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Mana Leader Calls for a War on Poverty

From Hone Harawira State of the Nation Address
Delivered today at Kia Maia Marae in Mangere.

Mana Leader Calls for a War on Poverty

MANA leader Hone Harawira today called for “a war on poverty” an issue which he says is beyond politics.

In a speech regularly interrupted by spontaneous applause from an audience of between two and three hundred Mr Harawira said MANA takes the view that the most important issue of this election is poverty, and in particular child poverty.

He said poverty is the primary issue that defines the State of the Nation today.
“Poverty is at record levels right now - at exactly the same time that the rich are experiencing record levels of wealth; when the top 1% has more wealth than the bottom 50%; where the gap between the rich and the poor is worse than in most developed countries; where poverty has become the norm for much of the country; and where we have 270,000 children going hungry every day, suffering from bad health, and picking up diseases that we thought only existed in the third world.

“The poor need help - not excuses, not belated promises, but action - now - and we will work with anyone to address this issue.

“And we don’t care who claims they’ve said it first, we don’t care who says they’ve got the best policies and we don’t care who wants to be the lead speaker - this goes deeper than political posturing and the hope of securing a few votes here and there.

“We need to park our politics at the door, commit to listening to the experts like CPAG (Child Poverty Action Group), and we need to agree upon a course of action that delivers immediate and positive change for the children of the poor.

“We need a formal commitment to a plan to eradicate poverty and we need to work together on legislative change regardless of who the government might be.

“We need to commit to doing something now – not next month, not next year – but now, before poverty becomes normalised in our lives,” Mr Harawira said.

“Failure to act is simply not an option. We call on all those who profess a love for our country to join with us in a war on poverty before it’s too late,” Mr Harawira said.

“If ever the country needed a movement to redress the devastation caused by 25 years of free-market economics under both Labour and the current right-wing government of National, ACT and the Maori Party, then now is the time and MANA is the team.

“The country is crying out for a new direction, a direction away from the broken belief that the market will provide, and that capitalism will lift us from the quagmire of destitution, and the facts are simple – 25 years of prancing down the capitalist road has given us staggering levels of unemployment, third world diseases in communities of the poor, huge increases in the price of food, electricity and petrol, an ever more costly health system, and an education system designed to keep the poor from ever achieving success.”

Mr Harawira said MANA’s plan to improve the nation included:
Cost of living
1 Abolish GST to ease the financial pressure on those on low incomes
2 Get rid of pokies, loan sharks, and liquor outlets in poor communities
3 A free high quality education system because that is the best investment a country can make in it’s future
4 Free meals for children at schools because every child deserves the opportunity to learn and to start the day with a decent meal regardless of their circumstances
5 Provide jobs for everyone on the unemployment register - in schools, marae, hospitals, old peoples homes, kaumatua and kuia flats and community facilities - because a working family is a better family
6 Increase the minimum wage to $15 to put more money into the hands of workers and more money back into the economy
7 Make the first $27,000 tax-free to give people more money for the basics in life such as food, power, petrol and rent
8 Commit to building 20,000 new state houses to reduce overcrowding and health problems, and to provide the basis for thousands of apprenticeships and jobs in all of the building trades
9 Set state rentals at 25% of a family’s income
10 Free healthcare for all because paying to keep a nation healthy is cheaper than paying to fix a population suffering the many illnesses of poverty

“Our ideas aren’t rocket science, and we can pay for them with a simple savings and tax plan – saving money by giving no more tax cuts to the rich, no more tax breaks for big business, no more bailouts for failed finance companies, cancelling the construction of new prisons, no more subsidies for private schools, and no more public monies on millionaire yacht races – and a simple taxation plan based on the Hone Heke Tax, a real Capital Gains Tax, an Inheritance Tax, and a Progressive Income Tax.”


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