By Natasha Tziakis
More and more these days students are badgered, and branded as apathetic when it comes to voting in the general elections. According to data released by the Electoral Commission, in the 2014 General Elections, only 63 per cent of those enrolled to vote aged 18-24 actually voted.
But why is there a lack or awareness or interest from students? At Massive Magazine we have heard students feel like policy and party politics is over their head, leading to a lack of interest. Not anymore. We have got you covered. Below, we take a look at some of the main political parties and their policies for the upcoming 2017 General Election. Check it out, talk to your friends and prove you’re not apathetic, but attentive, when it comes to making a decision about who will run our country.
Note: This is a BASIC guideline. For more detailed information on particular policies, check out the glossary below.
- National: Increase health funding by $3.9 billion over 4 years.
- Labour: Increase funding by $8 billion. Decrease all doctor costs by $10 until a review of best way to match cost to income is undertaken.
- Green: Increase health funding, increase free GP visits until you are 18.
- NZ First: Introduce the Teen Health Check Bill – this would require DHBs to undertake health checks on all year 9 students, alongside other measures. Provide additional resourcing for child and youth mental health services.
- TOP: Legalise cannabis and have licensed suppliers and manufacturers to encourage small scale regional supply, and regulate the potency of supply. TOP would then use the revenue generated by the tax and profits for community programmes.
- ACT: Make contraception more available to those who need it. Continue to advocate state support for people with physical or mental conditions who require support, including improved access to supported living arrangements for those with serious mental illness.
- Māori Party: Remove GST from fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and milk.
- National: Invest in building new schools and classrooms nationwide. Roll out fast unlimited broadband to schools so they become more connected. Invest $10.8 billion a year into early childhood, primary and secondary school education.
- Labour: Invest an extra $4 billion dollars over four years to deliver a modern education system, funded by the money saved by cancelling National’s proposed tax cuts.
- Green: Commit to create a comprehensive plan to teach Te Reo Maori in schools – making it more important in the education system.
- NZ First: Abolish National Standards in their current form and work with the sector to establish robust assessment measures for individual students.
- TOP: Invest in early childhood education and aim to deliver free full-time early childhood education with a focus on improving quality in poorer areas.
- ACT: Remove the funding cap and increase per-student funding for independent schools
- Māori Party: Implement a universal student allowance with cost of living adjustment to guarantee a livable income during study, for all tertiary students, including post-graduate students.
- National: By 2030, reduce carbon emissions to 30 per cent less than the 2005 levels, improve Emissions Trading Scheme, Increase DOC funding to $10 million.
- Labour: Increase ETS so that it covers all sectors, charge for large commercial use of fresh water.
- Green: Carbon neutral by 2050, replace ETC with carbon tax, 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
- NZ First: Seek higher Crown levies on minerals extracted, then return 25 per cent royalties to the source regions. Develop plans and procedures to handle waste water in rural areas.
- TOP: 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035, reform ETS.
- ACT: Sell Landcorp and put the proceeds into a sanctuary trust for people who wish to operate inland sanctuaries for native wildlife.
- Māori Party: Protect freshwater and give it the status of tāonga (treasure). Make the freshwater standard drinkable.
- National: Continue current policies and build 5,200 new social houses in Auckland.
- Labour: Require all homes to meet quality standards, build 100,000 homes for sale to new home owners, stop sale of state homes, build 1000 new state homes a year until demand met.
- Green: Introduce WOF for rentals.
- NZ First: Provide government assistance for first home buyers.
- TOP: Expand the supply of social and affordable rental housing provided by not-for-profit organisations.
- ACT: Remove New Zealand’s large cities from the Resource Management Act, and create separate urban development legislation, prioritising land supply and reducing red tape on developers.
- Māori Party: 90,000 affordable houses by 2022 (60,000 in Auckland and 30,000 in other areas where there is severe housing deprivation).
- National: Increase the amount available to students through the accommodation benefit by $40-60.
- Labour: Progressively introduce three years of free tertiary education.
- Green: Work towards free education by reducing fee’s each year. Work towards universal allowance by decreasing the means testing threshold slowly.
- NZ First: Introduce a universal living allowance which is not subject to parent means testing as a priority for all full-time students.
- TOP: Introduce a universal basic income for 18-23 to help ease the burden of everyday costs.
- ACT: Increase student living cost limit by $40.
- Māori Party: Introduce free public transport for students at all levels.
- National: Reduce tax on income under $52,000.
- Labour: Increase minimum wage to $16.50 per hour. Establish fair trial periods. End secondary tax in the way that the first job is taxed normally and the second job would be taxed on a flat rate.
- Green: Reduce minimum wage to $17.75 and remove youth wage.
- NZ First: Raise the minimum wage to $20 per hour and introduce a new system of subsidising wages for employers who take on young, unemployed people for trade training and skills programmes.
- TOP: All income, including non-wage income such as income from property, to be taxed.
- ACT: Lower personal income tax.
- Māori Party: Introduce a living wage for all workers.