Harawira comes out against GST hike

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With the 2010 budget to be released this afternoon, MP Hone Harawira has come out swinging.The outspoken Tai Tokerau MP has released a media statement saying that he wanted to break his silence on the issue of the proposed GST increase because he didn’t want to be pressured into supporting something he didn’t believe in saying;

GST hits poor people the hardest because nearly all of their money is spent on things that you pay GST on food, petrol, electricity so any increase is going to really hurt them.

According to Mr Harawira, other MPs from the Maori Party didn’t like the GST increase but felt that too much had been achieved so far and so much more needed to be done in the years to come.

And weve had some great successes. Two Ministers after only three years in Parliament, a review of the hated Foreshore and Seabed Act and repeal just round the corner, recognition of the Maori flag, rolling out the Whanau Ora package, an inquiry into the tobacco industry, an increase in tobacco tax, support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and a constitutional review being undertaken very shortly.

But if you were to ask the simple question about whether the Maori Party would support an increase in GST, the answer would have to be a loud NO.

Since entering the house in 2005, Maori Party MPs have given many speeches in defence of low-income families, opposed tax increases, supported the GST Off Food petition, and even brought Rahui Katenes GST Off Food bill into the house.

If theres one thing I learnt from Tarianas stand against the Foreshore and Seabed bill its that we must always speak out on issues that affect our people. This is clearly one of those issues.

Maori people have backed us in good times and bad, they stood alongside us even when they didnt really understand what we were doing, they voted for us because they believed in us, and they will be struggling to put the picture of the Maori Party they voted for, together with the picture of their MPs voting for an increase in GST.

The NZ Herald has reported that Mr Harawira wanted to cross the floor to vote against this but due to the existing coalition agreement which requires Maori Party MPs to votefor the governmenton confidence and supply issues.

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