Māori Party wants capital gains tax, welcomes refugee announcement

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

The rising cost of living is foremost on the minds of many right now, as the price of food and petrol soar.

Earlier today, the Māori Party announced it wanted the government to cut the 15% Good and Services Tax (GST) from kai to help combat price surges.

On Te Ao Tapatahi today, Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa Packer said while the government's tax relief at the pump was welcomed, it was not enough.

"The average grocery bill for a whānau of four is $350. If we were to remove GST, that effectively is putting another $49.50, $50 in the pockets of whānau every week, that's two and a half grand per year. So this is about alleviating pain substantially.

"The other part of it, what we would do, is do what everyone's too scared of doing, which is to initiate a capital gains tax and tax the 190,000 ghost houses that we have sitting around Auckland alone.

"It is about shifting the pain and taxing the rich and alleviating those that are struggling."

Ngarewa Packer was asked her thoughts about National not having a Māori development portfolio in their party's top 25 MPs list, and what they should be doing for Māori.

"I haven't really looked across what National do for our people for a very long time," she said.

"To be honest I think there's too much work on the ground to be done, to be worrying about what any other party is doing other than those who are focussed immediately on the pains our whānau are having. At the moment, the only ones I see doing that is us [Māori Party]."

Immigration Minister Kris Fa'afoi has announced 4000 Ukrainian refugees will be offered a safe haven, triple the annual NZ refugee quota, as the invasion of Ukraine from Russia continues, and that's something Ngarewa-Packer supports.

"As tangata whenua, we manaaki. It doesn't matter where these tamariki, these mokopuna are, I would hope that somebody would reach out and help ours if we were in the same boat. We've got to come up with solutions to manaaki this atrocious situation going on in eastern Europe.

"I'm not savvy with the figures but what I do know is that, as a wahine, whaea and a kuia, is that we must look after mokopuna that are affected by war, through no fault of their own. The innocent are worse off in these situations, and that's where my heart goes to."