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The prideful cowards

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, December 10th, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: maori party, tax - Tags:

So far, the Maori Party has refused to take its opportunities to contribute to the debate on the tax bill before Parliament. They have just sat meekly and voted for National/ACT’s Bill.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see anything ‘mana-enhancing’ (to use a phrase from the National-Maori support agreement) about voting for a tax increase on the many, many Maori and other Kiwis who earn less than $24,000 or earn less than $44,000 and get Working for Families, or are in Kiwisaver, so that a few rich people can get big cuts and then not even having the guts to say why that is a good idea. Seems to me, the Maori Party doesn’t really support National/ACT’s tax changes but they are too cowardly to say so.

They will have a chance to redeem themselves this afternoon. Michael Cullen has said he will be putting forward an amendment to the tax Bill that gives a tax credit to all those low income earners who get a tax increase under National/ACT’s tax plan to cancel out that tax increase. I fear, however, that the Maori Party will sit silently, then vote against the amendment.

Fortunately, Te Ururoa Flavell will have a chance to proudly inform the New Zealand people why he supports a tax increase for low and middle income Kiwis when he appears on Backbenches tonight. If you’re in Wellington, get along to the Backbencher from about 8:30 and encourage Te Ururoa to speak up. By then, the Maori Party will have voted the tax increases on the poor into law, so it will be too late for the people whose livelihoods he is hurting, but at least he can show he has the courage of his convictions and, in doing so, restore some lost mana to himself and his party.

24 comments on “The prideful cowards ”

  1. Lew 1

    The māori party has never before failed to speak in a debate. For a while they made a lot of speaking whenever they were given the chance – and in their first year in parliament the four of them made more speeches than 18 Māori MPs in the preceding ten years. There’s still time for them to speak in this, so the first part of that may yet be unbroken – but the second has now passed.

    They voted for urgency – as the agreement requires them to do – `procedural motions’ are included. But they’ve also been supporting the tax bill. According to their agreement, `Support for particular legislative measures which do not relate to confidence and supply will be negotiated on a case by case basis.’ So one of three things is true: either they support the bill of their own volition (which would be inconsistent given their previous positions); they have negotiated with National to support it (in which case their electorate might want to see the quid pro quo); or they believe that by supporting legislation they previously railed against, they will buy themselves some favour with the government.

    I believe that they’re missing a huge opportunity to demonstrate that, even having signed on to this government (a move I supported) they’re not dancing to National’s tune and remain an independent voice for Māori. The bill will pass anyhow – why not make a symbolic gesture to reassure your constituency, rather than your government partners?


  2. Mr Magoo 2

    As a maori with some 3rd party experience in treaty negotiations, marae and Land Court cases, I can tell you that their highly variable and contradictory stance is not a surprise.
    In my experience, Maori politics always begins with speeches on whanau and looking out for the children’s future, and almost always ends with dollars and cents in those same people’s pockets. (there are some notible exceptions from some great people out there)
    All this made easier by far laxer laws (Maori Land Court/Waitangi tribunal) and accountability (government/iwi initiatives) than would every be allowed in european contexts. Some cases I have seen are outright fraud.

    I wish it was not the case, but nothing I have seen in the areas meantioned above would lead me to any other conclusion.

    The maori party is about power, money and influence. They will begin all their speeches talking about iwi, whanau and children, but I would suggest you watch their actions closely.

    While Pita may seem like the “happy-go-lucky” guy that would not hurt a fly I can assure you he is so cunning you could put a tail on him and call him a weasel.
    Which might very well be the appropriate term for him at the end of this 3 years if this is what we can expect.

    No, I am not a “brown racist”. I have great respect my people. (and all NZers) What gets up my nose are these cunning B’stards that get into positions of power and then squander those positions while the average maori continues to stuggle with no help from anyone or seeing any benefit from land deals and treaty claims.

  3. Ah, Lew. They would have to breach their C&S agreement to vote against the Tax Bill. Technically, they are voting to give the Government the right to raise tax, that’s known as supply.

    Traditionally, all supply votes are confidence votes, because the Govt needs money to run.

  4. Lew 4

    SP: Hm, is that categorically so? I believed that applied simply to appropriations and such. (Then – parliament isn’t my strong suit).

    (Edit: Yes, I can do my own research – taxation is an appropriation. My bad. Again.)


  5. bobo 5

    Will look forward to watching the Backbencher show tonight, the only political show at moment and you get more truth said in jest from politicians..

  6. simon 6

    love the blackadder line (at least i think it is from that show)

    “he is so cunning you could put a tail on him and call him a weasel.”

  7. Kinoy001 7

    This is simply wrong when all we hear is the MP talking about “Their”people who are living in poverty and the lowest earners and here are the gutless, pathetic maori party who are voting FOR a bill that makes these people pay MORE tax. This is simply WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I hope that the supporters of this fake party actually stand up against this…..


  8. Jimbo 8

    Steve – perhaps Maori can do the maths an understand that in absolute terms, tax cuts will probably always give rich people a bigger $$ savings. That doesn’t mean (a) the cuts are “regressive”; or (b) the cuts are “unfair”. Sometimes tax cuts are needed to re-calibrate the system and make sure it incentivises people properly (e.g. encourages people to aspire to earn more, or encourages clever NZers to stay at home).

    If you argue that such cuts are “unfair”, you really just sound like extreme righties who argue it’s unfair that rich people pay more in taxes for exactly the same services/benefits as poor people…

    A progressive tax system is fine and necessary. Sometimes it’s also necessary to adjust tax brackets and tax rates within that progressive tax system – any “savings” that a “rich” person makes on the way through are not really the point. If you refused to ever change the system because a rich person’s tax “savings” were greater than a poor persons, you COULD NEVER lower taxes…

    So if that’s what you’re arguing for, then keep firing away. Most people now see through the bleating and understand what’s going on.

