Mana Party – Māori focused matters
Despite its relative newness, the Mana Party has developed twelve broad policy platforms, all of which take into account specific Māori interests. These policies, and salient features, are highlighted in the table that follows.
|Mana Party||Notes – salient aspects of Māori-focused policy proposals|
|Livelihoods and Economic Justice policies||Abolish GST, and replace with a transaction tax, to increase Government tax revenue; introduce a requirement for all SoE and Māori corporate entities to prioritise the employment of New Zealanders, or face financial penalties; increase the minimum wage|
|Treaty Settlement policy (Draft)||Increasing resourcing to the Waitangi Tribunal and empower the Tribunal to make binding decisions; establish an independent Treaty of Waitangi Commissioner; increase the value of treaty settlements by removing the ‘full and final’ aspect of existing settlements|
|Welfare and housing policies||Provide a $1,000 one-off grant to all earning less than $30,000 before 25 December 2011; raise welfare payment levels, build 20,000 new state houses in two years|
|Te Reo Rangatira – Te Reo Māori policy||Establish an independent Te Reo Māori Authority, elected by Māori to administer all government funding in this sector; target is for all New Zealanders to speak Māori by 2040|
|Education policy||Free early childhood education; reduce costs of tertiary study; fund Māori providers (wānanga) as Treaty partners|
|Health and Disability Issues policies||Reduce access to tobacco; ban the advertising of alcohol; community veto on ‘pokie’ machines; free medical care for under 16s and senior citizens; free family planning and contraceptive advice|
|Environment and Energy policy||Iwi and hapū to have decision-making powers in local government environmental policy (and be resourced for this), ban deep-sea oil drilling; stop the partial sale of State-owned Enterprises|
A number of these policies are similar to other parties that are positioned on the political left (e.g. increase the minimum wage, Māori representation at local government, increases in support for those in receipt of welfare, etc). The unique stand-out feature, however, is that the Mana Party proposes that these initiatives be funded through a new transaction taxation system, with GST being abolished altogether.
In our assessment, overall the Mana Party proposals suffer from the same lack of resource considerations as the Green Party. That is, no costings and little implementation information is provided, which shifts ideas away from robust policy analysis, and towards the realm of political platitudes. For example, the Party’s most radical suggestion, a new transaction tax, has no research or evidence-base published with it. This means it is entirely unclear how this might function to replace the $15 billion per annum the Government receives in GST payments. A second example is that there are no details on how existing ‘full and final’ treaty settlements might be amended.
Mana Party – economic and social policies of interest
Within specific Māori economic areas, we are unconvinced that the Mana Party proposal to impose financial penalties on Māori corporate entities (iwi-owned companies) that do not first employ New Zealanders is neither required, fair nor useful, in improving productivity. In our view, placing more restraints on Māori entities than others will actually disadvantage those Māori interests.
In the social policy realm, we note the Mana Party is alone in prompting the replacement of The Māori Language Commission with an independent, Māori-elected Te Reo Authority. In our assessment, policy changes in this area are long overdue. As discussed more fully previously (pānui 29 April 2011), there is little justification for current arrangements, where Māori have such limited say in this sector. The current Māori Language Commission is a Crown Entity, and Māori/iwi have no formal role in the appointment process, nor in directing its business planning or language services. Accordingly, in our assessment, the Mana Party is ahead of other parties in giving this matter greater consideration. (Although the Mana Party target of 100% of New Zealanders speaking Māori within three decades does read as overly ambitious).
From week ending 11 November 2011