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Policy change, public attitudes and social citizenshipDoes neoliberalism matter?$
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Louise Humpage

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781847429650

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847429650.001.0001

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Equality with little tax or redistribution

Equality with little tax or redistribution

(p.181) Seven Equality with little tax or redistribution
Policy change, public attitudes and social citizenship

Louise Humpage

Policy Press

Changes to taxation and other means of redistributing income are the final policy shift examined in this book. To gain an understanding of whether the New Zealand public came to endorse neoliberal ideas around taxation, the first section of this chapter explores support for reduced tax when asked in relation to both the country’s economic situation and social spending. A second section considers views on redistribution by investigating whether New Zealanders believe in progressive taxation and want more government spending on low income earners. A final section analyses New Zealand beliefs about income inequality as a third means of assessing whether equality remains a key principle of citizenship in the 21st century. Contextual factors, such as the levels of unemployment and inequality are examined while differences based on age, ideological affiliation and income level indicate the varied impact of the three phases of neoliberalism. Each section ends by considering whether the New Zealand findings represent part of a coherent trend also found in the UK and Australia. Once again, the different timing and strength of Australian reforms made some difference but this fact reinforces the argument that attitudes are responsive to shifts in government activity.

Keywords:   tax, redistribution, inequality, attitudes, neoliberalism, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom

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