  9. tax cuts will probably always give rich people a bigger $$ savings

    Ah Jimbo – the retard’s retard…

    Cutting the rate always gives bigger cuts to the rich. Adjusting the threshold works much better. Or did you not notice that Labour’s cuts gave someone on $88k a good $55 a week and someone on $880k a good… $55 a week…

    Damn. That Cullen must be so much cleverer than you! Not that that’s a high threshold to reach…

  10. Jimbo 10

    Robinsod – back to arguing the man and not the point again, huh? Based on previous form, you’re 3 posts away from saying how you’re smarter, better paid and “do better with the ladies” that me. Still a Tool, champ.

    I forget how things need to be translated into baby talk for you, but here goes:

    X earns $1 million per annum and pays $350,000 tax.
    Y earns $40,000 per annum and pays $10,000 tax.

    A lot of posters to this Blog (presumably you as well) seem to think it’s “unfair” for X’s tax bill to ever get lowered below $340,000… Unless you never let X’s tax fall below $340,000, one day she will have to get “bigger savings” from a tax cut than Y.

    If there are tax cuts, the is nothing “unfair” about X “saving” more than Y. In the same way, in a progressive tax system, there is nothing “unfair” about X paying 35x what Y pays in tax (or, for the sake of argument, 34x after a particular round of tax cuts).

    Do you get in now?

    The Left is getting ignored on the tax cuts debate because you refuse to engage on it properly. Your preference is to misrepresent the arguments in favour of tax cuts and shoot down straw men.

    BTW, we went over in some detail some weeks ago why “tax rebates” from Cullen aren’t tax cuts. (You remember the one, Sod? The masses agreed you were a Tool.) Cutting tax rates is “tax cuts”, not giving people lump sum payments to offset their tax burden, which is what Cullen did to try and create a politically spinnable outcome.

    [lprent: I warned him before when I detected he was going a bit maniac. If he does go to that lunatic stage….. I have to say he is usually fun to have around, but sometimes gets to the hard work stage. ]

  11. Yup, they voted against it. Nice to know where they stand.

  12. mike 12

    Nice to see labour already condeming themselves to the opposition benches beyond 2011 http://www.stuff.co.nz/4788848a6160.html “Taunts from Labour’s Trevor Mallard that Hone Harawira was betraying his people by supporting tax cuts have brought a blunt response from the Maori Party MP – “I’d like to kill him”.

  13. I thought that looked bad for Hone – what do you think ol’ three strikes Garret thinks of that kind of behaviour? I know he’s had some trouble with the brown-folk before (someone should ask him why he left Tonga) but now he’s gotta work with them!

    I/S – they still voted for the tax cuts that take money from more Maori than they give money to…

  14. Janet 14

    I watched Backbenchers and Te Ururoa wasn’t on – was he another of the government ‘no shows’ that seem to be happening quite a lot at the moment.
    That Stuart Nash is quite handsome though.

    I am furious about my tax going up. Why isn’t there outrage from the righties who contribute to this site that us part time low earners under $20,000 are going to have to pay a lot more tax. I suppose they are all so rich they can’t understand how people live on low incomes (I have caring responsibilities so I can’t work longer hours).

  15. RedLogix 15

    Reading the Stuff item, it appears that Harawira stated that he would like to kill Mallard, not just once in an outburst of colourful language, but went on to explicitly repeat the threat a second time.

    In my book this clown has quite definitely stepped over the line. ACT should be calling for his immediate arrest and criminal prosecution for making death threats, especially given their “Zero Tolerance for Crime” policy.

    This Parliament is decending into a madhouse.

  16. This Parliament is descending into a madhouse.

    and it’s only been two days…

  17. millsy 17

    The baubles of office always come with a price.

    Welcome to power, Maori Party. You like it so far?

    Mind you it looks like that the Maori Party is voting against the 90day bill. So they havent traded all of their balls for baubles…

  18. rave 18

    Madhouse? Its the committee of the ruling class what do you expect?
    Its rogernomics mark 2 shock treatment softening us up for complete sell out to the Banksters.
    No wonder Key is Minister of Tourism. He wants to personally welcome all his mates to the latest tax haven. Expect all the failed CEOs to flood down here with their stolen billions to build helipads on the beaches. Maori Party will provide the cleaners just like Sharples did at the Auckland Casino.
    The opposition is going to be outside parliament.

  19. lprent 19

    “…on a more positive note, it seems the Maori Party voted against the National/ACT tax plan in the final reading (I heard them vote for at least some elements of the Bill in committee stage). Where that leaves the Maori Party-National confidence and supply agreement, seeing as a tax bill is a supply bill (and, automatically, a confidence vote), remains to be seen”

    Wow. That is really interesting. I’m glad that they did so (I’d prefer to have a Maori party than not). But as you say, this kind of leaves the question of what a confidence and supply agreement is actually for.

  20. the sprout 20

    Hone Harawira of Trevor Mallard: “I want to kill him”.

    i thought threats to kill were a serious criminal offence – or do such laws not apply to MPs in the new National government?

    i can understand Harawira’s discomfort though, National are making the Maori Party look like utter fools.

  21. Mr Magoo 21

    lprent: Appearences.

    They have an opt-out clause on the non-mandatory government votes. (I rememeber hearing there are only about 3 of these per year )
    To be honest I don’t see why they are not all like this.

    Whether they do so or not does not matter for the bill. It was always going to be passed by Nactional, regardless of what happens.

  22. Alexandra 22

    It makes little difference to me how the MP vote. What matters is that the MP has decided to prop up a disgusting government.

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