Media Enquiries: 04 2820302 (24hr)

Lower Taxes, Less Waste,
More Transparency

Championing Value For Money From Every Tax Dollar

Film Commission's Oscars jaunt costs taxpayers $58,000

Two New Zealand Film Commission officials spent $58,188 on a 10-day excursion to Los Angeles for the Oscars, reveals the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union.

After two years cooped up by COVID travel restrictions, the Film Commission's Chief Executive David Strong and Head of International Attractions Philippa Mossman made up for lost time, jetting to Los Angeles for the Oscars and a Netflix afterparty, and hosting fully-catered, alcohol-included dinners and drinking functions.  

The two officials burned through $21,000 in flights (business class for the Chief Executive) and accommodation, $10,350 for gifts of carved Māori cloak pins, and $1,743 in Uber trips.

The big-ticket event was a cocktail function at the New Zealand Consulate-General residence, where the officials served around 100 Hollywood figures and bureaucrats $5,152 of wine and $8,648 in food and catering. Premiere Valet Services were engaged for the evening at a cost of $3,400, and the Sauv-soaked guests were sent home with custom-printed goodie bags containing Whittaker's chocolate.

At a separate drinks event for film industry figures, $1,223 was spent on spirits, beer, wine, and bar snacks, again charged to the New Zealand taxpayer.

On top of the near-daily wining and dining events, Mr Strong and Ms Mossman were given an additional $115 each per day for food and other incidental expenses.

The full information response given to the Taxpayers' Union can be read here.

Actual receipts charged to the taxpayer by the two officials (receipt figures are in US dollars).

Working at the Film Commission must be one of the cushiest jobs in New Zealand's public sector. You're paid big bucks to wine and dine Hollywood bigwigs before giving them billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Taxpayer Talk: The Port of Auckland: a costly political football that hasn't scored success

 

In 2005, the Port of Auckland was delisted from the NZX and was taken over by what is now Auckland Council. Since then, the port has underperformed, become inefficient, and lagged behind other ports such as the Port of Tauranga. Jordan sits down with Greg Smith from Devon Funds to discuss how a public ownership model of Auckland's port has decimated its performance, value and status – costing Auckland ratepayers dearly. 

Subscribe to Taxpayer Talk podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsiHeart Radio and wherever good podcasts are sold.

Taxpayer Update: Media funding backfires | IRD goes bonkers | Corporate bludgers

Dear Supporter,

If you're a business owner this update is more important than usual: we're blowing the whistle on backroom changes to IRD's rules that will result in enormous tax bills for small and medium-size business owners. We've also been busy on multiple campaign fronts, from Three Waters to wealth taxes, and we've had huge win on the Rotorua Bill. Broadcaster Peter Williams has also joined our Board.

But first...

Revealed: Taxpayer funding for media backfires

This week we released the results of a new scientific poll confirming what we have long suspected: New Zealanders don't trust Government-funded media outlets to hold the Government to account.

Poll graph

Payments from the likes of the $55 million "Public Interest Journalism" Fund present a clear conflict of interest to media outlets like Stuff and the NZ Herald, who now have millions of dollars at stake in electing a government that protects their funding.

Whenever we challenge media bosses on this they always insist that their company is immune from editorial influence. But they can no longer deny that the decision to accept funding has eroded readers' trust.

One day after the poll's publication, the media outlets failed an obvious test: not one of the outlets to have received PIJF funding has covered the results of the poll.

The poll has however been covered by The Platform  a new outlet with a policy of not accepting taxpayer money. Graham Adams's article explains how funding recipients are pressured into skewing their coverage of Treaty/co-governance issues.

For the record, we are tracking all payments from the Public Interest Journalism Fund on our website. Click here to find out who got taxpayer money.

We're calling on media outlets to salvage their credibility by repaying taxpayer funding, and declining any future payments.

Click here to sign the petition calling for the media to Pay Back the $55 Million.

Changes to IRD rules will see an enormous new tax burden on business owners

When the Government announced its new 39% income tax bracket, we warned that high earners would simply shift income into companies and trusts.

David Parker eventually cottoned on to this problem and asked Inland Revenue to investigate ways to "crack down". Now Inland Revenue has been quietly consulting on an alarming set of proposals that are – frankly – bonkers.

