New movement targets wasteful spending 3 News - 30/10/2013
A new political watchdog is vowing to expose "flagrant examples" of wasteful government spending.
The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, being launched today, describes itself as politically independent and asking people to "dob in" examples of government extravagance.
Kiwiblog's David Farrar, a board member, says the movement is modelled on the successful and effective United Kingdom Taxpayers' Alliance.
"It's an independent, grassroots campaign which receives approximately 600 mentions per month in United Kingdom media due to its relentless targeting of wasteful government expenditure," he said.
"The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance, launched last year, is already gaining traction."
Executive director Jordan Williams says there are thousands of organisations and special interest groups lobbying for taxpayer money.
"The Taxpayers' Union will ensure that at least one group is looking after hard-working Kiwis whose taxes pay for politicians' promises."
It lists its main aims as:
* identifying and exposing the most flagrant examples of government waste
* ending taxpayer-funded corporate and union welfare
* scrutinising government spending
* increasing transparency and accountability of government funding
* promoting legislation to strengthen the Official Information Act.
Tip-line to expose 'waste and extravagance' opens Dominion Post - 30/10/13
A new think-tank is to open a whistleblowers' tip-line for bureaucrats to expose "government waste and extravagance".
The Taxpayers Union starts today, loosely based on the UK's Taxpayers Alliance, as a "grassroots" campaign to lower taxes.
The group says it wants to "give Kiwi taxpayers a stronger voice in the corridors of power".
With its online hotline, it aims to encourage political and government insiders to reveal examples of government waste and extravagance. It vows to guarantee anonymity, but the Public Service Association has advised members to tread carefully.
Taxpayers Union chairman John Bishop said it wanted to promote sensible fiscal management. "Government, politicians and taxpayer-funded groups are on notice that we are looking to expose waste or rorts," he said.
The group says it is politically independent, though Right-wing blogger David Farrar is on its board and National-aligned lawyer Jordan Williams is its executive director.
Mr Williams said the union would "ensure that at least one group is looking after hard-working Kiwis whose taxes pay for politicians' promises."
The pressure group is also lobbying for a US-style "Armchair Auditors" Act, allowing for public scrutiny of government spending through an online database.
It will push for local referendums on rates rises and strengthening the Official Information Act.
State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie said his agency was "happy to engage with any community group that has a politically non-partisan mission to promote value for money".
Executive Director of the newly launched New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, talks to Larry Williams Newstalk ZB - 30/10/2013
New union wants to curb frivolous government spending Newstalk ZB - 30/10/2013
Marcus Lush interviews Jordan Williams about the launch of the Taxpayers' Union RadioLIVE - 30/10/2013