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September 14, 2014 | by  | in Features |
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Spotlight on Policy

Where exactly does each party stand on issues that matter to you? Between constant policy announcements, personality politics overshadowing policy discussions, and not having enough time to trawl through pages and pages of all the parties’ documents, it’s difficult for students to cut through to the actual positions that politicians have. So we asked what the most important issues were to students and, with the help of Ours, compiled the following policy matrix to help you get an idea of what exactly it is you’re voting for this election.

Education

National
Maintain interest-free Student Loans. Keep Student Allowance eligibility and course-related costs at current levels. Remove requirement that student representatives sit on governing bodies, and decrease their size.

Labour
Student representation on University Councils. Replace VSM, compulsory student association membership with opt-out option. Review TEC, PBRF, enrolment caps, and Student Allowance eligibility. Reinstate postgraduate Student Allowance.

Greens
Establish a universal student allowance, at the level of the unemployment benefit, for all full-time students. Introduce a debt write-off scheme so that, at the end of studies, each year the person stays in Aotearoa and contributes through paid or unpaid full-time work, a year’s worth of debt will be wiped.

NZ First
Introduce universal living allowance. Debt write-off scheme for full-time graduates in areas of workforce demand. 2000 zero-fees scholarships per year for students who are first in their family to pursue a degree.

Māori
Student Loan repayments only required once a graduate has been working for 5 years and is earning 1.5 times the average wage. Increase access to Student Allowances.

Internet Mana
Abolish all fees for tertiary students of all ages, and provide students with a living allowance (or Universal Basic Income) while studying. Develop a plan to write off student debt; meanwhile, no further interest on Student Loans. Repeal voluntary student unionism.

Environment

National
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2020. Maintain Emissions Trading Scheme, excluding agriculture, for foreseeable future. Continue to encourage oil and gas exploration in New Zealand waters, and pass legislation to strengthen environmental and safety standards. Continue construction of $13 billion Roads of National Significance. Roll out first new electric trains in Auckland. Trial a ‘warrant of fitness’ programme in state houses.

Labour
Establish an independent Climate Commission, which would establish a carbon-budgeting process for achieving significant emissions-reduction targets. Restore the ETS to place an effective price on carbon. Establish NZ Power: single buyer of wholesale electricity with ability to set prices. Ensure at least 90% of New Zealand’s electricity is generated from renewable sources by 2025. Fund Auckland City Rail Link 50:50 with Auckland Council. Remove annual registration charge for light trailers and caravans. Ban trucks from fast lanes on three- and four-lane motorways. Healthy Homes Guarantee on rentals.

Greens
Support a 100% reduction in net greenhouse-gas emissions from 1990 levels within New Zealand by 2050. Redirect funds from roading to public transport. Introduce a carbon tax, the revenue of which would go to reducing personal and company tax. Require energy retailers to buy or generate from renewable resources. Increase supply of safe walking and cycling options, and reliable and affordable passenger transport. Cheaper public transport: introduce discounts for children, young people, students, and beneficiaries. Fund the Auckland City Rail Link. Control pollution of lakes and rivers from urban stormwater and agricultural runoff.

NZ First
Oppose the ETS. Establish a formal planning process to achieve “fossil carbon reduction”. No new roading projects that can’t be satisfied with public transport.

Māori
Moratorium on off-shore oil drilling. Enact legislation to ensure full consultation and negotiation with mana whenua / mana moana before any mining contracts are let. Encourage the use of public transport.

Internet Mana
Support Green Party’s climate protection plan. Accelerated roll-out of smart meters. Light rail for Auckland. Develop free public-transport systems starting with free services for under-25s and those over 65, $1 fares for all others. Ensure public-transport systems transition to low-carbon-emission modes.

Economy

National
Return to Budget surplus in 2014/15. Invest proceeds from partial asset sales in new schools and hospitals. Invest over $1.3 billion in research and development to promote innovation. Expand apprenticeships and vocational training in schools. Reform employment law and collective-bargaining rules in order to allow more flexible working arrangements.