  • Inland Revenue has proposed whacking most small business owners with a tax on retained earnings (i.e. profits reinvested in a company) if they sell shares. Those earnings have already been taxed at the company tax rate of 28%, but Inland Revenue has suggested an extra tax upon the sale of the business to make up the difference between 28% and 39%. This means that for any non-listed company that, say, takes on a new business partner (or sells to the next generation) that proportion of retained earnings will be immediately taxed at the marginal rates for the previous owner, all in the one income year!

  • Next, and even worse, Inland Revenues proposes severely limiting which businesses will be eligible for the 28% company tax rate. A business owner who provides more than 50% of his or her company's services would now be denied access to the 28% company tax rate, even if they have dozens of clients.

To add salt to the wound, big publicly-listed companies will be exempt from these tax hikes. As our tax advisors put it, "Inland Revenue is aiming for the kings but shooting the peasants".

The full details of the complex proposals are actually even worse than I have space to describe here  for many business owners it will result in more tax payable than if there was a full capital gains tax.  You can read our formal submission on the proposals here, with analysis from one of New Zealand's leading tax advisory firms.

Inland Revenue is not taking further submissions, but we would still encourage business owners to add their voice by emailing [email protected]. The good news is we understand that having read our submission and those of other experts identifying similar problems, officials are now tearing their hair out over the mess they made of the recommendations. Our sources within IRD tell us that officials know the only opportunity the Government has to ram these changes through is in this year's omnibus tax bill expected before Parliament in the next few months. Even the mandarins in Wellington know this is an election year stink bomb.

Remember Ardern's wealth tax promise?

Despite earlier promises, Jacinda Ardern is now refusing to rule out the introduction of a wealth tax if she's re-elected.

Our team put this ad together which is now running across social media and Youtube to remind New Zealanders of Jacinda Ardern's 2020 promise to never introduce a wealth tax while she's Prime Minister:

Wealth tax adClick here to watch.

Wealth taxes are notoriously difficult to implement fairly or simply. Someone who owns a house in Auckland may look wealthy on paper while still struggling to pay weekly bills.

Fundamentally, a wealth tax is a tax on savings and investment – it punishes New Zealanders who have been productive, made prudent financial decisions, and who have already paid more than their share of taxes.

Under pressure in Parliament this week, Ardern attempted a tougher line, saying "I stand by my ruling out the wealth tax policy that was put to me in 2020". The problem is, the wealth tax put to her in 2020 was the Green Party's policy. She is intentionally leaving herself wriggle room for Labour to introduce its own wealth tax.

We've relaunched our Three Waters television ads

Thank you to everyone who chipped in to our Stop Three Waters campaign fund in the last week.

With your support, we've been able to secure a number of prime time spots for our Three Waters television ad. Here's what we've booked so far:

Ad slots

We're pushing this campaign hard because we know that the more New Zealanders learn about Three Waters, the less they like about it. By the time official consultation opens, New Zealanders will be primed to swamp the select committee with submissions against the scheme.

But advertising alone is not enough. In the next few weeks will be announcing the next steps for this campaign. We will be targeting those few councils and mayors that are not yet standing up to the Government to protect the theft by Nanaia Mahuta of local community water assets.

We're also going to be specifically holding to account Labour's provincial MPs who we think are the key to overcoming the strong Māori caucus within Labour that is driving the Three Waters and anti-democratic co-governance agenda. Watch this space...

Peter Williams joins our Board

Peter Williams

You might have received an email from Peter Williams recently asking you to support our campaign to stop Three Waters.

We’re delighted to confirm that Peter has joined our Board. As one of New Zealand’s most trusted broadcasters, he is an authoritative champion for our mission of lower taxes, less waste, and more transparency.

Peter says: 

It's appropriately coincidental that my appointment to the Taxpayers' Union board is announced as New Zealand’s inflation rate hits its highest mark in over 30 years. That number alone reinforces the need for prudent government spending.

The Taxpayers’ Union is a significant watchdog of how our taxpayer money is spent, or as has been the case too often lately, squandered. Taxpayers’ Union campaigns have a significant strike rate in changing or amending government policy, and I’m looking forward to ensuring there are many more such successes.

Peter’s appointment follows those of former CEO of NZIER and current NZSO Chair, Laurence Kubiak, former ACT Party Chief of Staff and current Hutt City Councillor, Chris Milne, and former Finance Minister Hon Ruth Richardson, earlier this year. All our Board members are unpaid volunteers who provide strategic guidance and wisdom to our team and lend substantial credibility to the efforts of the Taxpayers' Union.

