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In the Media

December 23, 2013

Cost of Royal visit less than full time head of state

Taxpayers' Union positive about royal visit Newstalk ZB 21/12/2014

A body set up to critique the way taxpayers' money is spent is feeling positive about next year's royal visit.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - William and Kate - have confirmed a trip to New Zealand in April.
It's not yet clear if Prince George will travel with them.
Taxpayers' Union spokesman Jordan Williams says while the cost of the trip isn't yet may not be as bad as some people expect.
He says New Zealand is only picking up the tab for the few days the royals are here, while other countries have to carry the cost of a royal family or a president all year.

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December 20, 2013

Taxpayers' Union Uncovers Massive IT Screw Up Within DOC

The Taxpayers’ Union revealed a massive cost overrun of a mismanaged IT project jointly commissioned by DoC and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).  Two independent reports on the project are damning of DoC.  They blame mismanagement and ineffective governance for the project’s failure. It appears that LINZ has walked away from the project and has left DoC to pick up the pieces.  A selection of the media coverage is below.

Another govt IT project failure - this time at DoC New Zealand Herald - 18/12/2013

Yet another Government IT project has gone off the rails with a new Department of Conservation land management system costing taxpayers millions in budget overruns while still failing to deliver as promised.

And as in the case of the Novopay debacle, officials have blamed an Australian IT company.

The National Property and Land Information System (NaPALIS) initiated two years ago was joint programme intended to replace the Department of Conservation's (DoC) and Land Information NZ's (Linz) existing systems, with Tasmanian company ICS winning the contract.

However documents obtained under the Official Information Act by activist group the Taxypayers Union reveal the $5.6 million project was completed several months late in September last year, required an extra $588,967 to complete and even then failed to function as required by DoC.

DoC has now allocated about $2 million of additional funding to make the programme fully operational.

Personality clashes causing budget blowout Newstalk ZB - 18/12/2013 

Trouble between LINZ and DOC 

Personality clashes between government departments could be to blame for a failing and over budget information system.

Documents released to the Taxpayers' Union show efforts for the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand to work together to create a database of the country's land have been dodgy at best.

Union spokesperson Jordan Williams says the project is now $2 million over budget, and still not fully operational.

He says two independent reports blame ineffective governance, and even officials from the the two departments not getting along.

System now top priority

An expensive and overdue information system is now the top priority for Department of Conservation bosses to see fixed.

The National Property and Land Information System was due to be finished early last year, but still isn't fully operational, and needs an injection of $2 million for bug fixes.

Director-General Lou Sanson says he doesn't like waste, so he's determined to get it sorted.

He says taxpayers can be assured he'll wring maximum value out of the system to make up for the delays.

DoC admits failings over IT blow-out Radio New Zealand - 18/12/2013 

Click here to listen to Checkpoint interview with Lou Sanson, Director General, DOC

Click here to listen to Checkpoint interview with Jordan Williams, Taxpayers' Union

Cost overruns with DOC computer system Otago Daily Times - 18/12/2013

Taxpayers' Union 'uncover massive IT screw up' Yahoo! New Zealand - 18/12/2013

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December 20, 2013

Paul Henry on the Taxpayers' Union's government waste 'top 3 for 2013'

Jordan Williams joined Paul Henry on Thursday's RadioLIVE Drive. Click here for audio on demand RadioLIVE 19/12/2013

December 16, 2013

December 14, 2013

Len Brown "still has questions to answer"

Brown thinks Aucklanders just want Council to get on with work Newstalk ZB - 14/12/2013

He may have been officially cleared, but the Taxpayers' Union believes Len Brown still has questions to answer.
An Ernst and Young review has revealed the Auckland Mayor failed to declare tens of thousands of dollars worth of complimentary hotel rooms and upgrades.
It also shows ten percent of texts and calls on a cellphone the ratepayers funded, were to his mistress.
Taxpayers Union spokesman Jordan Williams doesn't buy the idea the report puts the Mayor in the clear.
"There's still plenty of questions to ask about his misuse of public resources.
"We still have plenty of questions around this trip to China, and particularly why council officials originally mislead us about the existence of the trip."
Len Brown is hoping Aucklanders will consider his conduct, including extensive personal use of a council cellphone, in context.
The Mayor thinks he's done nothing wrong, and says the rules aren't clear.
"There are differences of opinion, interpretation, and upgrades issue around gifting, the phone utilization, some of the stuff around my car.
"There hasn't been a real clarity around that when there needs to be, and learnings."
Len Brown says an overhaul of the issues will make the rules more clear.

Report doesn't address secret trip to China - Taxpayers' Union Yahoo! New Zealand - 13/12/2013

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December 12, 2013

Duncan Garner and Taxpayers' Union on Hone Harawira's trip to SA and Wellington City Council's living wage decision

The Executive Director of the Taxpayers' Union was interviewed by Duncan Garner on RadioLIVE's breakfast show. Click here for audio on demand. RadioLIVE - 12/12/2013

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December 06, 2013

City staff spent $220,000 at America's Cup

Anger at ATEED spending on America's Cup NewstalkZB - 6/12/2013

The New Zealand Taxpayers Union is lashing out at council-controlled Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) for spending more than $200,000 on sending staff and media to the America's Cup in San Francisco.
They say sending a few key staff is justified, but 11 staff and seven members of the media is more of a junket than a work trip.
Executive Director Jordan Williams says its would have contributed more to San Francisco's economic development than Auckland's.
He says they are filing an Official Information Request on the nature of the spending.
"We want to know precisely what they were doing over there. Were they sitting on boats watching the America's Cup, or were they actually working?
"That's the key question for ratepayers."


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