Saturday, February 13, 2010

Taxing Times Ahead?

John Key, leader of what?In Parliament this week, Prime Minister John Key outlined a possible future rise in Goods and Services Tax (GST) from the current 12.5% to 15%: only flagged at this stage, but unlikely he'd float the idea only to pull it later.
Of course this puts pressure on an already tense National/Maori coalition, strained by the maybe-sometime repeal of the controversial Foreshore and Seabed Act and last year's racist outbursts by Maori MP Hone Harawira. 'The Party For The Indigenous' will have to sell to its constituents why it'll ultimately end up voting for a rise in GST, despite opposing it on grounds that it will hurt Maori the most.
Initially it insisted it would fight any rise to the end...but would not vote against it. Once it realised its voice was useless without the threat of an opposing vote, it U-turned. Of course, without intent behind that threat, it's worthless: the Maori Party would have to pull out of the coalition to oppose the measure, and there are no signs of that.
Then Labour found a 2008 election campaign video, showing Key promising no GST rise: National needed that like a hole in the head!
So over the next few months, brace for a few political fireworks. Labour will try to split the Maori Party from its constituents. National will try to appease its partner, while not pushing the race relations pendulum out too far and alienating its white-collar base. The Maori Party will work to retain its blue-collar grassroots support while serving them a poisoned apple. And naturally Hone Harawira will make some noises, while bolstering up his own radical support.
The wheels may not have fallen off National-Maori Party relations yet – but it may not be long before the wagon takes on a decided lean.
(many thanx to Tracy Watkins, Dominion Post)

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