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In The Media

This page highlights the best of media coverage of our campaigns to expose government waste and hold Wellington accountable.

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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

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."

 

State sector CEO pay

Pay top state bosses even more: report - DominionPost 30/11/2013

Jordan Williams, executive director of the Taxpayers' Union, said the report acknowledged the "tenuous" connection between performance and pay in the public sector, but overlooked difference with the private sector.

"Traditionally public sector employees have expected less pay in exchange for having better job security and it's disappointing that the report doesn't acknowledge that," he said.

Organisations in both the public and private sectors were now in a race to pay senior staff the most.

"Instead of asking 'how much do we need to pay to get this person', the question seems to be 'what's everyone else paying, let's go just above that average', and we have a race skywards."

Taxpayers' Union on MP's pay rise

AUDIO: Politicians "don't deserve" payrise RadioLIVE - 22/11/2013

Politicians' pay rises and more on way DominionPost - 22/11/2013

Jordan Williams, executive director of the Taxpayers' Union, said MPs were getting a "Christmas bonus" at a time when the Government was borrowing millions of dollars a day to cover its spending.

He said Errington's comments about the gap to executive pay were "deeply concerning" and seemed to overlook the nature of ministerial roles.

"By pegging MPs' remuneration to the private sector, you're effectively saying they're in a job. Well, for MPs, it's not a job, you're not even a bureaucrat.

"It is public service and the Remuneration Authority seems to have forgotten that," he said.

MPs don't deserve pay rise - Taxpayers' Union Yahoo News - 22/11/2013

Community service key to MPs' happiness Waikato Times - 22/11/2013

Len Brown's Hong Kong trip confirmed

Len Brown's Hong Kong trip confirmed New Zealand Herald - 12/11/2013

The Taxpayers' Union was also upset about the release of details about Mr Brown's trip to Hong Kong.

Union executive director Jordan Williams said it appeared from LGOIMA requests to the council on the matter that council officers "deliberately misled'' about the existence of the trip to avoid scrutiny.

"In addition, Auckland Council staff have apparently been instructed not to speak about the particular trip and to refer all inquiries to the mayor's office,'' he said.

Politicians in the gun over taxpayer funded subsidies

ONE News (click the picture for video on demand)

Calls for MPs to declare property 'perk' One News - 11/11/2013

MPs' property loophole 'stings taxpayers' New Zealand Herald - 11/11/2013

The newly formed Taxpayers' Union, set up to "give Kiwi taxpayers a strong voice in the corridors of power", said it was shocked that the MPs were told to remove the relevant properties from their respective declaration of pecuniary interests.

Executive director Jordan Williams said the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests, which was Dame Margaret Bazley at the time, should ensure the public is fully informed.

"We are shocked that she has advised Ministers to withhold information, contrary to the purpose of the register.

"Today's revelations show that the MPs' Register of Pecuniary Interests is unfit for purpose and needs to be amended. These entitlements are stinging taxpayers in the pocket. There is no excuse for not ensuring that there is full transparency."

 


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