PM spins budget for Maori
PM spins budget for Maori - Sharples Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples 28 May 2008
"Maori Party criticism of the budget is down to Earth, because our members are mostly grass roots people, who get the least from Labour's ruthless budget," said Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples, who is in Australia.
"The Prime Minister may be lost in space, because she is spinning so hard," he said.
"A tax cut she promised of $30 in October would certainly be welcomed by those on the average wage* - but her Finance Minister is only offering $10.**
"However almost 80 percent of Maori earn less than the average wage, so most of us won't get anywhere near that much.
"Our figures show:
* One third of Maori earn less than $15,000 pa. They get a tax cut of less than $12 per week from the budget, which barely changes over the years.
* The next third earn between $15-30,000. They will get a tax cut of around $12 per week in October, which may rise to a maximum of $22 in three years.
* Less than ten percent of Maori earn between $60 - 80,000 - the income group whose tax cuts will increase from $28 to $55 per week," he said.
"The worst part of the budget is the government's betrayal of beneficiaries. Maori suffer high rates of sickness and accidents, and low job security. Our unemployment rate is three times the national average.
"The Budget shows us beneficiaries don't count. Benefit adjustments lag further and further behind wage increases, and the budget has widened that gap," he said.
"Labour's philosophy is that people who cannot work for whatever reason, and their families, deserve to live in deepening poverty," said Dr Sharples.
"The Finance Minister spelt it out for us: '... real incomes have risen for those in employment and, therefore, if benefits increase by only the cost of living, then the gap widens. The Labour Party clearly stands for labour; that is why we are called the Labour Party.'"***
"And that is why te pani me te rawakore, the poor and dispossessed, are planning to vote for the Maori Party at the election," concluded Dr Sharples.
* She says a single earner family on the average income of $45,000 will get $30 a week more in the hand from the first tax cut instalment. (Waatea News, 27 May 2008: see http://waatea.blogspot.com/ )
** "The full effect of the tax adjustment from 1 October is as follows . The change for those on around $50,000 a year is that the package gives $10 a week more." Dr Cullen, Question 5 for oral answer, 27 May 2008. *
** Dr Cullen, Question 11 for Oral Answer, 27 May 2008.