Candidates put through paces

CANDIDATES: From left, Barry Coates, Heather Marion Smith and David Hay addressed Grey Power’s public meeting.

Howick & Pakuranga Grey Power Public Meeting – Friday, August 25

Three political guest speakers squared off for this pre-election meeting – Barry Coates (Green Party MP), Heather Marion Smith (Democrats for Social Credit candidate) and The Opportunities Party (TOP) spokesman

Barry Coates – Greens

Brought up in a clean New Zealand Green MP Barry Coates is an environmentalist. “Climate change is becoming catastrophic particularly for tropical peoples with, among other things, crop failures causing famine. New Zealand “is not doing enough to reduce CO2 emissions” and neither is New Zealand doing enough about the opportunity to become world-rated in organics.

Child poverty is a national disgrace; tenants deserve better rights and the Greens consider that a “rent to buy affordable homes” scheme would be widely accepted.  Noticeably, social housing for both the young and old has not kept pace with population growth.

The Greens will tax water bottlers, support a capital gains tax on all housing except the family home and also return lifeblood to Auckland’s “broken” transport system by using light rail to the airport and North Shore.

More funding is required by aged care to keep rest homes viable and to provide better hospital access for seniors so as to improve access for elective surgery (seniors just keep living longer).

The Green Party would retain the current age of eligibility for superannuation at 65.

Heather Marion Smith – Democrats for Social Credit

She reminded us that the Social Credit representative Neil Morrison had been MP for Pakuranga in the 1980s. She described how the current economic model of debt funding using private sector banks charging interest, rather than the better credit funding model results in less money for health, education, social welfare and the other myriad demands on government spending.

Democrats for Social Credit disagrees with the supposition that New Zealand has an insufficient tax base to fund future superannuation demands and hence the error in thinking that the “Cullen Fund’ was/is necessary to sustain our superannuation.

As does the Maori party, Social Credit believes superannuation for those that need it should start at 60.

Our economy and standard of living would improve under the credit funding model proposed by Social Credit, “It’s true and possible right now”, says Heather Marion Smith, “The legislation is already in place”.

David Hay – The Opportunities Party (TOP)

He was attracted to Gareth Morgan’s environmental and tax policies and cited the Morgan Foundation – a ”think tank” for environmental and social policy”.
TOP slogan is “Care-Think-Vote”.

A fundamental plank of TOP policy was to charge an asset tax, a radical tax change and to concurrently reduce income tax. Recent governments have favoured housing investment rather than productive investment which “needs to change”. TOP’s wish is not to crash property prices but to stimulate income growth in order to “catch up”.

TOP proposes a “minimum basic income” for families with children 0-3 years and for young people 18-23 years to enable them to find the “right job” so as to get on their feet.

TOP will retain eligibility for superannuation at 65 years, a universal minimum payment of $10,000 to all and for those requiring more to be means tested to determine top-up payment from the state.

All candidates took questions covering concerns of Grey Power members and were warmly applauded.

By Peter Bankers, President
Grey Power Howick Pakuranga & Districts Association Inc

Grey Power president Peter Bankers