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GST rise `attack on the poor' - Harawira

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Hone Harawira
Hone Harawira

Wellington, May 20 NZPA - Outspoken Maori Party MP Hone Harawira has slammed a rise in GST as an attack on the poor, despite the party being bound by its coalition agreement to support it as part of today's budget.

The party denied him permission to cross the floor to vote against the budget, which is widely tipped to see the goods and service tax rise from 12.5 percent to 15 percent.

Late last night Mr Harawira said he had been forced to break his silence on the GST rise because he did not want to be "squeezed" into something he did not believe in.

He had difficulty supporting a tax increase that made things easier for the wealthy "at the expense of those in need", he said.

"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."

Mr Harawira Told the New Zealand Herald his party refused him permission to cross the floor because the agreement with National required all five Maori Party MPs to vote for the Government on confidence and supply matters.

He agreed to support the budget after his colleagues urged him to help secure the party's own policy wins such as Whanau Ora, the Foreshore and Seabed Act repeal and the tobacco inquiry.

"Those are things that would never have happened under National alone or under Labour alone so I understand completely where my colleagues are coming from."

He said his party had fought against the GST increase behind closed doors and that it was all "National's decision".

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