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'We gotta stop making sure that the rich live comfortably' - Te Pāti Māori co-leader

Te Pati Māori at the campaign launch.
Te Pāti Māori said its tax policy would be released soon and it would focus on redistributing wealth. Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

Te Pāti Māori says the Prime Minister is not in a position to call any shots until the next election, and the party will push for a capital gains tax.

The comments came as the party officially launched its election campaign at a Matariki Māori New Year festival on Thursday evening in Henderson, West Auckland.

With food stalls and concerts from Annie Crummer, Tiki Taane and Katchafire, hundreds of people gathered at Catherine Street under heavy rain to see the campaign launch.

Te Pati Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi said the party's tax policy, which would be released soon, would have a major focus on redistributing wealth.

"We gotta stop making sure that the rich live comfortably. It's about time they pay their taxes here in this country to alleviate the pain that many of our people are living in.

"Like I said, 100,00 people are homeless in New Zealand, 60,000 of those are Māori."

He said the party supported a capital gains tax.

"If we are 50 percent of the social waiting list, we want 50 percent of the stock.

"We want a capital gains tax on houses. If we had capital gains taxes back in 2018, this country would have made $200 billion," Waititi said.

Te Pati Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi speaking at Te Pati Māori campaign launch for 2023.
Te Pati Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi speaking at its campaign launch for 2023. Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

Earlier this week, Chris Hipkins ruled out introducing a wealth tax or capital gains tax if Labour was re-elected in October.

The Green Party said the decision hurt their willingness to work with Labour.

Te Pati Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said Chris Hipkins wasn't able to dictate anything until the next election.

"I think the prime minister is not in a position to be able to determine and dictate what will and won't happen on 15 October.

"I think we need to stop playing for the next three months and start looking at what kind of nation we want to build."

To have any possibility of forming a government, according to recent polling, Labour would likely need the Greens and the Māori Party.

Ngarewa-Packer said she would work with any other party that committed to a more welcoming country to indigenous people.

Waititi said the party would work with anybody that was willing to create a Te Tiriti-centric Aotearoa.

"What does a Te Tiriti-centric Aotearoa look like? It looks like how they will treat you in a marae, we will welcome you, we will feed you, we will house you, we will love you."

"Unfortunately, Parliament hasn't done that."

Dancing in the middle of the crowd, he said Matariki was a period to be reflective and visionary, one of the reasons the launch of Te Pati Māori campaign was done that evening.

"It's a beautiful time for us to celebrate the success of our movement. A growing and resurging moving, and a movement that is empowering our people across all spaces.

It's lovely to be here just to acknowledge our people but also that we are in for the long haul, and we are pōwhiri, what's ahead of us coming in the next year," Waititi said.