Taxpayers’ Union

Steve Joyce pulls wool over Taxpayers Union’s eyes

via Newstalk ZB

Steven Joyce’s commitment to Mum and Dad taxpayers and more efficient public services in his speech yesterday to the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand is being welcomed by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

John Bishop, Chairman of the Taxpayers’ Union, says:

“Mr Joyce is right to encourage public servants to keep Mums and Dads at the top of their minds when making decisions that use their tax dollars. An efficient public service means efficient spending, which of course must consider where the money being spent comes from. Read more »

Would you donate to the Clinton Foundation?

You’ll recall that the Taxpayers’ Union revealed the millions of taxpayers’ dollars NZ Aid is shuffling into an off-shoot of the Hillary Clinton Foundation.

They’ve been out over the weekend fundraising asking people to part with their own cash and join the Government in donating to the Clinton Foundation.  It didn’t go well…   Read more »

NZ Herald cave to MFAT spin doctors and shouty SJBs

Earlier this morning we asked some questions. This post contains some answers.

Yesterday morning the Taxpayers’ Union outed the full amounts our Government is giving to the corrupt Hilary Clinton Foundation via its offshoot the “Clinton Health Access Initiative” – with $7.7 million having been forked out to date and $5.5 million set aside for the next two years.  Rather than taking on the question about why the NZ Aid budget is so large, it said:

“Given the lessons of the Saudi Sheep saga, we are staggered that MFAT appear to still think handing out money for diplomatic purposes is sensible. Even worse, this money comes from the NZ Aid budget which should be going to programes which are the most effective at helping the world’s poor – not sidetracked into political objectives.”

 “It is possible that officials have reason to believe that the Clinton Foundation’s work does provide good value for money, although given the controversy in the US that seems unlikely. The refusal to front up and explain leaves a stench of buying political access.”

“Given New Zealand’s faux pas in co-sponsoring the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel on Christmas Eve, and the heavy criticism of New Zealand which has resulted, the continued support of the Clinton Foundation risks even more damage to New Zealand’s ability to wield any influence in the US.”

Immediately the Israel apologetics and those who adore Hilary Clinton so much they brush aside the conflicts of interests, foreign government donations and other skulduggery from when Clinton was Secretary of State (in New Zealand there is quite some overlap between the two groups) and attacked the Taxpayers’ Union on twitter.

Read more »

Taxpayers’ Union smashes up health troughers with basic facts

We have been calling out health troughers for years.

Just recently they have been pushing very hard in favour of Sugar Taxes.

The problem with their campaigns, apart from being government funded, is that without exception they are simply politically motivated crusades with almost no science or facts to back them up.

The troughers also don’t like to be criticised and are trying to have their critics silenced. But it has taken the Taxpayers’ Union to expose their campaigns for the political charade that they are:

In recent weeks the calls from academics and campaigners urging the government to implement taxes on sugar and fats have been growing louder. Last week for example, Auckland University academics were promoting ‘the preliminary results’ (that’s code for not peer reviewed) of a study which they said proves the effectiveness of Mexico’s tax on sugar sweetened beverages. Numerous media outlets repeated the claim that Mexico’s tax has resulted in a 12 per cent reduction in sugary drink consumption. But is that the truth?

One of our researchers, Joshua Riddiford, has been looking into the issue of food taxes. This morning we launched his report examining the effectiveness of sugar taxes in curbing obesity.

The report contains Nielsen sales data, which is being publicly released for the first time in New Zealand. The data shows that Mexican sales of sugar sweetened beverages have not moved, despite the introduction of a sugar tax. Auckland University’s public health activists are choosing to use a study which relies on interview data to support their campaign. The real sales data, obtained by your humble Taxpayers’ Union, does not lie.

Fizzed out: Why a sugar tax won’t curb obesity sets the record straight, and examines the evidence on whether introducing new taxes on food and drinks are likely to affect obesity rates. Read more »

Taxpayers’ Union points out troughers flaws in their promotion of Sugar Taxes

The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning the media and their use of proven troughers to promote their agenda of introducing a sugar tax.

The Taxpayers’ Union is urging caution on continued claims that Mexico’s sugar tax resulted in decreased sales of sugary drinks. Today’s Herald on Sunday published an opinion piece by Niki Bezzant, which cites a study by Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health suggesting that sales dropped by between six and twelve percent as a result of the Mexican sugar tax. This echoes claims made last week by a group of Auckland University public health academics, including Dr Gerhard Sundborn and Boyd Swinburn, campaigning for the introduction of a sugar tax.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“Repetition of the same sound bite doesn’t make it true. The study was funded by a pro-sugar tax campaign group and is based on surveying Mexican consumers on their expressed preferences. The real sales data shows that despite what people tell researchers, the Mexican sugar tax caused a drop of consumption of only 0.2% which as since bounced back.”

