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Taxpayer Update: NZTA latest money grab 📸🚙 | Wasteful rebrand #9842 🔥📺 | Bye, Grant; hi, Barbara 👋


Remembering Efeso Collins 🕊️

Like those across the political spectrum, we were very saddened to learn of the untimely passing of former Auckland Labour Councillor and Green Party MP, Efeso Collins. One of Efeso's strengths was that he tended to reject the polarised politics of the modern age. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time. You can read our statement of tribute here.

NZTA to clobber Kiwis with millions more road fines 📸🚙

Over the next decade, the New Zealand Transport Agency is planning to expand its speed and traffic camera fleet from around 150 to potentially 800meaning that millions more New Zealanders could be whacked with speeding tickets each and every year.

NZTA has said this is all in the name of safety. Last year they even made a big song and dance about their 'safety cameras' only be designed for upholding 'safety' protocol and not for enforcement or revenue-gathering purposes.

But we know a rat when we see one – and from the looks of it, this appears to be nothing more than another cheap attempt to exploit the average Kiwi for some extra dosh.

No one is denying that safety on our roads is of critical importance, but this proposal is poorly targeted. The vast majority of New Zealanders aren't reckless drivers – and we've all seen speed traps appearing in dangerous lucrative areas.

And these new cameras NZTA are looking to get monitor much more than speed and safety. The Agency's own Privacy Impact Assessment reveals that 'advanced features' such as heat monitoring will be used to enforce compliance of transit lanes – a traffic issue that has no safety impact at all and will solely be used to generate revenue!

After seeing Auckland Transport make fortune on ticketing Aucklanders, it appears NZTA is trying to get in on the action.

Tell Simeon to ensure his transport agency is focused at improving roads, not raising revenue 🗣️

We all know from the state of our highway network that NZTA isn't doing its job. It seems unable to complete projects on time, on budget, or even at all. Now officials are, yet again, distracted from their core purpose, and attempting to grab even more funds from the average Kiwi.

If, like us, you can see that this proposal from NZTA will unfairly target New Zealand motorists while doing little to improve safety, take a minute to send Mr Brown an email to tell him to get his agency back in its lane.

--> Click here to send Simeon Brown an email <--

You read it here first: Robertson Remov[ed] 🚚💸

As revealed by your humble Taxpayers' Union back in November, Grant Robertson’s scored a cushy $620,000 new gig as Vice Chancellor of Otago Uni.

In 2021, Grant Robertson’s place in New Zealand political history was cemented when we awarded him the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in government waste at our Jonesies Waste Awards. It was no mean feat to achieve such recognition, but sadly the joke is on taxpayers who will be left to pick up the pieces and pay his bills for generations to come.

It is with some sense of irony that while Mr Robertson left the new Government with a mountain of debt, he too is inheriting control of a university riddled with its own disfunction and growing debt pile.

LEAKED: a former senior Treasury official on Robertson's legacy 😬

Your humble Taxpayers' Union was accidentally CC'd into an excellent appraisal by a former senior Treasury official we ought not name. 

Robertson’s departure is a reminder of how much worse what seems like everything has become under his watch – monetary policy mess ($12 billion lost and inflation to boot) including pathetic RBNZ appointments, neutering the Productivity Commission, banning gas and oil exploration, making us more dependent on Australian coal, fiscal balance in “structural deficit”, spending up by about 6% of GDP since 2017, net core Crown debt up by about 22% of GDP, working age welfare dependency up alarmingly, school truancy and under-achievement, hospitals an organisational mess, nurses and others fleeing to Australia, GP shortages developing, tertiary vocational training a shambles, 6 years on RMA a wasted effort, Treasury looking anaemic. Perhaps $30 billion to buy overseas carbon credits to 2030, while major countries will not keep to Paris Agreement net zero targets.  No material difference to climate change, so at a major cost of NZers material wellbeing. Add to that the destablising’ co-governance that increasingly really meant a co-sovereignty ‘partnership’. And this guy apparently wanted a wealth tax.

To what extent was he a restraining influence? I have no idea.

But he and Labour MPs will now jeer at this government for failing to fix these problems fast.

While we seldom agreed with Mr Robertson, we hope does a better job turning around Otago University’s dire financial situation than he did with New Zealand's economy. He certainly has experience of running an organisation with deficits!

Out with the old, in with the new: Labour's New Finance Spokesperson, Barbara Edmonds 🌹

We are delighted that Labour Party has appointed someone who actually knows a thing or two about tax to be its new finance spokesperson.

Barbara Edmonds, is a former specialist tax lawyer, and is known by some to be a big believer in the broad base, low rate orthodoxy that underpins New Zealand’s tax system – something we wholeheartedly support.

Insider sources have told us that Ms Edmonds was furious with Labour’s GST fruit and vege "policy boondoggle" (credit: Grant Robertson) going into last year's election as she was acutely aware of the cost, complexity and ineffectiveness of creating carve-outs and exemptions in sales taxes. 

