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The Grey Power Vote should not be for sale

27 August 2005

Maori Party Co-Leader Pita Sharples statement on the Grey Power Vote.

The Grey Power Vote should not be for sale.

Political parties offering monetary incentives for votes from our older New Zealand generations is not right, argues Pita Sharples, Co-Leader of the Maori Party. “The National Party have offered additional funding for services for the aged, Labour has offered to eliminate driving tests for over 80’s as well as Rate rebates, the Greens have offered more spending, United Future has offered the Grey Power tax deductions, and the king hit of the all is NZ First offering them a golden age card plus a pension increase and other benefits.

What have we come to as a Nation, when we have to ‘buy’ our votes, particularly from a group who have a genuine right to a quality of life equal to everyone else. We should not be offering monetary incentives, we should be providing these people with a genuine means of improving their quality of life. We should be offering our old people a safer community.

We should be creating roles in our families and in our community groups befitting the lifetime contribution that our old people have made to NZ’s development. We should be offering them good race relations, we should be offering them personal love and care and what about offering them a non-violent society, a drug free community and a good place to bring up their grandchildren. The Maori Party says that we must get back to basic values if we are to go forward as a Nation, and stop measuring everything in monetary terms.”

Dr. Sharples also notes that this theme of valuing monetary gain over all else is continued within the governments plans for the foreshore and seabed. The government has recently released plans for the valuation of the foreshore and seabed. “This to me is confirmation that foreshore legislation was all about money in government eyes. I am sure that the sale of our iron sands to China is part of this exercise. It is ironic, that Maori, who were initially branded as the villains in this debarcle, are the very ones protesting against the violating of our precious taonga.

Maori have always believed that foreshore and seabed was a living taonga, a source of livelihood, not just for Maori but for all New Zealanders. It is precious not for its dollar value, rather for its life giving properties, its sacred beauty and its significance to the people of the land. To see how the government has placed a dollar value on this precious resource is to highlight our different conceptions of land, and our differing intentions.”

ENDS

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