Election 2014

16 Oct 2008

Maori Party wants community bank, end to dole

12:00 pm on 16 October 2008

The Maori Party has released policies calling for the formation of a community development bank, and for the abolition of the unemployment benefit.

The party issued its economic and whanau ora policies at Te Aranga marae in Flaxmere on Tuesday.

Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the establishment of a community development bank to give loans to whanau and family businesses would be a significant boost, as small businesses need incentives to grow.

The initial funding for the bank would come from streamlining of money distributed by the Ministry of Economic Development and earmarked for Maori, as well as Te Puni Kokiri.

In other incentives to support Maori business initiatives, the party would like to see employment legislation simplified to ensure a focus on family practices, and a reduction in business tax.

Labour's Parekura Horomia does not think the bank concept is as innovative as claimed.

He says money is already available from trusts, and about $4 million is available from the Maori Business Facilitation Service to support businesses.

Abolition of dole

Tariana Turia said the unemployment benefit should be abolished as it has not been helpful to Maori, and unless they are sick or have children, they should be working.

"Its been soul destroying actually, to see the impact that it has had, and what we believe is that we must have work.

"Our people need to be working and I think that we need a Government strategy that sees no people collecting dole."

But Mrs Turia stressed the party is not suggesting a work for the dole scheme, as workers would be paid a proper wage.

The party is also calling for the removal of GST on food, and an increase in the minimum wage.