11 Sep 2014

Mana takes aim at booze and pokies

4:28 pm on 11 September 2014

The Mana Movement leader took to the streets of South Auckland today to announce the party's plan to crack down on the availability of alcohol, pokie machines and high interest loans in New Zealand's poorest communities.

Hone Harawira speaking about the "predators on poverty".

Hone Harawira speaking to the media in Otahuhu, Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Hone Harawira says Mana would close down off-licence liquor stores for a few months and let communities decide where and when they could operate. It would do the same with pokie machines in pubs and clubs.

On a street corner in Otahahu today, Mr Harawira told supporters and passers-by that alcohol, gambling and loan sharks are sucking the life blood out of low income communities.

To make the point, Mana candidate and co-vice president John Minto tipped a cask of vodka and raspberry down a drain, making the point that it was selling for $1 a drink - less than bottled water.

Mr Harawira said you only have to look around the streets of South Auckland to see these communities are being targetted.

"The ability of liquor companies and loan sharks to take desperately needed money away from those families is an outrage and somebody's got to do something to say, this has got to stop".

John Minto speaking about the "predators on poverty", and dumping alcohol the party says is cheap and targets young people.

Mana Party co-vice president John Minto dumping alcohol the party says is cheap and targets young people. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

John Minto pointed out three high interest finance companies in the immediate vicinity including one which offered an daily interest rate of 1%, so an annual rate of 365%.

"You don't find those loan shark shops in middle or upper income communities, they are right across South Auckland because families have to borrow money to pay for their everyday expenses like grocery bills and electricity bills," he said.

This is what people on the street had to say:

"It's really bad around South Auckland, it's ugly and it's sad because they're targetting the poor."

"Yeah, no they should just get rid of them in general eh, because look at the generation these days, once they get the benefit or any money, straight to the liquor, straight to the drugs, not thinking of their families."

"Pokies I don't agree with because I work behind a bar, it's like ugly seeing people like withdraw money, withdraw money, it all goes on that, but liquor, it's not even that bad."

Mana would also impose a 20 percent cap on interest loan sharks can charge their customers and provide low interest loans through Kiwibank.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs