troughing

Seagulls are becoming extinct. Oh, and… global warming

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It is hard to feel much empathy for these picnic lunch stealin’ car poopin’ rats of the sky.  But apparently, they’re on the way out!

Seagull numbers in New Zealand are falling so quickly the birds now appear on threatened species lists, alongside the kiwi and the kakapo.

A Department of Conservation report on bird numbers has classified the black-billed gull “nationally critical”, the most serious category, usually reserved for our rarest birds, because of the rate of expected decline.

Numbers were predicted to drop by more than 70 per cent over the next 30 years.

There were an estimated 180,000 to 200,000 of the birds in 1977. There are now thought to be 60,000 to 70,000.

The red-billed gull, the mainstay of Kiwi beaches, is “nationally vulnerable”. Read more »

The Labour Party and the IRD have something in common: they don’t want to listen

amazing Pics2

What a joke:

Inland Revenue spent $48,000 on noise-cancelling headphones, at a cost of more than $400 each, because staff complained their redesigned office was too loud. The IRD admits that was a waste of taxpayer money.

They are top-of-the-line, noise-cancelling headphones designed for listening to music. Official documents show taxpayers forked out as much as $549 for each pair. The minister in charge isn’t happy.

“I’m not sure the spending of this amount of money on headphones is a good use of taxpayer money,” says Revenue Minister Todd McClay. “No, it’s not a good look.”

I’d love a good set.    Read more »

Taking big long sucks from the trough while he still can

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via Stuff

Meet National’s biggest little piggy.   A practiced and expert trougher with a healthy dose of entitlitis.

National list MP Paul Foster-Bell is defending a huge spike in his taxpayer-funded expenses as he campaigned for a seat selection.

Wellington-based Foster-Bell’s spending increased from $7459 between July and September last year to $14, 224 in the following October to December quarter. Between January and March, he claimed $12,732. He has claimed almost $35,000 in travel expenses in just over a year.

Foster-Bell sought selection in Whangarei but lost to Dr Shane Reti. But Foster-Bell says he was not using public cash for political campaigning, and all his spending is within the rules. “I am adamant that I am not just squeaky clean but 110 per cent squeaky clean,” he insisted. Read more »

Minstry of Health staff too lazy to walk, book cabs to run them around the corner

The Ministry of Health is full of busybodies who tell us all to stop smoking, stop drinking sugary beverages and wail on about obesity and the need to exercise more.

As is usual these days when there is a bloody great trough to wallow around in those who sanctimoniously tell us how to live our lives are busily doing exactly the opposite.

The Taxpayer’s Union has busted them though…it seems the staff in the Ministry of Health are simply too lazy to walk around the corner…and take cabs instead which you and I pay for.

A few months ago a Ministry of Health official contacted us regarding the use of taxi charge cards within the Ministry, and suggested we look at the number of ‘micro-trips’ taken by managers, often between the Ministry’s Wellington offices and Parliament.

Details of the Ministry’s taxi charges show its Wellington staff are making more than 1,000 taxi trips a year costing less than $10.

In the 2012/2013 financial year, Ministry staff based in Wellington charged taxpayers for 8,645 taxi trips with 1,076 of those for journeys costing less than $10.

It is sadly ironic that while the Ministry of Health spends taxpayer money to promote active living, officials are getting taxis a few hundred metres down the road.

A taxi trip for the sake of a five minute walk is simply not justifiable when it’s someone else’s money. The documents show that these short trips make up more than ten percent of all taxi charges by Wellington based staff.

Taxpayers will not be impressed that Wellington health bureaucrats are the in habit of getting them to pay for micro-trips when it is probably faster to walk.

Read more »

More apartheid money for our increasingly unequal society

Labour bangs on about inequality.

And it is true, the government continues to encourage widening of the gaps between the haves and the have nots. It’s just that the inequality is in areas you never knew.

If you have Maori heritage you get showered with cash and if not you get what everyone else gets….three fifths of five eighths of stuff all.

Associate Minister of Housing Tariana Turia today announced the establishment of a National Māori Housing Unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) to co-ordinate strategic Māori housing policy across government.

The Māori Housing Unit will also support the implementation of He Whare Ahuru He Oranga Tangata – The Māori Housing Strategy which was announced recently. This strategy sets out six directions for improvement in Māori housing over the next 10 years.

“The establishment of the Māori Housing Unit is another step in the Government’s plan to improve housing for Māori, who more than other New Zealanders are affected by overcrowding, substandard housing and low levels of home ownership,” says Minister Turia.

The Māori Housing Unit will in turn be supported by a Māori Housing Reference Group made up of Māori business and housing practitioner experts.

Brown troughers are the best at it…troughing that is. If there was a troughing Olympics Maori would win hands down…followed closely by farmers…and health academics in third place.

