Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Hone Harawira: Budget Debate Speech 2014

BUDGET DEBATE SPEECH 2014
Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau MP
Thursday 15 May 2014

On behalf of the MANA Movement, I rise to speak to this MORE or LESS budget presented by the National-Maori Party-ACT-United Future government, and when I say MORE, I mean things like …

MORE UNEMPLOYMENT than we had when this government took office in 2008, with official figures showing that the unemployment rate is now higher across all ages for nearly all NZers - Maori, PI and Pakeha included. The Maori unemployment rate alone is up by 8,500 to more than 40,000.

MORE YOUNG PEOPLE OUT OF WORK and not in school, training or in higher education - with Maori youth unemployment unacceptably high at 22%, nearly four times higher than the latest population wide unemployment rate - despite all the puru tutae about opportunities and all the rukahu about trade-training and cadetships;

MORE PEOPLE EARNING UNSUSTAINABLE WAGES, with statistics confirming that nearly three quarters of our entire workforce are now earning less than the average wage;

MORE OF A WAGE GAP between here and Australia - in fact the wage gap between the two countries has increased by a full 36% over that time;

MORE INCOME INEQUALITY between the rich and the poor, with National’s policies creating an environment where the richest 1% of NZers own 16% of the country’s wealth while 50% of NZers own less than 5%, and where the income of the top 1% has risen nearly 10 times faster than that of the bottom 10%.

MORE CHILDREN LIVING IN POVERTY up from 270,000 to 285,000 in 2014

MORE KIDS GOING TO SCHOOL WITHOUT BREAKFAST, and although KidsCan and Kickstart are helping, more than 80,000 NZ children are still going to school hungry every day;

MORE EVICTIONS OF STATE HOUSING TENANTS to help private developers buy up crown land to build high end housing for wealthy families and foreign investors, driving prices up and driving low income families out;

MORE FAMILIES BEING MADE HOMELESS through government imposing unrealistic criteria on poor people needing a home, and using reviewable tenancies to push state tenants out of their homes and into the private rental market and increasingly, into homelessness.

MORE CHILDREN HOSPITALISED with rheumatic fever and other diseases that the Child Health Monitor Report says are caused through poverty - living in cold, damp houses, and not going to the doctor because they can’t afford it.

MORE OF A GAP BETWEEN THE ACHIEVEMENT LEVELS of kids in low and high decile schools with Ministry figures showing that the gap has risen between the NCEA achievement rates of kids in decile 1 schools and kids in decile 10 schools.

And MORE PEOPLE IN PRISON and on home detention, especially Maori, with prison rates up for both Maori men and Maori women.

And that’s where the LESS comes into it, because all these problems arise as a direct result of less funding being spent where it’s needed most: on creating jobs with decent wages, building good quality homes for low income whanau, and making the health and education of our young people an absolute priority.

Government makes a big deal about having to cut spending to get the books back in the black, but all we have seen are massive cuts to core public services like housing, health, and education, and increasing inequities between rich and poor as a direct result of those cuts.

What we are seeing is financial racism imposed upon the poor to feed the wealthy; MORE to the rich and LESS to the poor.

LESS FUNDING FOR HOUSING with HNZ shutting up shop, offering people an 0800 number that nobody answers, and offloading tenancies onto WINZ. Government stripping $400m out of the purchase and upgrade of state houses and providing limited funds for Social Housing Providers who are expected to develop their own capacity, provide new homes, repair old homes, maintain homes on an on-going basis, and then cop the flak when the money runs out.

LESS FUNDING FOR EDUCATION leading to cuts in quality, poor results in international tests, the dropping of tertiary courses, the axing of Maori research funding, and an increase in course costs and student loan debt.

LESS FUNDING FOR HEALTH, leading to higher doctor’s fees and prescription charges, worse health outcomes for those in low income families, especially Maori & PI kids, and greater costs for society down the track.

AND LESS FUNDING FOR THOSE HEALTH PROVIDERS who work in the poorest communities addressing the most acute health needs, EVERY year for the past five years.

So WHAT DO WE GET FROM THIS BUDGET?

WHAT WE GET ARE MASSIVE CUTS TO PRIMARY & PREVENTATIVE HEALTH CARE, and the ridiculous sight of National and Maori Party MPs crowing about spending money on rheumatic fever, and while that’s great, because rheumatic fever is a killer in poor Maori and Pacific families all over Aotearoa, it’s also important to note that rheumatic fever is a third world disease and we’re supposed to be living in one of the most developed countries in the world. Spending money on rheumatic fever is not something to crow about; it’s an embarrassment that we should be cringing about.

