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Loan sharks targeting Maori - Maori Party candidat

Loan sharks targeting Maori - Maori Party candidate

24 August 2005

Te Tai Tokerau Maori Party candidate Hone Harawira wants to get rid of "loan sharks" he says are forcing Maori into poverty.

Mr Harawira said finance companies were going to homes of Whangarei Maori and signing them up to high-interest loans.

"I want to put them all out of business. They serve no purpose but to act as parasites on poor people," Mr Harawira.

Whangarei's Salvation Army held a meeting yesterday to discuss high demand for food parcels - double the norm in June and also busier than usual last month.

Maori at the meeting said finance companies were a major cause of their poverty.

One woman said she had been visited at home by finance officers who offered her cash and to pay off her bad credit rating, so she could then borrow money from that company. She took up the offer.

The Maori Party's proposes people who earn under $25,000 should pay no tax to reduce poverty.

Now Mr Harawira wants measures to stop Maori relying on finance companies for money.

"Our people are in serious shit street at the moment and no Maori MP should feel happy if they're not doing something to wipe out poverty."

Mr Harawira criticised Labour and National for shying away from addressing poverty issues.

"Labour has abandoned Maori for the middle New Zealand vote," he said.

ENDS

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