Interview with the Chair Ohisalo of the Greens calls the Coalition Party and the SDP “motoring parties”: “We have huge differences”

HS interviews all chairmen of parliamentary parties during municipal elections. According to the Greens Maria Ohisalo, other parties are not as climate-conscious as they claim to be: the Coalition Party and the SDP are “motoring parties,” she argues.

Municipal elections are green To Maria Ohisalo a very important dawn. Ohisalo, who is preparing for his first election as chairman of the party, has clear goals for election day.

“In Helsinki, we are going to be the largest party in the municipal elections for the first time and raise Anni Sinnemäki as mayor. Across the country, we are aiming for our best-ever municipal election result, ie more than 12.5 percent support, ”he says.

According to the latest polls, the Greens are lagging slightly behind their targets, but the President assures that he is looking forward to the election with peace of mind.

“We have more candidates than ever before, which is perhaps a little surprising in this world age. We have full lists of candidates in the seven largest cities and in Lohja. Lohja has a huge buzz. ”

It is still It is clear that in the case of the Greens, the focus is above all on Ohisalo’s hometown of Helsinki. In the preconceptions, the Greens are fighting hard for the dominance of the capital with the Coalition.

Read more: HS-Gallup: Anni Sinnemäki is Helsinki’s favorite mayor

And it is not just a race between parties, but what kind of policy will be pursued in Helsinki in the coming years. The views of the Greens and the Coalition differ significantly on many important issues. One of the concrete issues of controversy is motoring.

“Here we have huge differences between the parties. The Coalition Party and also the SDP are motoring parties. While the parties pretend to be very climate-conscious, that is not the case. You can see it quickly in municipal policy as well, ”Ohisalo claims.

The Greens, for example, are in favor of congestion charges for traffic to the Helsinki metropolitan area. Coalition Party mayoral candidate Juhana Vartiainen while in the past it was open to congestion charges but knocked out last week their introduction in Helsinki.

Sdp question to share. For example, the candidate for mayor of Helsinki Nasima Razmyar and the Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka have not been able to state their position on the matter. Uusimaa’s Social Democrats have said they oppose the introduction of congestion charges in the Helsinki metropolitan area.

Green also opposes the facilitation of motoring in Helsinki. The party believes motoring should be reduced.

“Sometimes you hear the thought that congestion is eased by making driving easier. But we have quite icy examples of the fact that when lanes have been added, motoring has by no means diminished. However, urban space is limited. ”

Ohisalo is reminiscent of the downtown tunnel, which the Coalition Party supported during the ending council term.

“Instead of making driving easier, we should bring alternatives to it: you can leave your car out if you can choose this public transport option or an electric bike. The solution cannot be to make driving easier by adding more space for cars. ”

In principle, Ohisalo does not support free public transport.

“While the parties [kokoomus ja Sdp] are pretending to be very climate-conscious, that is not the case. ”

This year has been discussed in public whether the shops in central Helsinki will wither if driving is made more difficult. In Ohisalo’s opinion, the city center should not be seen at all as a place where big purchases will be made by car.

Instead, he sees that people could come to get more restaurant, event and other experiences downtown. The Greens would contribute to this by having fewer cars and more green spaces in the city center, as well as space for walking and cycling.

“Hopefully we will be able to take these visions forward as a party mayor.”

The Greens according to the chairman, the coalition often turns talk about making driving more difficult into “demonizing motorists”. Ohisalo says it is only a matter of offering more environmentally friendly alternatives.

However, the Greens are not in favor of making public transport in the metropolitan area free of charge, for example, as a counterbalance to making driving more difficult. For example, the cheapest one-way ticket for a tram, metro or bus costs 2.80 euros for non-special groups.

Ohisalo believes that free public transport would not be the right way to make it a more attractive option, as ticket revenues are needed to develop public transport. He does not believe that the notch left by premium income would be filled with public funds. This would reduce the quality of public transport.

In addition, Ohisalo suggests that studies show that the cost of public transport encourages walking short distances.

In addition to ticket revenues, he raises congestion charges supported by the Greens as a possible source of funding, the proceeds of which the party would direct to improve public transport.

“For low-income people, ticket prices should be low. And maybe even free could be considered for some low-income groups. But yes, the well-off have to pay for their ticket. It makes sense for society as a whole to collect fees. ”

Same the line is true of green climate policy in general: the party wants to compensate for any increases in taxes and fees that may result from climate action, especially for low-income people. For example, the Coalition Party assumes that taxes and fees for middle- and high-income earners should not rise, but should rather fall.

The difference between the competitors is also reflected in the attitude towards the municipal tax. The Coalition Party has outlined its goal that no tax will be raised in any municipality during the forthcoming term of office. The Greens, on the other hand, do not rule out tax increases.

According to Maria Ohisalo, the segregation of different social classes must be prevented.

“It would be healthy to have children of CEOs and dunners in all residential areas.”

Chairman of the SDP Sanna Marinin for tax openings, however, Ohisalo is not warming up. Marin has said in election debates that part of the capital income tax revenue should go to municipalities.

“Capital income is now not taxed at all in the municipality, and we think it should get a slice there as well, because those who receive capital income also enjoy municipal services,” Marin said, for example. In an interview with MTV.

The Greens’ political agenda states that taxation of capital income can be tightened by making it more progressive. However, the distribution of tax revenues to municipalities is questionable for the chairman.

“If we can deal with this same thing through the state contribution system, then is it worth it for the three billion euro pot of capital income taxes to go to the municipalities? By what criteria would that happen? We have approached this in such a way that the state contribution system can handle this aspect. ”

In the spring, there has been talk about whether Ohisalo will remain in the shadow of Annika Saarikko (left), chairman of the center, and Prime Minister Marin.

Ohisalo considers that excessive segregation of different sections of society must be prevented both throughout the country and within Helsinki. For example, he would also invest the city’s rental housing production in areas inhabited by the wealthy, if that is possible through land use.

And in Ohisalo’s opinion, low-cost rental housing as well as hard-earned owner-occupied housing, as well as right-of-occupancy and co-ownership housing, must be built in new residential areas.

“It would be healthy if all residential areas had the same sandboxes and schools for the children of CEOs and dunners. That they would meet each other and visit each other. ”

Such residential areas are functional and safe, Ohisalo says. He refers, for example, to the experiences of the business world.

“The more diverse the team at work in the company, the better they often manage. And the more equal a society is, the better it often does financially. It must be adhered to in Finland as well. ”

Three questions for Ohisalo

Tell us one concrete thing that should be fixed most urgently in your municipality.

“Increasing affordable housing production. You have to be able to afford to move to this city, live and live here. Similarly, homelessness must be tackled through models of supported housing and the strengthening of housing counseling. ”

What would you spend 100,000 euros on in your municipality?

“To increase the well-being of children and young people by strengthening mental health services.”

What advice would you give to your party’s new delegates?

“You are never alone. It is remembered that there are already those green delegates on the other side of the municipal border. We can share good initiatives with each other around the country. ”

Maria Ohisalo

  • Born in 1985.

  • First-term MP from Helsinki.

  • Chairman of the Greens since 2019.

  • The Minister of the Interior, ie the head of the ministry responsible for, among other things, police matters, border control, emergency centers and immigration.

  • Doctoral degree in sociology in 2017. Studied Finnish poverty, such as food aid and long-term homelessness.

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