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  • Julie Cleaver

Editor's Letter - Issue 5


Let's talk about ethics, baby!

Welcome to Issue 5! In this magazine we delve into all sorts of sticky ethical dilemmas, like Facebook privacy, ethical fashion and products, Auckland Uni’s library closures and more. It’s a solid read, and I promise it’s much sexier than your first-year ethics paper.

But now, the ethical issue I want to delve into is fuel prices, because recently, shit’s gotten real.

For those who don’t know, Transport Minister Phil Twyford just announced the Government plans to tax New Zealanders between nine and 12 cents more on fuel. That, along with Auckland Council’s fuel tax, will result in Aucklanders paying an extra 20 cents per litre on fuel. So for those filling up a standard 50 litre tank (think Toyota Corolla) once a week, you’ll be spending an extra $520 a year on fuel (!). Or, in AUT student-friendly terms, you’ll be paying for the equivalent of one smashed avocado every time a Debate Mag comes out (fortnightly).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for tax. Denmark – the so-called ‘happiest country in the world’ – pay upwards of 40 percent tax on their income, and the benefits they reap are epic. One example: Danes not only get free university tuition, but they actually get paid to study.

But I’m not into taxing the poor and the middle-class, and Labour’s recent fuel tax, in my eyes, will do just that. Of course the policy will apply to anyone with a fuel tank – rich or poor – but it’s the poor who will suffer, because what’s an extra $520 a year to someone on a 150k+ salary? But for those with less, like us university students, that money could be the difference between paying rent one month and not.

Instead, if Labour really wanted to look out for the people, like it says, they should be taxing the mofos who make all their money from buying and selling houses. Think about it: buying a house isn’t actually boosting the productivity of the economy, it’s just owning something that someone else lives in. You’re not creating a business, working, or doing anything that adds real, added value to our country. And yet it’s hands down the easiest way to make money at the moment, as the income people generate from housing is hardly taxed.

I asked the Transport Minister Phil Twyford if he had anything to say about my scathing comments, and he responded promptly, stating that Auckland Council asked the Government to impose a regional fuel tax due to the City’s transport being a “basket case”. He said the fuel tax will enable Auckland to build the transport infrastructure – including a modern public transport system with light rail – which it desperately needs.

But still, in my opinion, a fuel tax could be avoided. Tax the people at the top – they’re the ones with the extra money – not students and people at the bottom.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the rest of the mag and the ethical dilemmas it presents, and see you in two weeks!

Julie


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