5 Nov 2011

Mana Party wants rich to pay their fair share

5:59 pm on 5 November 2011

The Mana Party says it would overhaul the tax system and introduce a financial transactions tax to make the rich pay their fair share.

At its campaign launch in South Auckland on Saturday, party leader Hone Harawira said the tax changes would benefit all New Zealanders and help eliminate poverty by 2020.

Mr Harawira told about 200 people gathered at Te Kura Kaupapa in Otara that Mana wants to abolish the goods and services tax (GST), which it believes is a tax on the poor and replace it with the financial transactions tax.


The party would also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour from April next year and make the first $27,000 earned tax-free.

Mr Harawira said government policy over the past 27 years has meant that 1% of the population has become obscenely wealthy, while hundreds of thousands live in poverty, and the tax on financial speculation would allow all people to benefit from the wealth in New Zealand.

Earlier this week, Mana promised a $1000 Christmas bonus to those earning less than $30,000 a year. Mr Harawira said that would cost $1.6 billion a year - exactly the amount given to the country's richest people as tax cuts.

The party said it would make health care free for everyone to help hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty.

"The greater access there is for all New Zealanders, the more opportunity there is that poor people will take to actually go and see a doctor," Mr Harawira said.

"At the moment, if your child is sick in the afternoon before the doctor closes, a lot of parents cross their fingers and hope that their child will still be okay the next day when the doctor's free. That's not free health."

Mana said it would also ban gaming machines in local communities and allow a community veto on pokies and casinos.

Hauaraki-Waikato candidate Angeline Greensill told those at the launch that New Zealand is not the country it should be - and the fight-back starts now.

The Mana Party was formed by Mr Harawira, who left the Maori Party and remains the MP for Te Tai Tokerau. Mana says it is a movement of the people and wants to rebalance injustices in society. It promotes the principle that what is good for Maori is good for the rest of the country.

Other members are high-profile lawyer Annette Sykes, long-time activist and trade unionist John Minto and former Green Party MP Sue Bradford.

Mr Minto, the candidate for Manukau East, said Mana is the smallest party in the election - but is also the most ambitious.