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‘Drop the GST on Food’ call supported

‘Drop the GST on Food’ call supported by Maori Party

Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party and Health Spokesperson

Tuesday 29 April 2008

The Maori Party has welcomed the call for a wider debate about removing GST on food, sparked off by the latest grim report from the Child Poverty Action Group, 'Left Behind'.

“Desperate times call for bold responses – and that is what the public is wanting – not policy cowardice” said Mrs Turia.

“We need to be looking at the big picture – about how we can improve the health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens, now”.

“And yet what we get from Labour and National is that they have ruled out even talking about dropping GST from food with the excuse that it may be too ‘complex’ or ‘difficult to implement’”.

“What utter rubbish” said Mrs Turia. “Since when have good ideas been squashed because they may involve a bit of tricky policy thinking?”.

“Being administratively challenging is not a good enough excuse to avoid being socially responsible” said Mrs Turia. “If there is a will, there is a way”.

“National and Labour need to stop thinking up reasons why not and get to grips with the urgent crisis facing this nation –how the social and income inequalities are damaging our children”.

"We are not interested in playing a game of political point-scoring, heaping blame on the policy failings of the 80s and 90s - our focus is about investing in the future of this nation" said Mrs Turia.

“If we are serious about eliminating poverty, and caring for the well-being of our children, we must listen to the good ideas of the people and be prepared to do something about it”.

"If it is so difficult, perhaps officials could talk to their counterparts in Australia or Britain to see how they have been able to achieve the goal of removing GST from food" ended Mrs Turia.

Background

• “CPAG tells us that tamariki are being ‘left behind’, deprived of material well-being due to insufficient disposable income, sub-standard housing, inadequate nutritious food and unequal access to health care”.

• “The Public Health Association has suggested the removal of GST from fruit, vegetables, bread and other cereals and milk is one way of responding to the long-standing health, educational and social disadvantage these children may suffer”.

• “The Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA) has said it would support the removal of GST on key food items; while the Residents Action Movement, has signed up more than 1000 people on its petition to abolish GST on food”.


ENDS

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