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How parties would relieve the Covid-19 burden put to young candidates at TVNZ debate

The biggest issues for young New Zealanders aged 18-29 is the economy, the environment and Covid-19 management, Vote Compass has revealed. 

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The TVNZ Young Voters debate brought the parties together to look at issues facing young Kiwis. Source: 1 NEWS

In light of young Kiwis' priorities, the question of how their party would relieve the Covid-19 burden on the next generation was put to candidates at the TVNZ Young Voters debate last night. 

It comes amid a recession, with New Zealand already having the biggest fall in GDP since records began and unemployment forecast to reach 7.8 per cent in 2022. 

"You can’t travel anywhere, New Zealand is staring down a debt that could potentially take decades to pay off," host Jack Tame said. 

ACT's Brooke van Velden, Green Party's Chlöe Swarbrick, National's Simeon Brown, Labour's Kiri Allan and Robert Griffith of NZ First. Source: Facebook/Supplied.

Labour's Kiri Allan said her party's "entire Covid economic response has been based on a really strong health response". 

She said she was meeting people every day on the East Coast who had been displaced from their jobs due to Covid.

"(They’ve) been re-trained, re-deployed and put into new forms of work that is stimulating the local economy.

"We’re not afraid about investing and looking at the long term, in a transitioning economy, much more of a sustainable economy."

She called Labour’s tax policy, that would only impact two per cent and generate just $500 million, "stable".

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National Party’s Simeon Brown took a swing at Labour’s KiwiBuild scheme during tonight’s debate. Source: 1 NEWS

However, National's Simeon Brown accused Labour’s policies as being "lots of platitudes and not much plan".

"We can’t keep borrowing and we can’t tax our way out of a recession. We want to help stimulate the economy, we’re going to have temporary tax relief for hard working Kiwis.

"We also need a plan around how we’re going to grow jobs, and not just talk about it from a top down perspective."

Tame asked how Brown could justify giving someone on a six figure salary a $60 a week tax cut, when it would younger people who would have to pay it off.

"We’re giving stimulus to all taxpayers. Those on lower income do pay less tax and we want to ensure people in medium incomes, (earning) $60-$90K, they’re not wealthy people, give them tax relief so they can go out there and stimulate the economy," Brown said. 

Chlöe Swarbrick said the Green Party had six independently costed policies, with three of them focused on climate action, to deal with the Covid-19 burden. 

"What all of those recognise is that there is a huge amount of money being spent.

"What we need to do is make sure we invest that money in such a way where we don’t end up accumulating even more debt in the future by ignoring things like mass inequality, the climate crisis."

She said they would introduce guaranteed minimum income to deal with poverty. 

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Brooke van Velden said the current Government’s Covid-19 economic response was ‘fiscal child abuse’. Source: 1 NEWS

Brooke van Velden of ACT said the health and economic response to Covid-19 "have to go together".

"We need to have a response like Taiwan and set up an epidemic response unit. Then we need to look at using better technology so we can get people back into our borders and having that certainty to get the economy moving."

She said the amount being borrowed was "disgraceful" and "fiscal child abuse", with the expectation of the next generation to pay that back, while young people were facing high job losses and high house prices.

Robert Griffith said NZ First was "the only party that a person doesn’t lose in our plan".

"You give Kiwis the skills to go out and get the jobs, because working is how we’re going to pay off this debt. The second plan is you start working with the hi-vis economy and the primary industries to make our exports more equality and more quantity.

"You need a policy framework to do that, that’s reforming the RMA, that’s being able to fast-track these projects to get the economy moving.

"The fourth one, is connecting us to the rest of the work so our exports can make a lot more money and pay off the debt."

To take part in Vote Compass, a survey tool which shows users how their views match up with party policies, go to the Vote Compass page.

Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a civic engagement application offered in New Zealand exclusively by TVNZ.