Your efforts pay off: Rotorua representation bill halted in its tracks

Coffey

Two weeks ago we urged readers of our Taxpayer Update to submit on the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill that would have abolished the principle of "one person, one vote" in local government.

You responded in massive numbers. Overnight, more than two thousand submissions were made on the Bill, with the vast majority opposing it.

Tāmati Coffey responded by extending the select committee process. Then the Attorney-General David Parker warned that the Bill was inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and finally Rotorua District Council conceded that the Government needed to press "pause" on the Bill.

The Government now says it will wait for further policy work to be done on the Bill. But with the principal problem of "one person, one vote" and equality of suffrage now acknowledged no amount of tinkering can fix it. Even if the Government changes its mind, we've won in that the Government will now be unable to sneak it through unnoticed and it cannot come into effect in time to apply to this year's local elections.

More importantly, we have demonstrated to the Government that New Zealanders will not sit back and allow politicians to meddle with fundamental principles of our democracy.

Jordan sat down to chat with David Farrar on Taxpayer Talk after the victory  click here to listen.

Megan Woods hands big business millions in "decarbonisation" grants

Southern Paprika grant

Energy Minister Megan Woods has now handed out $68 million worth of corporate welfare payments to major businesses replacing their boilers and heating systems.

The latest announcement saw capsicum grower Southern Paprika get $5 million to install a new biomass boiler. Meat producer ANZCO and textile manufacturer Canterbury Spinners each got more than a million dollars, and DB breweries got $500,000.

Browse the full list of handouts yourself: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3.

These businesses are massive, profitable operations. They already have strong financial incentives to improve energy efficiency, and they certainly don't need taxpayer help.

We can only weep for smaller businesses that already teeter on the edge of profitability, and now find that their competitors are receiving fat taxpayer-funded subsidies.

And here's the shocker: the handouts won’t even reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions: energy emissions are capped and traded under the Emissions Trading Scheme, meaning any emission reductions from a new boiler only serve to free up carbon credits to be burnt in other parts of the economy! This is the "waterbed effect" which is conveniently ignored by all the politicians who want to be seen to be doing something knowing very well they are wasting money.

A classic taxpayer-funded "non-job"

Lapel pinAt the Taxpayers' Union we like to keep track of some of the dumbest jobs in the Government sector.

Here's a doozy from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: someone is being paid $132,000–$155,000 to lead a team in charge of handing out awards to recognise people involved in the COVID-19 response. We understand the prize is a lapel pin.

If you know of other public sector "non-jobs" that deserve attention, let us know in a reply to this newsletter.

Finance Minister cuts debt by... re-defining debt

Grant thumb

In a pre-Budget speech, Grant Robertson announced he will change the way the Government measures its net debt, which will make our new debt figure look 20 percentage points lower.

The trick is that the new formula includes assets managed independently from the Government, such as the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.

One side effect of this is that the reported Government debt figure will fluctuate more wildly depending on the performance of the Super Fund's international investments.

Our prediction for years ahead: when the Super Fund performs well, Finance Ministers will claim credit for improved debt; when it performs poorly, they'll blame higher debt on "international conditions".

Taxpayer Talk: Should the Government finally privatise state-owned enterprises?

The Government owns or partly owns 18 large businesses with combined assets of $78 billion. The Treasury has found that many are underperforming.

Jordan and co-founder of TDB Advisory Phil Barry sat down to discuss why these businesses would be more productive and experience higher rates of return if they were privatised – bolstering New Zealand's economic resilience and standard of living. Click here to listen.

You can find all of our Taxpayer Talk episodes on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or iHeart Radio.

This newsletter is getting long...

A few more items of Government waste to round out this Taxpayer Update:

  • Taxpayers continue to be haunted by the ghost of Auckland's scrapped bike bridge. Waka Kotahi forked out an estimated $600,000 to lease prime waterfront office space for the project just three weeks before it was cancelled.

  • Remember the public sector's COVID-19 "pay freeze"? Newshub reveals that more than 2500 Government workers earning over $100,000 a year got pay rises that were only meant to be granted in "exceptional circumstances". 

  • In a new column, Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt has complained that in 2019 the Taxpayers' Union obtained his ratepayer-funded expenses with "no exclusions for sensitive expenditure or for my privacy." We still think highlighting these expenses was the right thing to do – such as exposing that ratepayers were paying for custom "I met the Mayor" wristbands. Click here to find out how Tim Shadbolt spent ratepayers' money.

