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Championing Value For Money From Every Tax Dollar

Taxpayer Talk: What's really stopping houses from getting built?

Louis sits down with Kathryn Marshall of Williams Corporation, a residential property developer, to find out whether an extended bright line test and the removal of interest deductibility will lead to more affordable housing. Kathryn makes the case that the real solution is in tackling consenting processes at local councils.

You can subscribe to Taxpayer Talk via Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and all good podcast apps.

Taxpayer Talk: Climate Change Commission head Dr Rod Carr, with NZ Initiative's Matt Burgess

Jordan Williams gets 30 minutes with the Climate Change Commission's Chair, Dr Roderick Carr at their offices.  He is joined by Matt Burgess, the Senior Economist at the New Zealand Initiative think tank to put to Dr Carr many of the criticisms of the report.

You can subscribe to Taxpayer Talk via Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and all good podcast apps.

Taxpayer Talk: Ian Harrison on the Climate Change Commission

Jordan is joined by Ian Harrison, Principal at Tailrisk Economics for a discussion on the Climate Change Commission, the benefits of an ETS and why the commission is wrong about Electric Vehicles.

Read Ian's submission here:

You can subscribe to Taxpayer Talk via Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and all good podcast apps.


EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton City Council harvested submissions from school children

Hamilton City Council staff members have been visiting classrooms and harvesting submissions from children on the Council’s Māori partnership strategy, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union can reveal.

We have been contacted by a Hamilton ratepayer who was perplexed to discover the name of his 13-year-old daughter among the publicly-listed submitters for the Council’s ‘Pillars of Wellbeing’ strategy.

It turned out that the student and her classmates at Rototuna Junior High School were visited by a Council staff member who spoke to them about the proposed strategy for engaging with iwi, and then prompted the children to fill out forms which were subsequently processed as formal submissions.

The Council has confirmed these school visits to media previously, but until now it wasn’t clear that the Council’s goal is to harvest submissions from school children.

In fact, this propaganda campaign had a marked effect on total submissions. A Council meeting agenda reveals that 20% of submissions on the strategy came from children below the age of 16, and a further 7% from 16-19 year-olds. The vast majority of submissions supported all aspects of the Council’s strategy.


This is a local council rigging its own consultation process in the most cynical, abhorrent way imaginable.

Council officers visiting schools to get form submissions is, frankly, creepy. Children will happily fill out a form without a second thought if it means they can get out for lunch. It’s also a gross violation of parental rights. Parents were not asked for their consent, or given any opportunity to request the presentation of an alternative viewpoint to the one being pushed by the Council onto impressionable students. This was an explicit and direct campaign to bring politics into the classroom, that discredits not just the Council’s consultation methods, but its ethics.

Tomorrow, Hamilton City Council’s Hearings and Engagement Committee will be meeting to discuss the results of the consultation process. The Taxpayers’ Union will be watching closely to see which councillors condemn the consultation methods.

We need to stop the Climate Commission’s radical plan

Dear Supporter,

I’m writing with some urgency. At the end of next week, submissions close for the draft recommendations of the Climate Change Commission – recommendations that the Government has signalled it will simply adopt.

I'm not going to sugar coat this. The media haven't been doing their job and instead of critically reviewing what is the most radical reforms to our economy since the Douglas-Lange era, they're blindly cheering it along.

Here's the how the Climate Change Commission Chair Dr Rod Carr has put it:

The transformation that New Zealand will confront in the decade ahead… is going to be on a scale that will rival the transformation from our controlled and regulated economy in the 1970s through to the early 1990s. It will be on a scale of the demilitarisation after the second world war. It will be on a scale equal to getting ourselves out of the great depression of the late 1920s. And I would guess it might rival the sum of all those parts…

The Commissioner plans to up-end our economy with central planning, forcing costly regulations on New Zealanders in an attempt to change the way we live and the entire shape of the economy.

Here’s just a taste of what the Commission’s plan involves:

•  Ban imports of light petrol and diesel vehicles from 2032.
•  Cull dairy, sheep and beef numbers by 15% by 2030.
•  Reshape cities so that we walk 25% more, cycle 95% more, and take public transport 120% more by 2030.
•  Subsidise electric vehicles further.
•  Ban new coal boilers.
•  Ban all coal generation, regardless of security of supply.
•  Ban new natural gas connections.
•  Ban gas BBQs.
•  Require new and replacement heating systems to be electric or bioenergy, not gas.

