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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Monday, March 07, 2011

Turia backs wealth tax for rebuild

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says clawing back some of the tax cuts from the top tax bracket will go a long way to pay to rebuild Christchurch.

The Maori Party voted for the tax cuts as part of its support agreement with the government, but Mrs Taria says the $15 billion price tage on earthquake recovery means it's time to reconsider.

She says everyone needs to dig deep, but it's only fair that more of the burden should fall on the 300,000 people earning over $70,000 a year.

“Now if Australia can ask the whole country to give $800 each to help them out of the situation they are in, and they’re a lot wealthier than we are, then I think asking those on the top incomes in this country to contribute a lot more than $800 each, then we should do it,” Mrs Turia says.

She says there is no substance to ACT leader Rodney Hide's criticism that an earthquake tax would take money out of the economy, because the money would be spent rebuilding.


A mobile barbeque operating in Christchurch's eastern suburbs has been under seige by hungry people.

Flaxmere identity Henare O'Keefe took his tunutunu barbeque south to offer people hot food in area where power is still not back on.

Broadcaster Derek Fox says the response has been eye-opening, with people in the grip of real hunger.

He says Henare O'Keefe's volunteer effort has exposed flaws in the official relief effort, which has put resources into recovering bodies from the central business district rather than making sure people in the shattered eastern suburbs have what they need to survive.


Botany's new National Party MP says he doesn't know his Maori side.

25 year old Jamie Lee Ross comfortably won the by-election called after Pansy Wong quit amid questions about her use of parliamentary travel privileges.

He says he's keen to take up an offer from former Alliance MP Willie Jackson to take him to the East Coast to get to know his Ngati Porou side.

“Unfortunately I was one of those young boys who grew up without a father. He decided he didn’t want anything to do with me. That was his choice. So I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to learn a lot about my Maori side. But it’s certainly something I do want to learn about, get in touch with more. I’ll be better off learning about my whakapapa and history and heritage and that is something I’d certainly like to do,” Mr Ross says.

While as an Auckland City councilor he opposed separate Maori representation, he is pleased Maori can get elected in general seats.


An Aranui woman says her biggest shock since the earthquake is finding out she's jobless.

Debbie Tamaiparea-Graham says she found out she'd lost her hotel job when her husband looked on the company's Facebook page.

She says it's a big setback after finally getting their power and water back on ... but it's an all too common story.

“Everyone I have spoken to has lost their jobs. We’ve all still got to pay our rent and our bills. At the moment I’m going through the shock of losing my job and telling you to find another job but everyone is out there looking for another job nut you can’t there's nothing there,” Mrs Tamaiparea-Graham says.

Her next step is to go to Australia to stay with relatives.


Associate health minister Tariana Turia says health services need to respond to the fact more than half of Maori over 50 are living in poverty.

The figure comes from the 2011 Health of Older Maori Chart Book - Tatau Kura Tangata.

Mrs Turia says while many Maori don't like the focus on negative statistics, planners need to know where services are needed.

“Fifty three percent of our elderly are living in the more poverty-stricken areas and on the lowest incomes. Now that’s a worry because it means that our people are eking out an existence so we don’t wonder that their health is not as good as it should be,” Mrs Turia says.


Aspiring politicians who want to ride Hone Harawira’s coat tails into Parliament might find Labour list MP Kelvin Davis in the way.

Mr Harawira is sounding out support for a new political movement now he is no longer a member of the Maori Party.

Some commentators believe he could pick up enough list votes to bring another MP into the House if he retains his Taitokerau electorate.

But Mr Davis says that is by no means certain, as ordinary voters tire of Mr Harawira’s protest movement rhetoric.

“It’s not about looking back and protesting about what happened in the past. It’s about looking forward to the future and we can have any number of flags flying from any number of flagpoles but it’s not going to make Maori successful. That’s the plan I have is to make Maori successful through education,” he says.

Mr Davis says Hone Harawira has a small core or militant backers who will support him through thick and thin.


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