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.