Unfortunately, back then Edmonds lost the argument and was forced to publicly defend the unworkable policy. But her new more senior position should enable her to inject more intellectual rigour and practicality into Labour’s tax policy to help create a true battle of ideas. We live in hope. 

And to give Barbara her due, she has also proved willing to engage with those who might disagree with her – a valuable trait for any political leader. When first entering Parliament, she joined us on our podcast, Taxpayer Talkwhere we were impressed by much of what she was saying. In particular, she said that her first interest in tax was learning about how overtaxation was one of the contributing factors to the fall of the Roman Empire – Barbara is always welcome to join theTaxpayers’ Union!

We will be writing to Ms Edmonds offering to work with her in her new role on areas where we might agree and to help promote tax policy that boosts New Zealand's productivity and prosperity and leaves taxpayers with more money in their pockets.

Golden Goodbye: Three Waters Chief Executives receive $710,000 payout package 👋👋👋

Last year, even when Three Waters looked dead in the water, the Department of Internal Affairs' agenda-pushing bureaucrats were beavering away behind the scenes to make the water reforms even harder to unwind.

This week saw the latest example of these underhand tactics exposed. It was revealed that two Chief Executives hired to implement the reforms, Jon Lamonte and Colin Crampton, were signed up to contracts entitling them $710,000 in golden goodbyes when Three Waters was eventually canned after just 10 months in the job.

There's no excuse for redundancy packages worth nearly 11 times the median wage to be handed out at any time. But given these CEOs were on salaries 4.5 times as much as Members of Parliament, and with there being widespread public opposition to the reforms, this costly package was all the more unreasonable.

Sadly, as the new Government navigates through with the backwash of the previous Government's reforms, we can only imagine the redundancy rort is about to get a lot bigger.

And as has been evident from the knots that officials tried to tie around Three Waters, we know the policy fight isn’t over yet either. We'll be working hard this year to make sure the new Government's alternative isn't just Three Waters 2.0.

Taxpayers' Union Investigation: Local Government Commission wastes a hundred grand on new branding 🔥📺

Documents obtained by the Taxpayers' Union reveal that the Local Government Commission (LGC) has wasted $99,000 on a new logo and website at a time when the Government has been asking departments to cut down on their spending.

It seems to have become common practice in recent years for government agencies to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on rebrands and logo changes – even when they can't afford them. But the agencies that undertake these massive rebrands are also doing so against official guidance from the Public Service Commission making it clear that departments should be doing the opposite:

"New agencies, or existing agencies looking to re-brand, should adopt a logo mark that is in keeping with the NZ Govt Identity logo mark. Agencies are also encouraged to consider adopting other elements of the Identity in their branding review or development, helping to create a common Public Service visual identity"

From what we can tell, the Local Government Commission website change happened just weeks after the general election, which also happened to coincide with the Government's strict instruction for agencies to cut their spending. This is a kick in the teeth to the millions of hard-working taxpayers that have been forced to fund this rubbish.

Prior to its makeover, the Local Government Commission was actually one of the few government departments that complied with the guidance!

The new Government has talked extensively about the importance of having a less wasteful public sector. It's about time these costly rebrands are banned for good, so agencies can get their priorities straight and stop funnelling millions into their image.

Taxpayer Talk – MPs in Depth: Dan Bidois

And this week on Taxpayer Talk, we present another episode from our MPs in Depth series where Jordan sits down with newly re-elected MP Dan Bidois.

In this episode, Dan talks about his chaotic life before politics where he went from being a school dropout, to a butcher, to fighting cancer – all before deciding to study economics!

Listen to the episode on our website | Apple | Spotify | Google Podcasts | iHeart Radio

That's it for this week.

Yours aye,


Callum Signature
Callum Purves
Head of Campaigns

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union 


Media mentions: 

Confusion, deception then panic - documents reveal QLDC financial mismanagement

Stuff By the numbers: Rising rates adds more pain

Newstalk ZB Afternoon Edition – Monday, 19 February: NZTA Speed Cameras (03:05)

The Spinoff Yup, say voters, just like we told you

Waikato Times Take your pick on rate rises, Aucklanders

Waatea News Tributes flow for Fa’anana Efeso Collins, a good man

Newsroom ‘Go now, in peace’ – Efeso Collins

RNZ Midweek Mediawatch – A clash of polls (08:50)

interest.co.nz The Coalition Government has missed its own honeymoon but has held onto its Election Day support

The Post The candidates who scored the biggest campaign donations

NZ Herald Audrey Young: Top 10 maiden speeches by 2023′s new MPs

Bowalley Road Democracy Denied.

Showing 1 reaction

  • Callum Purves
    published this page in News 2024-02-23 14:13:54 +1300

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