Leader of the Internet MANA Party, Leader of the MANA Movement, and MP for Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira
Thursday 31 July 2014
It’d be nice to be able to say that for all the differences between us and this National government and its coalition partners, the last three years had seen our country come out of the Global Financial Crisis with a positive attitude and increased capacity to rock and roll … but that’d be a lie.
There have been increases, but not across the board, and not in ways which signal a rebuilding of society and an improvement in opportunity for everyone.
Sure there have been increases at the highest echelons of our society – spectacular increases in the levels of wealth accumulated by the richest 1% of people in the country, an increase in the salaries earned by CEOs and corporate directors, an increase in the gap between the rich and the poor, an increase in funding for National’s “holiday highways’ but a cut in funding for the maintenance of local roads every year for the past six years in regional areas like Northland, and an increase in extractive and environmentally destructive industries like deep sea oil drilling and toxic land mining and a lowering of safety standards in primary industries like mining and forestry.
But when we look at the wider population, Maori, Pasifika, and more and more often, Tauiwi as well, we are seeing increases in all the wrong places - an increase in unemployment, an increase in the number of people earning less than the average wage, an increase in the number of people leaving for jobs overseas, an increase in inequality, an increase in child poverty, an increase in homelessness, an increase in the numbers of children hospitalised with poverty related illnesses and diseases, an increase in the educational achievement gap between kids in low and high decile schools, an increase in the numbers of people in prison … I could go on, but you know the story.
Such is the carnage for those at the bottom of our society, and such will be the legacy of this government and its coalition partners.
And the truly sad part ... is that life does not need to be like that, not for anyone in this country. We live in the greatest country in the world. We have the talent, the resources, the time and the space to be world leaders in whatever it is we choose to do.
And when I say “happy are those who dream dreams, and are prepared to pay the price to make those dreams come true”, it is because I truly believe that we actually have the capacity to “make those dreams come true”
But why should feeding the kids be something we dream about? Why should anyone think that living in a warm and decent home is “nothing BUT a dream”? Why do people think that full employment is impossible?
Because MANA sees all of those not only as possibilities, but as distinct realities, and we now have the support of our colleagues in Internet MANA to ensure people understand how real these ideals can be.
FEEDING THE KIDS through a comprehensive food-in-schools program already has the support of Labour, the Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party.
10,000 STATE HOUSES A YEAR for those on low incomes, is our policy, but it has already been taken up (in part) by the Labour Party and dovetails comfortably with some of the more innovative housing ideas from the Greens.
And there is no reason why we can’t backstop a strong, government driven home-building programme, with COMMUNITY JOBS FOR THE UNEMPLOYED all round the country, in hospitals, in schools, on marae, around old people’s homes, and anywhere else where we can help rebuild people’s self-esteem while preparing them for jobs in the private sector.
We know we have the support of most NZers to STOP THE TPPA, to REPEAL THE GCSB LEGISLATION and to TAKE BACK THE POWER by nationalising the electricity companies and making them core assets never to be sold again.
And we also know that unless we provide for A FREE TERTIARY EDUCATION for our kids, we will continue to get what we have already got - the loss of all that intellectual capital as our kids head overseas in pursuit of jobs to pay off their loans, meet somebody, start a family, build up a new group of friends … and never come home again.
And because I know that you’re asking yourselves the question, I can tell you that when somebody in the standing-room only audience at our public meeting in Rotorua on Tuesday night ALSO asked the question about how we might pay for all of these promises, it was the richest guy in the room who took the microphone and asked the questions that other seriously rich people are also asking …
“Why is it that people can make millions on the stock market … and pay no TAX on it at all?”
“Why aren’t banks paying a FINANCIAL TRANSACTION TAX on the billions of dollars that they transfer from place to place in search of profit?”
“Why do we allow uber-rich people to buy very expensive homes, cars, helicopters and yachts and not pay a LUXURY TAX for the privilege?”
“And why is government spending so much on roads, and yacht races, and so little on people?”
You see, our policies are based on the belief that by backing ourselves to lift everyone in Aotearoa to a place where we can all be positive contributors to our society, where healthy families are normal, where every child can learn because they are all well fed, where free education is a norm, where warm homes are a standard, where jobs are plentiful, where everybody pays their share to achieve those goals, and where parliament accepts that the only legislation worth passing is that which passes the test of first being good for our tamariki and our mokopuna … then and only then will be able to “make those dreams come true”
And of course, realising those dreams will require more than just Internet MANA believing we can achieve them. It will mean us working with others as well, which we are more than happy to do, but as to whom we would work with after the election?
Well, as a matter of principle we won’t be working with National for the very simple reason that no government since WWII has created so much inequality, so much hardship, and so much poverty, for so many people, in such a short time, as this National government and its coalition partners.
And while David Cuniliffe says a cabinet position in a Labour-led government for Internet MANA is unlikely, if, as John Armstrong of the NZ Herald said “with Labour's woes intensifying and their support bleeding away, there is a good chance that Internet Mana could be hovering around the 5% level by the time the official campaign gets under way” believe you me, Internet MANA will be getting a call.
And while I’m talking about “other parties” here’s a short comment for those who have already pulled the race card on MANA … grow up. It’s the oldest trick in the book – bashing Maori at election time to boost your voter appeal – but it’s also the ugliest. You do yourselves a disservice by stooping to such levels and you insult the intelligence of the voting public by inviting them to sup from your well of poisonous racism.
And the fact that MANA actually has more non-Maori candidates than Maori ones has obviously slipped your minds, but you know what they say – don’t ever let the facts get in the way of a good story, especially a good racist story.
Mind you, the fact that Internet MANA is playing to packed houses in community halls all round the country while nobody else has the courage to put themselves out there for the public to see and to hear and to challenge, is probably the real threat to other parties in the run up to the election, especially those who can’t even get enough members to fill a hall for their annual conferences …
And I quote again from last week’s Herald which stated “If any spies from the Labour, Green or Maori parties infiltrated yesterday's Internet Mana rally in West Auckland, they would have come away with very worried looks on their faces. The Maori Party, in particular, should be afraid, very afraid. The main hall of the Kelston Community Centre was packed to the gunnels. There was not so much a buzz of excitement as a raging ferment of noise as the audience waited patiently for proceedings to begin”
And if I could offer one final quote from John Armstrong, it would be this …“Internet Mana has one commodity the other parties on the left struggle to provide in convincing fashion to those at the bottom of the heap. That commodity is hope - hope in enough quantity to drag this segment of the voting population in the direction of a polling booth”
For now our focus is simple. We wish Labour and the Greens all the best in rebuilding their brands and getting their voters to the polls. Our plan will be to bring new voters in and disgruntled voters back.
The momentum is clearly with Internet MANA … the people are clearly with Internet MANA, and the hope is clearly with Internet MANA.
As we move away from the house and into the homes of the voters, Internet MANA is taking nothing for granted, but those winds of hope are sweeping through the country, and we invite the people to join us in riding them to victory on 20 Sept 2014.