Since the Taxpayers’ Union launched a number of left wing critics have claimed that we are just a front for the National Party, and are biased in its favour. The critics are wrong and their politically motivated criticisms are just nonsense.
We have always maintained that our stand is against waste and inefficiency and against bad policy wherever we find it, and that has always included the current government.
As Chairman I ensure that our Board and staff know that we are our own vehicle, with our own purposes, and don’t do other people’s bidding. Of course, we work with other groups (for example we partnered with Age Concern, Consumer NZ and the Financial Services Council for the Fair Tax for Savers campaign) where our objectives align.
An analysis of our media releases shows that we have criticised the National led government more often than any other party or entity.
Of the 192 media releases made by the Taxpayers’ Union since we started operations in October 2013, 121 media statements have been about central government of which 67 have criticised some aspect of the National Government’s policy and just 12 statements have supported a policy stance.
The figures for Labour are 9 statements against and one in favour; for the Greens it is four against and two in favour.
We backed Winston Peters on the Interislander issue, and criticised a NZF candidate for double dipping and commended another NZF candidate, Ron Mark, for promising not to do so. We have issued only three statements about the Mana Party all critical of some aspect of their policy.
63 statements have been about local government. Most of these, 60 out of the 63 were about specific councils; 31 were about the Auckland Council alone.
Three were to do with our local government report which detailed the financial position of all councils, and a second report setting out 101 ways councils could save money.
We have criticised the current government on nine separate occasions for its continued use of taxpayers’ money in grants and handouts to so called growth companies. We called these ‘corporate welfare’ and in turn we have been attacked by Minister Stephen Joyce for doing so.
And we went after government Minister Todd McLay for getting a government grant to back a tourism project in his own electorate. The “stench of pork barrel politics in Rotorua” was our headline.
We have upset Business New Zealand as well as the Council of Trade Unions for revealing government funding to a joint venture those two bodies had for health and safety training. The ACC’s audit of the training labelled it a waste of time, and the government withdrew the funding.
We have also campaigned against the government’s decision to make passports valid for only five years, and we claim some credit in forcing a rethink which has put ten year passports back on the agenda.
These figures speak louder than the cries of our critics. Their claims of our being a National Party front organisation is empty rhetoric without any factual substance.
We have been genuine in our efforts to hold the government to account and to promote better policy and more effective spending. We will continue to do that regardless of the outcome of the election.
After the flip is our raw data.