Labour
Lower interest rates. Reduce Net Core Crown Debt to 3% by 2020/21. Raise top tax rate to 36% on income over $150,000, trustee income tax to 36%. Introduce a Capital Gains Tax. Make KiwiSaver compulsory, increase minimum contributions to 4.5% by 2021. Raise minimum wage to $16.25 in first year in office. Reduce unemployment by 4%. Living Wage for everyone working in the core public service. Repeal 90-day trial period.

Greens
Introduce tax-free threshold. Introduce comprehensive capital gains tax (not including family home). Allow only New Zealand citizens and residents to buy New Zealand land. Establishing a Green Investment Bank to accelerate New Zealand’s transition to a greener economy. Additional $1 billion of government investment in research and development (R&D) above current spend, including tax breaks for business. Climate Tax Cut; first $2000 of income tax-free. Increase the minimum wage and ensure it cannot fall below 66% of the average wage.

NZ First
Reform Reserve Bank Act and exchange-rate regime. Restrict foreign ownership. Establish KiwiFund as a state-owned saving scheme and KiwiSaver provider. Buy back state asset shares at no greater price than paid by first purchaser. Raise the minimum wage to $16. Abolish ‘starting out’ wage.

Māori
No tax on the first $25,000 earned. Exempt food from GST. Increase minimum wage to $16. Extend Tax Credit for all low-income families. Establish a short-term subsidy to business owners who create new jobs for the unemployed or take on trainees. Reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance.

Internet Mana
Work towards Universal Basic Income where everyone 18+ receives a minimum, liveable, tax-free income. Buy or take back key state assets, like power companies and telecommunications, at the price paid for them. Nationalise electricity and water. Abolish GST. Introduce tax on financial speculation. First $27,000 tax-free, higher top tax rates. Increase the minimum wage to $18.80 and index it at 66% of average wage. Repeal 90-day trial period. Mandate time-and-a-half pay for any work in excess of 40 hours per week, or 8 hours per day.

Law

National
Introduce legislation to strengthen victims’ rights. Increase penalties for online sexual abuse and cyberbullying. No plans to change current law on abortion.

Labour
$60 million over 4 years to sexual and family violence support services. Cross-party long-term plan to eliminate violence against women and children. Support Law Commission review of law on abortion. Restart Law Commission report into alternative trial processes for sexual assault and rape. Repeal GCSB legislation.

Greens
Support decriminalising abortion, taking it out of the Crimes Act. Abolish private prisons. Maintain the current age of criminal responsibility at 14. Support amending the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 to include a right to privacy. Restart Law Commission report into alternative trial processes for sexual assault and rape.

NZ First
Support decriminalising abortion, taking it out of the Crimes Act. Increase availability of home detention and non-custodial sentences. Mandatory minimum sentences for violent offenders.

Māori
Support decriminalising abortion, taking it out of the Crimes Act. Repeal 3 Strikes policy. Reintroduce legal aid. Restart Law Commission report into alternative trial processes for sexual assault and rape.

Internet Mana
Support decriminalising abortion, taking it out of the Crimes Act. Invest in restorative, marae, and community-based processes, including dispute resolution processes. Set a timeframe for the abolition of prisons. Review and repeal GCSB legislation. Regulate internet filtering of child exploitation material. Restart Law Commission report into alternative trial processes for sexual assault and rape.

Disclaimer: See a much more comprehensive list of policy positions at www.ours.co.nz/cheatsheet. Not all parties are included in this list. Space in the magazine would not allow it, so editorial decisions were made, based on which parties had the most interest to students, and which were likely to form part of a government and therefore influence policy. All care has been taken to ensure that the table is up-to-date and accurate. This resource is intended to provide for quick, basic comparison between parties. Because of the variance between parties in the timelines of policy release and the manner in which policy is presented, we cannot guarantee a comprehensive overview of policy. Use this resource as a starting point, and refer to parties’ websites for authoritative statements of policy. Due to great variation in the way that parties present policy, editorial staff have abbreviated and paraphrased policy in some cases. This document has been compiled between 1 August and 10 September 2014. It is based on documents available on parties’ websites.

Compiled by: Chris McIntyre, Molly McCarthy, Scott Fletcher, Sam Bigwood, Tyrone Barugh, Nick Fargher, Michael Graham, Daniel Wilson, Steph Trengrove and Asher Emanuel.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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