Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Hone 'Heke' tax key to Mana party launch

Hone Harawira. Photo / APN
Hone Harawira. Photo / APN

A financial transactions tax - nicknamed the Hone Heke tax - is among the policies being considered by Hone Harawira's political party to be launched in Auckland today.

The line-up of speakers at the launch of the party - to be called Mana - suggests its policies will be targeted at low-paid workers and Maori throughout the country, at the expense of the wealthy.

In a message to a unionist this week, Mr Harawira said Mana would be "anti-neoliberal, against monopoly capitalism, and against privatisation of the people's assets".

"The party and I will be pro-worker."

The strategy on taxes would be targeted at wealth such as capital gains taxes, death duties and asset taxes.

"We will want to abolish GST with something like a financial transaction tax - we'd like to call it the Hone Heke tax.

"The rich need to pay their fair share," Mr Harawira's message said.

"Labour's GST cosmetic elimination off fresh veges and fruit says everything about their current state of mind - timid and uninspiring."

Hone Heke was the northern chief who first signed the Treaty of Waitangi but then opposed it, cutting down the Waitangi flagpole on the basis that it didn't deliver economic payoffs to Maori. Mr Harawira gave other indications on policy directions, saying the KiwiSaver scheme was a privatisation of pensions "so increasing the money we give to these financial institutions to do what they want needs more thought".

"We should nationalise monopolies and duopolies.

"Have no doubt that we will be a staunch party that puts people - Maori and non-Maori - before the needs of the already rich."

Council of Trade Unions Maori vice-president Syd Keepa is speaking at the launch and is thought to have joined the team setting it up, as has Unite founder Matt McCarten. Former Green MPs Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos will also speak.

Others include social justice campaigner John Minto, Canon Hone Kaa, lawyer Annette Sykes, artist Selwyn Muru and Ngati Kahu leader Dr Margaret Mutu.

Mr Harawira, the MP for Te Tai Tokerau, left the Maori Party last month after a series of spats climaxing in his opposition to the foreshore and seabed reform, now passed into law.

He is expected to announce today whether he will force a byelection in his electorate by resigning to seek a new mandate.

- NZ Herald

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