Jenny Condie

Tax Spokesperson / List Candidate

Jenny Condie has a PhD in Accounting from Lancaster University in the UK. She has lectured in management accounting, Government accounting, and teaches MBA students how to do research. She was responsible for co-ordinating the budget for the health sector for two years at the NZ Treasury. She has worked in both teaching and administrative roles at universities in NZ and Canada.

As an undergraduate at Victoria University of Wellington she founded the Commerce Students’ Association and was president of AIESEC, a global student exchange programme.

As a mum of two young boys she has learned to weather tantrums and how to persuade toddlers to play nicely together and share their toys. This is probably her most relevant qualification for working in Parliament.

I have always been interested in public service and politics, but there has never been a political party in New Zealand that I could feel passionate about. As a researcher myself, I strongly support TOP’s commitment to evidence-based policy. I believe Government has a responsibility to help those who are disadvantaged in society, but I am also pro-business – viewpoints that no other political party is comfortable combining.

I voted for the neo-liberal policies of fiscal responsibility, welfare cuts, and tax cuts for business.  I honestly believed the rhetoric that this would stimulate the economy and we would all (yes, all) be better off eventually. But anyone who believes in evidence-based policy must face the fact that trickle-down economics has been a massive failure. Even Jim Bolger has admitted this. Poverty in New Zealand has never gone down since it went up massively after the welfare cuts in the 1990s. Our economy is doing okay, but not great – productivity per person is down. And none of the growth that we’ve had has made its way to low wage earners.

It is time to try something else – and TOP is the only party offering fresh ideas that haven’t been tried before. If trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, then Establishment parties in New Zealand would benefit from improvements in mental health care that we so desperately need! (Pretty sure I’m allowed to make that joke, as someone who has lived with depression since I was 19.)

Our tax policy will keep more money in the pockets of wage earners through tax cuts, while ensuring the wealthy pay their share through a new tax on non-financial assets like property. Personally, I will be worse off by about $700 a year: but I’m happy to pay my share for a fairer New Zealand. Not only is it right, but I will benefit too. These tax changes will deliver better quality of life to our poorest citizens. They will improve social cohesion:  since unequal societies are unstable societies, inequality is a threat to democracy. By closing the tax loophole for property, housing will become more affordable over time and more money will be available to invest in kiwi businesses. Plus the OECD estimates that we have lost 5% GDP growth due to income inequalities. Time to try some trickle-up economics!

As an educator in the tertiary sector I feel passionate about learning – as a way to improve our career prospects, as a way to make the world a better place, and purely for the joy and intellectual rewards it brings. We need an education system fit for the information age, not one designed in the industrial age. To be good citizens our kids need to be curious, creative, critical thinkers. You can’t deliver these skills with rote learning – we have to trust our teachers to be flexible and responsive. TOPs education policy wants to let teachers just get on with teaching, and stop wasting time on testing.

I have two young boys who are four and one. Being a mum is wonderful and rewarding, but it is also damn hard. I’m lucky to have a great support network and enough money, but even then it has still been a huge challenge. I’m in awe of mum’s all over this country doing it all with much less than I have. We need to value and support all mamas. Not only is it the right thing to do: it will make us all better off, now and in the long term. TOPs policy for a UBI for parents with young kids is a radical step in the right direction – valuing parents and trusting them to make choices that help their whanau thrive. And it’s not just about mums – dads are parents too, and we need to support and encourage them when they want to be stay-at-home parents (like my husband will be if you elect me to Parliament!)