamu writes about being “confronted daily with new evidence of extremes of wealth and poverty, demonstrating how scandalously unfair our society is.”
The Archbishop cites the case of British CEOs receiving 300 times as much as the least well-paid employees in their companies.
“It is hard to imagine,” he writes, “a more powerful way of telling some people that they are of little value than to pay them one-third of one percent of your own salary.”
Dr Sentamu’s concerns about the ill effects of gross income disparities has been echoed by the Anglican Archbishops in this country, Brown Turei and David Moxon, and by the Anglican Church’s Social Justice Commissioner, the Rev Dr Anthony Dancer.
“Church leaders here,” they say, “have the same concern about our society.”
What’s more, they’re pressing their concern with prospective MPs.
Those church leaders meet regularly in the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services – which is driving “Closer Together/Whakatata Mai”, a wide-ranging programme to reduce income inequalities in this country.
And the churches have challenged every candidate standing in next Saturday’s election to sign a pledge card which commits them to supporting policies that reduce huge income disparities.
To read the full text of Dr Sentamu’s article click here.
To check out the “Closer Together/Whakatata Mai” election challenge, click here.