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It's the corporate welfare which is the problem 

An article published last week by Fairfax has left an incorrect impression on the reason why the Taxpayers' Union objects to the Government signing an R&D cooperation agreement with Israel. 

The Union wishes to clarify that it is the nature of the agreement – that Callaghan Innovation's corporate welfare R&D grants will favour companies working with a particular country – not that the agreement is with a particular country.

Our staff just issued a media release where I clarify:

"When asked by the journalist who called, I specifically said that as an organisation the country is irrelevant and tied my comments back to our long-held position against corporate welfare."

"The journalist then asked whether some taxpayers would have an objection to it being Israel, and I agreed but said that personally, and as an organisation, we didn't."

I'm very annoyed that the caption below my picture on the Stuff website suggests that I objected to the agreement because of being "a deal with Israel whose military is in violent conflict with Palestine". Those words are Fairfax's, not mine. Similarly, where the article states: "Williams said many taxpayers would have an issue with New Zealand signing an agreement with a Middle Eastern country whose military continued to engage in violent conflict" - again not my words.


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