I see the Maori Party has come out saying the increase in the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour isn’t enough, and that they still support both a $15 an hour minimum wage and a tax-free bracket up to $25,000 (about the full-time minimum wage income).
Pity they didn’t do something about it when they had the chance.
Pity they didn’t put anything about the minimum wage in their confidence and supply agreement with the Nats.
Pity they didn’t speak up for their tax-free bracket idea when National was abolishing tax cuts for low and middle-incomes last year.
Pity that, when they had the chance to actually do something that measured up to their fine words by opposing those tax changes, not only did they fail to do so, they voted for tax increases for ordinary Kiwis. Pity they felt it was more important to keep their ministers’ salaries (and all the mana that goes with it) and vote themselves a nice fat tax cut.
No wonder ordinary Maori, including those two who went too far by grappling John Key and Pita Sharples at Waitangi, are already saying the Maori Party has sold out the Maori people by getting into bed with National (yup, that’s what those two guys were protesting about – the Maori Party-Nat agreement).
Fortunately, the real Maori Party isn’t all fine words and no delivery. The real Maori party, the one that most Maori vote for, Labour, actually delivers on education, crime, health, housing, and incomes, for Maori and non-Maori. They know that real leadership, really making a difference for the people, means more than empty words and flags over bridges.
It’s a lesson the Maori party is going to learn the hard way these next three years.