And even better from their perspective absolutely no one can complain about it because if you do you are a white oppressor racist pig.

But wait there is more cash that needs laundering through the brown wash machine. Read more »

101 ways for councils to save ratepayers money

While most lobby groups just grumble and moan, the Taxpayers’ Union has gone over the head of Local Government New Zealand and put together a report on how the local government sector can save ratepayer money. It’s based largely on the suggestions of the nation’s mayors and highlights efforts by some councils.

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The Taxpayers’ Union has today published a new report by Jono Brown that suggest ways local councils can save money and reduce the rates burden on New Zealanders. Rate Saver Report: 101 Ways to Save Money in Local Government is a guide for local authorities on how they can cut waste, save money, reduce bureaucracy and ultimately lower rates. The report adopts many suggestions made by the country’s mayors, and is based on similar reports published in the United Kingdom.

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Ray Wallace, Mayor of Lower Hutt, says in a foreword to the report:

“I urge local government people to take these suggestions as a challenge. If you do not like them, come up with some better ones.”

Read more »

Sail for the Dole “Good investment” says Barker

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Is Team New Zealand a sport or a business?   If it is a business, why do we give them money, instead of offering a loan?

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker says perceptions that millions of dollars of Government money spent on the 2017 America’s Cup campaign is a poor investment is “completely wrong”.

Barker made the comments on Campbell Live [last night], defending where the $5 million the team received in Government funding last October has been spent. Read more »

“Sail for the Dole” scheme running out of money

As reported late yesterday, Team New Zealand are at risk of “going under” because they have run out of  money.

One News reported

Team New Zealand has made a desperate plea to the Government for more money to stop it from going under.

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton says they’re only funded until the end of the month and more money is needed to ensure the syndicate’s survival.

“We’ve approached the government for funding. The government said to us go away and line up your money and see how you go,” he said.

Sounds good to me.  Team New Zealand is a private concern.  Why does the taxpayer need to prop it up?

Dana Johannsen adds

The clock is ticking for Team New Zealand. Without an immediate cash injection the syndicate are, in the words of boss Grant Dalton, “gone by the end of the month”.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and so the syndicate today invited the media to their Halsey St base in a thinly veiled attempt to make one last plea to the New Zealand tax-payer to keep the doors of the syndicate open. Read more »

Steven Joyce will to throw more tax dollars at rich kids

You win some, you lose some.  When it comes to the America’s Cup, we certainly have a proud history of punching above our weight.  And, various governments of the day have provided funding in the hope that a win would produce exposure and GDP growth for New Zealand as the defence would be sailed in this country.

But with Oracle’s slanted new rules putting that prospect even further beyond our reach, should New Zealand tax payers enter the America’s Cup lottery again?

Steven Joyce thinks so, as long as Team New Zealand can find sponsors to do the same

A decision on whether New Zealand will make another challenge for the historic yachting trophy needs to be made in the next month or so, and by then funding will need to be in place, Mr Joyce said yesterday.

He was “happy to go and talk to my colleagues” about funding, he told TV One’sQ+A programme, but money would have to come from private sponsors as well.

If Team NZ decide they want to go ahead with a challenge, “then they need to get in touch with all their sponsors, including us [the Government], so not just us, and say, ‘Actually, we need a bit more money before we can find out where the venue finally is’, and then the sponsors, all of them, and not just the taxpayer, have to say, ‘Right, this is what we’re prepared to do’,” Mr Joyce said.

Over the weekend it has been mooted that New Zealand should start its own tradition.  A much fairer regatta, based on rules that don’t change every time, and don’t automatically favour the defender.   Read more »

Whaleoil’s sportsperson of the Week: Lydia Ko

Well now.  We’ve given poor Lydia a hard time for leaning on the tax payer for more money even though she’s won over $600,000 since she turned pro.

Of course, it turned out that that was mostly  High Performance Sport New Zealand and Golf NZ on her behalf, but even so…

Kiwi golfing sensation Lydia Ko will not receive any more government funding after coming to an agreement with New Zealand Golf.

The news comes after it was reported NZ Golf’s application for high-performance sport funding had been accepted and would be revealed by the Crown on Monday.

Mystery had been surrounding the impending agreement between High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) and NZ Golf after it was reported Ko, who the golfing body used to justify its request for $208,000 in taxpayer funding, had distanced herself from the situation.

NZ Golf applied for the money to fund Ko’s coaching, physiotherapy and mental skills training, travel and accommodation for her and her mother.

However, they released a statement today which said NZ Golf and the world No 3 had made the decision not to award her any more funding together.

She doesn’t want it, she doesn’t need it, and NZ Golf were hell bent on giving it to her.  I smell one of those “we need to give this to you otherwise the government will reduce our budget next year” sort of situations about it – but I admit I’m speculating here. Read more »