"Hone Harawira has broken ranks with the Maori Party to speak out against a GST rise in today's Budget as an attack on the poor.
"...the GST decision had also put it in an impossible position with its supporters who would expect the party to challenge any tax hitting the poorest New Zealanders hardest."
The Maori Party is bound by its coalition agreement to support the Budget. Mr Harawira made it clear that a decision on opposing the GST rise had been taken out of his hands by the caucus so he would still vote to support the Budget.
But he said he could not do so without speaking out – comments that could put him on a collision course with the party. He was having difficulty supporting a tax increase that made things easier for the wealthy "at the expense of those in need".
"GST hits poor people the hardest because nearly all of their money is spent on things that you pay GST on – food, petrol, electricity – so any increase is going to really hurt them."
It was an issue that affected not just Maori New Zealanders but "poor people generally".Yes
So the maori party will vote for the government. It is a sad day when pragmatisim beats conviction.