Hide writes to Henare Over $15 million Spend Up
26 August 1999
Hon Tau Henare
Minister of Maori Affairs
Dear Hon Tau Henare
I am very disappointed with your pork-barrel approach to tax cuts. You are holding the country to ransom and declaring, "New Zealanders can have a long-overdue tax cut so long as I get my $15 million".
Your spend-up won't help one Maori child, one Maori family or one Maori desperately in need of a job. Your spend-up has no justification - that's why you couldn't get it through Cabinet without resorting to blackmail.
I challenge you as Minister of Maori Affairs to go to Maori people in the rural communities of Northland and the East Cape who so desperately want for opportunity and explain to them how a CD or media training is going to help them get a job and look after their kids.
Your petulant and selfish demand is exactly the style of politics that has brought MMP into disrepute. There is no principle or party philosophy behind your $15 million cash grab. You couldn't get Cabinet to agree to your spend-up and now like a spoilt school child you are holding 2.3 million taxpayers to ransom: "give me "my" money - or you won't get to keep yours".
You should agree to the tax cuts because sound economic management is good for all New Zealanders. The best thing for Maori is a strong and growing economy - that's why government spending must be brought under control with working people and businesses getting to keep more of what they earn. That's the recipe for jobs and growth.
Rodney Hide MP
ACT FINANCE SPOKESMAN