WHAT WE GET IS A SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ALLOCATIONwhose signature policy initiative for 2014 is - wait for it folks – a $1m kutu chair!!! How’s that for innovative, targeted spending? A kutu chair for god’s sake. Oh yeah, and some money for budgeting services to cope with a growing queue of beneficiaries struggling to get by.

ALL WE’RE GETTING is the same old National-Maori Party-ACT-United Future Budgets we got in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; budgets with neither strategy nor funding for the eradication of child poverty; no plan for low cost housing; no community jobs programme; and no plan to raise the minimum wage or to introduce a living wage.

And even though the Maori Party talks about being “at the table”, the cold-hearted reality is that in all the key social areas of HEALTH, EDUCATION, HOUSING, JUSTICE, WELFARE andEMPLOYMENT, on Budget Day 2014, Maori are worse off than they were when the Maori Party first signed up to National in 2008.

On Budget Day 2014, the only places where Maori continue to soar are in unemployment, low wages, homelessness, hospitalisations, educational under-achievement, inequality, child poverty, and prison numbers.

Mr Speaker - if a budget is about how we set out our priorities and outline the financial strategies to achieve those priorities, then we must be strong enough to identify the important ones, courageous enough to allocate the money needed to achieve them, and then unwavering in our determination to realise them. Those priorities define what kind of society it is we want, and the resources we dedicate to them in a budget are an expression of our commitment to achieving them.

For MANA, those priorities are simple, because they speak of the society we would want to leave for the next generation – a commitment to feeding the kids, building homes for every family, providing jobs for everyone, and paying for it all by taxing those who can afford to pay for it. We have the means. We have the capability. All we need is the political will.

And that political will can only come when enough people in this country, Maori, Pakeha, Pacifica, Tauiwi, all those in genuine need in Aotearoa, are determined enough to want to CHANGE THE GOVERNMENTstrong enough to demand that we CHANGE THE PRIORITIES and committed enough to the view that we must always PUT PEOPLE BEFORE PROFITS.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Open Source // Open Society - Full Coverage

Gordon Campbell:
On The Reserve Bank And Auckland Housing

The ‘crisis – what crisis?’ response by the government to the Auckland housing price bubble is no longer acceptable.

So says Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer – who used unusually frank language in his speech and subsequent interviews yesterday to call for a capital gains tax, and to generally chastise central and local government for their inaction on a threat to the country’s economic health and financial stability.

That threat has been real for some time. The housing price bubble has already created a currency bubble... Undaunted, the government keeps calling this situation a success story. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Bangladesh: GCSB Dragging NZ Into Human Rights Abuses

The New Zealand government should stop providing intelligence assistance to Bangladeshi security agencies that are known to systematically engage in human rights abuses, said the Green Party today. More>>

ALSO:

Troops Heading To Iraq: Government Must Come Clean On Deployment

New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture of secrecy and unknown protections around the deployment.” More>>

ALSO:

Image: Strikers And Protestors Join Outside McDonald's

A group of protestors took to McDonald’s Manners St today as a part of the international fast food workers day of action to end zero hour contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Special Education Funds Not Spent

More than $32 million of funding for children with special needs has not been spent by the Government, despite families of children with special needs complaining for years that they’ve been denied the support they deserve. More>>

ALSO:

John Key: Pre-Budget Speech To Business NZ

So this Government will remain relentlessly focused on improving the competitiveness of our economy... We will continue to give businesses a platform to invest, grow and create jobs in the knowledge they will be backed by a clear and consistent government policy programme. More>>

ALSO:

Multimedia: Andrew Little’s Response To John Key’s Pre-Budget Address

Labour Party leader Andrew Little spoke today on John Key’s pre-budget address this afternoon in Wellington. Little said National has had seven years to achieve a surplus and Kiwis have “fufilled their end of the bargain.” More>>

Surplus Baggage: Key Backs Off ‘Artificial Target’

John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On UE Pass Rates And University Dropout Rates

Houston, there is clearly a problem with (a) the plunge in pass rates for University Entrance qualifications, which has been especially steep among Maori students and also a problem with (b) the failure rates for Maori students among those who reach university... Unfortunately the two problems seem related. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news