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Taxpayer-funded orgs backing political propaganda

You might have seen this full page ad from Mind the Gap in the Herald on Monday.

Gap ad

Mind the Gap is a left-wing lobby group that argues pay gaps are caused by discrimination, and that the Government should intervene by requiring employers to publicly disclose differences in salaries they pay to different ethnic and gender groups.

Mind the Gap's expensive ad-buy is clearly an example of political campaigning. And that is fine so long as taxpayers aren't forking out for it.

However, Mind the Gap lists its "supporting partners" on the ad, and some quick research reveals that at least 13 of these organisations are funded by taxes, rates, or other sources of public money.

Partners

In a statement to the Union on Twitter, Mind the Gap says the support of these organisations is merely a case of "solidarity", without financial contributions. But of course, even without direct financial contributions, participating in a political campaign absorbs taxpayer-funded labour and resources.

We say that non-government organisations should choose between accepting public funding and undertaking political lobbying.

Here is the (likely incomplete) list of publicly-funded organisations backing Mind the Gap's campaign:

Organisation Funded by
Socialink Tauranga City Council, NZ Lottery
Good Shepherd NZ Ministry of Social Development, AUT
Global Women NZ ACC, Auckland Council, AUT, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Ministry for Women, NZ Police, NZ Trade and Enterprise, The Treasury
GenderTick The Trusts
Diversity Works Internal Affairs, Public Service Commission, Te Puni Kokiri
Pasefika Proud Ministry of Social Development
The Period Place Auckland Council + Local Boards, Dunedin City Council, NZ Lottery
Pride Pledge Kainga Ora, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Open Polytechnic
Monte Cecilia Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Oranga Tamariki
Rural Women NZ Ministry for Primary Industries, Massey University
Women in Sport Sport NZ, Auckland Unlimited, New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade
YWCA AUT
E Tipu E Rea Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Women, Ministry of Health

Perhaps the government and council entities backing these groups were unaware of their participation in Mind the Gap's campaign. Now that we've raised the red flag, the agencies ought to be seriously reconsidering their support of these groups, lest they find themselves falling afoul of the Public Service Standards of Integrity and Conduct which require political neutrality.

At the very least, government and council entities need to implement a "no-surprises" clause in their support for external groups: if a publicly-supported entity wants to add its financial support or branding to a political campaign, it should have to flag this with its funders first.


Showing 1 reaction

  • Louis Houlbrooke
    published this page in News 2022-07-05 14:41:51 +1200

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