These measures may seem unrealistic – but with the Government having publicly committed to implement whatever the Commission recommends, we need to blow the whistle now before it is too late.

And here's the thing: according to the Commission’s own analysis, this plan isn’t even necessary. New Zealand is already on track to meet its “net zero carbon” target using existing tools i.e. the existing Emissions Trading Scheme.

The waterbed effect

In fact, the proposed regulations will do nothing to reduce our overall emissions. This is because of the way the ETS works: emissions are already capped and paid for. This means that when the Government goes beyond the ETS and uses regulations to push down emissions in parts of the economy covered by cap and trade, it just frees up credits for people to increase emissions in other parts of the economy – it’s what climate economists call the “waterbed effect”.

Here's just one example: recently James Shaw announced the Ministry of Education will spend $50 million to replace or convert 90 coal boilers in schools. According to the government this will reduce emissions by 33,000 tonnes – that is reducing emissions at $1,515 per tonne. By comparison, the ETS can remove one tonne of emissions for $39, a nearly 40-fold performance gap!

And because coal is already in the ETS, the waterbed effect means replacing the school boilers will see emissions raise somewhere else. There is absolutely no gain for the climate.

If you listen to one thing this weekend, make sure it's this podcast

Oliver HartwichYesterday I sat down with New Zealand Initiative Executive Director Oliver Hartwich. A trigger warning: what you will hear will make you angry.

Dr Hartwich explains the dangerous folly of the Climate Change Commission’s plan – and how they’ve refused to show their working on how much it will cost New Zealand families. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Taxpayer Talk

We've got to raise the alarm, and we don't have long to do it

We’ve come to this issue late because it’s taken time to wrap our heads around the Commissioner’s 800 pages of draft recommendations. But we’ve now prepared a submission that, quite frankly, I think destroys the Commission’s arguments. If you’ve got some time over the weekend, I strongly encourage you to read our draft submission here.

Regardless, we need your help now to ensure the consultation process isn’t swamped by special interest groups like Greenpeace and Generation Zero, who never saw an expensive eco-regulation or tax they didn’t like.

>> Click here to use our template submission tool <<

It only takes 30 seconds.

Thank you for your support,


Jordan Williams
Executive Director
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union


No more elections for you – Mike’s Minute of Madness

Mike Hosking

In just one minute this morning, Broadcaster of National Importance Mike Hosking made a fundamental error in his comments urging local councils to “merge, merge, and merge some more”.

He completely dismissed the entire concept of local democracy. You know, that thing where you get to vote for the people who will be representing you on council and spending your rates. He says: “Democracy is a wonderful thing… but like most things you can have too much, and that’s our plight.” He hopes the unelected commissioners at Tauranga City Council, who immediately proposed a 12 percent rates hike, “show that expertise actually beats democracy.”

Slow down tiger. You may have the highest rated radio show in New Zealand but abolishing elections in favour of Government appointed officials changes the entire nature of our council system. This would take both the “local” and the “democracy” out of “local democracy”, and our country would be the poorer for it.

Are there underperforming councillors or representatives who are out of their depth? Absolutely, but we ratepayers can vote them out at the next election, or more quickly if the Government adopts the Taxpayers’ Union’s well-researched policy of local body recall elections. As it stands, the hard-working families of Tauranga have no say in how long Commissioner Anne Tolley will be in charge nor the ability to pass judgement on her sweeping (and expensive) changes.

Sure, there may be “hobbyists”, “do-gooders” and even the odd weirdo in our Council chambers, but they are our hobbyists, do-gooders and weirdos. We do not want the Minister of Local Government or even the host of Newstalk ZB appointing our councils because they think they can judge “expertise” over representation.

The Union’s focus is on holding elected councillors to account for their actions and helping them do better, not replacing them with Government stooges and bureaucrats. "Expertise actually beats democracy" should send chills down the spine of every New Zealander.

Mike, we hope you take a minute to read this and reflect on the true value of democracy.

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