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!