As always, we are indebted to the thousands of Kiwis who donate and make this work possible.

Donate

Have a great weekend,

Louis circle


Louis Houlbrooke
Campaigns Manager
New Zealand Taxpayers' Union

Media coverage:

The Platform  
Graham Adams: poll shows how badly the $55 million media fund has damaged public trust

Newstalk ZB  Bryce Wilkinson: Former Treasury director says the Auditor-General is right to raise concerns around Covid response fund spending

Stuff  Three Waters is still a shameless asset grab

Stuff  
Likelihood that Te Pāti Māori will be 2023 'kingmaker' increasing

NZ Herald  
Mike Hosking: Open and honest government? What a joke

Gisborne Herald  
Way to go for National to form next Government

Kiwiblog  Huge majority believe media independence has been undermined by government funding

Newstalk ZB  
National surges, Labour plummets in new political poll

NZ Herald  'The public are sick of the spin': Luxon says National's surge in polls shows tide is turning against Ardern

Otago Daily Times  National continues rise over Labour in latest poll

Local Matters  Road ad campaign criticised

Homepaddock  
Quotes of the month

Homepaddock  Three Waters worse

NZ Herald  Bruce Cotterill: Looking for the Super in the City

Stuff  
How the office of Invercargill's mayor has vanished into a vacuum

NZ Herald  Bill Ralston: Political propaganda hard to swallow when Kiwis can't afford veges

Stuff  Three Waters reaction: Mayor Phil Goff says Auckland is being penalised, LGNZ welcomes ratepayer certainty

Rotorua Now  Controversial sculpture set for repaint

NZ
 Herald  From security pacts to dancing kiwifruit - was the PM's overseas trip a success?

Stuff  Controversial Rotorua sculpture set for repaint 18 months after installation

Homepaddock  Three Waters worse

RNZ  Politics: Inflation fixes, Luxon's leadership, Ardern's Asia trip

Stuff  The media has trust issues, but that's not necessarily a bad thing

Newstalk ZB Louis Houlbrooke: We need to ensure tourists cover their costs

Newstalk ZB  Nats take lead in latest poll

Newstalk ZB  Jason Walls: She’ll be looking back home at those poll numbers

Newstalk ZB  David Farrar: It’s a very stark trend

The Northland Age  Northland speed review consultation starts next month, May

NZ Herald  National takes lead in latest poll, but could not govern without Te Pāti Māori

Newshub  Nats polling higher than Labour among female voters shows 'women going to vote for best ideas', former Deputy PM Paula Bennett says

Democracy Project  Byrce Edwards: A polarising co-governance decision for Parliament

Stuff  High inflation a lose-lose for the Government, but it won’t be panicking – yet

Newshub  How NZ Govt can bring down cost of living - ACT's David Seymour

NZ Herald  Inflation nation: Matthew Hooton – Government needs to make bold moves to head off cost of living

NBR   Inflation hits a 30-year high

NZ Herald  National leader Chris Luxon’s off-piste moments and who is winning the inflation wars

Stuff  The shaky claims and untested ideology underpinning Three Waters

Inland Revenue has proposed a bonkers new tax on small business

When the Government announced its new 39% income tax bracket, we warned that high earners would simply shift income into companies and trusts.

David Parker eventually cottoned on to this problem and asked Inland Revenue to investigate ways to crack down. Now Inland Revenue has been quietly consulting on a set of proposals that are – frankly – bonkers.

•  Inland Revenue has proposed whacking most small business owners with a tax on retained earnings (i.e. profits reinvested in a company) if they sell their shares. Those earnings have already been taxed at the company tax rate of 28%, but Inland Revenue has suggested an extra tax on upon the sale of the business to make up the difference between 28% and 39%.

•  Next, and even worse, Inland Revenues proposes severely limiting which businesses will be eligible for the 28% company tax rate. A business owner who provides more than 50% of his or her company's services would now be denied access to the 28% company tax rate, even if they have dozens of clients.

To add salt to the wound, big publicly-listed companies will be exempt from these tax hikes. As our tax advisors put it, "Inland Revenue is aiming for the kings but shooting the peasants".

The full details of the proposals are actually even worse than we have space to describe here – they are extremely complex and can result in more tax payable compared with if there was a full capital gains tax. If you're interested you can read our formal submission on the proposals here.