“Academics are supposed to promote informed public debate. Instead, there appears to be a group at Auckland University running an activist political campaign based on misinformation and bias. The study they are pointing to isn’t published or even peer reviewed. It was launched as part of a campaign and relies on what people say they do, not what they actually do. These campaigners are choosing to ignore the sales data which is clear. Volumes are now back to the same as before the tax, with people paying more while the Government is raking in the cash.”   Read more »

Rodney Hide explains why the Taxpayers’ Union is so important

Rodney Hide discusses why organisations like the taxpayers’ Union and presumably the Auckland ratepayers’ Alliance are so important.

Recently they have been highlighting waste in government departments; that while they are small in the overall scheme of things these small amounts add up.

But that spending is peanuts compared to the true waste of government. Try explaining to a journalist the deadweight cost of tax. That’s the loss of all the wealth-creating trades nixed because of tax.

Taxes hike the cost of everything. That means fewer people employed, less bought and sold, and a multitude of investment projects that never get off the ground. In the absence of government all those trades would fly. The cost is in the billions. The waste is horrific. And it’s never seen, nor remarked upon.

Think of the businesses and projects that never happen because of red tape. That’s the waste of government.

The kids who can’t read, write and do arithmetic. That’s because the state runs the schools. Think of the lost human potential because of that.

Look at the families, broken and busted, neighbourhoods, indeed entire communities, left without hope and opportunity because the government thinks it a good idea to pay mums to have children and dads to do nothing.

The resulting hopelessness and despair, and their tragic consequences, are the true waste of government.   Read more »

Apparently wasting taxpayer money is less important now that the media attention has died down

The Taxpayers’ Union has been jilted by Steve Joyce’s MBIE now that the fuss has died down.

The head of the government department that spent $140,474 on a TV screen, $67,339 on a sign and $5,480 on an arts consultant for its new Wellington offices, has retracted an offer made to the Taxpayers’ Union to meet about the Ministry’s spending. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“After we expressed public concerns last week about the Ministry’s spending, MBIE officials told us that the CEO, David Smol, would be willing to meet and discuss the wasteful spending within the Ministry. Now the media heat has died down, they refuse to talk.”

“We wanted to have a serious meeting away from the media to constructively engage on how the Ministry is spending taxpayers’ money. Instead of keeping their word, the Ministry is once again running from accountability.” Read more »

Here piggy, piggy, piggy – MBIE wins waste award from Taxpayers’ Union

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The Taxpayers’ Union have awarded MBIE one of their Government Waste Certificate of Achievement awards for their $140k tv screen.

Porky, the Taxpayers’ Union government waste mascot, this morning visited the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to award a Government Waste Certificate of Achievement to David Smol, the Ministry’s Chief Executive, for the Ministry’s extraordinary lavish office fit out. After some waiting, Mr Smol failed to front, but an MBIE official accepted the award on his behalf.   Read more »

Surely this is a kickback?

The Taxpayers’ Union have revealed a rather troubling payment to a listed company.

The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning why Upper Hutt City Council is trumpeting a $36,000 ‘economic development’ grant to BurgerFuel, a listed company, to establish a BurgerFuel in Upper Hutt. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“This is possibly the most ridiculous example of corporate welfare we’ve seen yet. You work hard, you pay your rates, and Upper Hutt City spends it on a burger joint.” Read more »

John Key’s government addicted to corporate welfare

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A government grant for a spa pool on Rotorua’s lakefront is being described as corporate welfare of the worst kind.

Prime Minister John Key announced the $350,000 grant on Wednesday, saying it would help meet the cost of the World Spa complex.

The money is coming from the tourism growth fund.

Spending watchdog the Taxpayers’ Union says the grant will be given to Pukeroa Lakefront Holdings, a commercial arm of Ngati Whakaue.

“This is taxpayer money going to build a spa in Rotorua,” said executive director Jordan Williams.

“That’s not innovation, it’s corporate welfare of the worst kind.”

Free money.  The government has  a little $8m slush fund that companies in Tourism can apply to have their share of.   Here are the list of project that have succeeded in getting no-strings-attached free taxpayers’ money to boost their bottom lines:   Read more »