We're officially back to the campaign for the 2020 General Election. The campaign may look a little different this year, but our candidates are still getting out and about in their communities and spreading the word about how another term of Labour will keep New Zealand moving in the right direction.
We started the week by announcing that a re-elected Labour Government will make Matariki New Zealand’s 12th public holiday, beginning in 2022.
Celebrating Matariki every year will give Māori a chance to share their unique traditions, history and stories with the rest of New Zealand. The holiday will also help out our domestic tourism and hospitality sector as New Zealanders plan mid-winter getaways. Waiting until 2020 will give businesses time to prepare and recover from COVID-19.
On Tuesday, we announced our plan for small businesses. With this policy, we’re continuing our support for small businesses with access to finance, investment in digital technology and by reducing unnecessary costs: all things that New Zealand’s small businesses have been calling for.
If re-elected, we will expand the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme: a loan of up to $100,000 for businesses of 50 staff or less. It will be available for three years, with the second year of the loan interest-free. We will also tighten regulations around the credit and debit card fees charged by banks to retailers, which will reduce costs for retailers by an average of $13,000 per year.
Wednesday was the release of our revenue policy, where we set out how we will keep a lid on debt while protecting vital services like health and education. Our policy will implement no income tax changes for 98% of New Zealanders, with only the top 2% - people earning over $180,000 - contributing a bit more revenue to support the recovery.
Labour's new income tax policy will only apply to 2% of New Zealanders - those who earn over $180,000. We will not...Posted by New Zealand Labour Party on Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Labour will not make any further increases to income tax or fuel taxes for the next three years. You can read more about our policy for tax and debt here, or check out this simple new tool to see if your income tax will change. Or head here to find out how tax actually works in New Zealand in general.
Jacinda Ardern joined Labour's Spokesperson for Energy, Megan Woods, in Taupō on Thursday to announceour clean energy policy. If re-elected, we will move forward our 100% renewable electricity generation target by five years, to 2030.
Clean energy projects are a key opportunity to build back better following COVID-19, so we’ll work towards this target by investing in emerging technologies, exploring clean energy projects such as Lake Onslow dam, and accelerating the electrification of transport and industrial sectors to position New Zealand as a world leader in renewable energy.
Friday saw the release of our plan for border control, where we are carefully managing the balance between protecting the health of New Zealanders, and helping businesses get the critical skilled workers they need for economic recovery. We will work with business, industry and the primary sector to identify where there is a need for specialist workers, and adjust the border settings to make their entry path streamlined and, most importantly, safe.
On Saturday we announced that, with a second term Labour Government, New Zealanders will see the reinstatement of the Training Incentive Allowance (TIA), to help New Zealanders get access to training and creating a more skilled workforce. This initiative will help people with the costs of getting a degree-level tertiary qualification, and is targeted at sole parents and disabled people and their carers. Reinstating the TIA for degree-level study is estimated to increase uptake by over 6,000 in the first year alone.
Labour will also increase the abatement threshold - how much people can earn (part-time) before their benefits are affected. Part-time work can be an important step toward full-time work, but the current thresholds can make it hard for people to enter the labour market or take on more part-time work, which can mean low income families don’t get to keep extra income that could help them get by. The new abatement threshold will be $160 a week. This builds on the change we already implemented to lift abatement rates in line with minimum wage increases.
Finally, we've announced that Labour will progressively extend Living Wage guarantees to contractors to the public sector. Cleaners, caterers, security guards: all of these professions are crucial to the public service and deserve to be fairly compensated for their work.
Investing in our people is one part of Labour’s five point economic plan. By increasing wages for some of our lowest income workers, we can ensure all New Zealanders get to share in the benefits of our economic plan as we recover and rebuild together.
Check back next week for the next installment of this weekly series, and back us on Election Day with two ticks for Labour.
Want to know more about Labour’s policies? Head here to find all the information you need to cast your vote on 17 October.
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