23 Nov 2011

Mana focuses on Labour supporters

7:59 pm on 23 November 2011

The Mana Party is focusing on traditional Labour Party supporters in an effort to lift its party vote.

In a state of the nation speech in the Auckland suburb of Mangere on Wednesday, Mana leader Hone Harawira drew comparisons between his party and the 1930s Labour government which introduced the welfare state.

Mr Harawira blamed the free market policies of both Labour and National in the past 25 years for having widened the gap between rich and poor.

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Mr Harawira says Mana now stands for the values which Labour once held and he says it's after the votes of people who previously voted Labour.

The party's Manukau East candidate, John Minto, says there is a chance to get low income people, who might have traditionally voted Labour, to switch their vote.

But Mr Minto says many of those people don't enrol to vote because they have lost trust in politics.

Radio New Zealand's political staff say that what Mana is hoping for is that enough people will vote for it so that Hone Harawira, who is favoured to win his Te Tai Tokerau seat, will be joined by at least one, possibly two, other MPs.

Education policy

Earlier, the party said the education sector should be fully funded by the state so all New Zealanders have free access to it.

John Minto, also the party's education spokesperson, says Mana would overhaul the tax system to properly fund the education sector so parents are not pestered for school donations.

He said Mana's education policy also includes scrapping National Standards in primary schools, and making the Maori language complusory at primary and secondary schools.