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Waititi bill to take GST off food heads for parliamentary hearing

Maioha Panapa

Te Pāti Māori co-leader thrilled his bill chosen in the ‘biscuit tin’ ballot.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi says he is excited his amendment bill to remove GST from food has been drawn from the biscuit tin ‘lotto draw for laws’ ballot.

His bill aims to remove GST from all foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

“In a Newshub pool, over 70% of people supported the move before the election.

“It is clear the people want GST to be removed from their grocery bills.”

Waititi says the bill being drawn is the start of the “radical shake-up” the taxation system in this country needs.

“Food is a right and a necessity that should never be taxed, especially during a cost of living crisis that a government is failing to address.”

Just because the bill has been drawn from the Deka biscuit tin does not mean it will pass as law. However, it will mean it will be introduced to the House, and go through its first reading and vote.

In mid July 2023, Te Pāti Māori proposed the Goods and Services Amendment Bill to remove GST tax off food as a part of its tax policy.

Balance for unfair tax settings

The party’s website states the bill is a part of its solution to balance unfair tax settings between working class people and the wealthy.

The bill was introduced during the party’s campaign for the general election last year.

It’s not the first time a bill from the party has been drawn whilst in Parliament.

In May 2023 co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer fought for her Ban Seabed Mining bill after its first reading and vote in Parliament.

The bill was drawn through the biscuit tin ballot system, which has been used since 1992. It replaced the first-in-first-served system in which bills were set in the order they were received.

The ballot is drawn whenever the first reading of a member’s bill leaves a vacancy on the ‘Order Paper.

New Maōri Pāti MP Tākuta Ferris says the bill being drawn is hope for the many families struggling in poverty.

“Kei te mōhio, ko ō tātou whanaunga e noho nei i roto i te pōharatanga, i roto i ngā whakawhiwhinga pūtea iti nei o te wā kei te ngau kino te utu toiora ki runga ki a rātou.

“Nō reira ko te tangotanga mai o te piri a Rawiri mō te tango i te GST i te kai, horapa nei i te kai, ehara i te mea mā ētahi kai engari ka waihō ētahi atu, te katoa o te kai, he āwhina nui ki ō tātou whanaunga,” te kī a Tākuta Ferris.

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