Turia: Let's scrap the dole
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia wants the dole to be scrapped and replaced with government-subsidised jobs.
Mrs Turia suggested the idea at the party's economic policy launch in the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere yesterday, but it was absent from a breakdown of policies released yesterday and is not supported by either main party.
TV3 News reported last night that when Mrs Turia was asked if she wanted to see the dole scrapped, she said: "Yes. Absolutely. I'm opposed to the dole. I have to be very frank with you - I don't think it is healthy for the spirit of our people, to be getting money for doing nothing."
Mrs Turia said she wanted the next government to return to subsidised "make-work" schemes where people get a community job and are paid a government wage.
"What we need is the government to make work, to get our people back into a strong work ethic."
Mrs Turia said the Maori Party also wanted to set up a community development bank to provide loans to Maori and their small businesses.
A development bank would be funded from money already being channelled to Maori through the Economic Development Ministry.
She said there were small scale examples of community banks in Wanganui where she is MP.
Small businesses owned by Maori found it difficult to access loans to set up and expand.
The Government had proposed setting up a Maori development bank earlier this year, but the legislation failed because the Maori Party and others objected to it being set up from money held by the Maori Trustee.
The Maori Party also called for a reduction in business tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent for all businesses with a net income of under $100,000 year.
Other economic policy includes zero tax on the first $25,000 of earnings and removing GST from food.
The party provided no costings for its policy proposals.