Economic Development


Aotearoa Youth Declaration is an annual conference for High School Students which connects young people with government policy. Participants work in Focus Groups to develop policy statements that represent their views and priorities on a range of subjects. The statements below were drafted by the participants of the Economic Development Focus Group, and approved by the participants at the Conference.


1. We recommend the Government take action to address the root causes of the present levels of inequality, and to ensure that future growth is both inclusive and sustainable.

In order to alleviate poverty we support the Government in:

  1. Investigating the use of a negative income tax to either replace or supplement the current transfer payments system as a simplification measure;
  2. Increasing the minimum wage, but only in proportion to the rate of in inflation so as to avoid unnecessary unemployment as a result of placing an excessive burden on employers.

The income tax rates should be amended by zero-rating the first $10,000 earned, decreasing tax rates on those earning $70,000-100,000 and increasing the rates on those earning greater than $100,000. This should be done by introducing new tax brackets and the changes should be revenue neutral.


We support the Government’s goal to reduce net debt to 20% of GDP, but we believe that the superannuation scheme should be changed to ensure the long-term sustainability of New Zealand’s public finances.


We recommend the Government introduce a land value tax, whereby taxpayers can choose whether they are taxed on accrual or on a realisation basis (plus interest) with an exception for Māori customary land.


We support the Government agreeing to new Free Trade Agreements, and we believe that current intellectual property laws should be retained unless the benefits of the deal exceed the costs to New Zealanders.


We understand the benefits of closed-door negotiations and investor-state dispute settlements with adequate exceptions provided for the interests of public health and security, but we encourage government to provide more time and resources so there can be more meaningful public debate.


An enormous thanks to the Focus Group participants, the Facilitators – James and Cameron, the Conference Organising Committee, and the Event Sponsors.


Download the 2018 Youth Declaration