Inland Revenue is not taking further submissions, but we understand that having read our submission and those of other experts, officials are now tearing their hair out over the mess they made of the recommendations.

We're optimistic there will be a backdown. If not, we will ensure these proposals cause a world of political pain for Labour as a disproportionate tax on small business, and another breach of the "no new taxes" promise.

Poll reveals distrust of taxpayer-funded media

Most New Zealanders believe that government funding for private media companies undermines media independence, reveals a new poll commissioned by the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union.

Click here to sign the petition against government funding for private media.

The scientific poll of 1,000 New Zealanders was carried out by Curia Market Research and found that 59% percent believe the funding undermines media independence, compared to just 21% who believe it doesn't. Twenty percent were unsure.Poll question 1

Crucially, the belief that media funding undermines independence is strong among supporters of all major political parties, including Labour and the Greens.

Poll question 3The poll also asked New Zealanders whether they supported the Public Interest Journalism Fund, which sees $55 million in government funding allocated to media for "public interest" reporting projects. Forty-four percent of New Zealanders oppose the fund, versus just 24% in support. Thirty-two percent were unsure.

Poll question 2Mainstream media outlets have been at pains to deny any suggestion that government funding undermines their independence. But they can no longer deny that the funding has undermined the perception of independence.

It's now clear that the Government's push to directly fund private media outlets is deeply misguided, if not dangerous. Instead of enlightening New Zealanders with high-quality journalism, the funding risks driving audiences towards fringe information sources that may be perceived as more independent.

This polling should also be a wake-up call to the media companies themselves. As tempting as it must be to accept Government handouts, in the long term it may serve to alienate readers who expect journalists to report from a position of independence.

On the flipside, this poll suggests there is a real opportunity for media outlets who differentiate themselves by refusing the funding. We're already seeing smaller outlets such as The NBR, The Platform, and interest.co.nz capitalise on this opportunity by loudly advertising the fact that they are fully privately-funded.

At the Taxpayers' Union, we share concerns that government funding undermines media independence. For example, an explicit goal of the Public Interest Journalism Fund is to promote a 'partnership' interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi. Whether media outlets admit it or not, taking the money is a direct challenge to editorial independence on highly contentious debates such as co-governance.

More broadly, it's impossible to ignore the fact that media bosses have a multi-million-dollar interest in electing a Government that will protect their funding. The risk that this will influence the way issues are reported, or what issues are reported, is obvious.

A simple immediate test for media independence will be whether they are willing to report on this poll.

The Taxpayers' Union is tracking grants paid from the Public Interest Journalism Fund here.

Taxpayer Talk: Disregarding democracy: the Government's attempt to strip away one person one vote

Last month, the Government quietly tried to pass Tamati Coffee's Rotorua District Council Bill. When electing Rotorua Councillors, it would have meant a vote on the general roll would have been worth 39% of a vote on the Māori roll. Due to public pressure and the Attorney General calling it a breach of the Bill of Rights Act, the Government backtracked. Join Jordan and David Farrar, as they discuss how the bill nearly removed one person one vote in Rotorua, and came close to setting a dangerous precedent for New Zealand democracy. 

Subscribe to Taxpayer Talk podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsiHeart Radio and wherever good podcasts are sold.

Peter Williams joins Taxpayers’ Union board

Peter Williams

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Peter Williams as a board member.

Peter has nearly fifty years of experience in the media as a TVNZ news presenter, sports writer, and radio host.

"It's appropriately coincidental that my appointment to the Taxpayers' Union board is announced as New Zealand’s inflation rate hits its highest mark in over 30 years. That number alone reinforces the need for prudent government spending." -Peter Williams

Peter says, “The Taxpayers’ Union is a significant watchdog of how our taxpayer money is spent, or as has been the case too often lately, squandered. Taxpayers’ Union campaigns have a significant strike rate in changing or amending government policy, and I’m looking forward to ensuring there are many more such successes.”

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “We’re delighted to welcome Peter onto the Board. As one of New Zealand’s most trusted broadcasters, he is an authoritative champion for our mission of lower taxes, less waste, and more transparency. Peter’s experience in the media is complementary to the economic, public policy, political, and local government expertise around the Board table.”

Peter’s appointment follows those of former CEO of NZIER and current NZSO Chair, Laurence Kubiak, former ACT Party Chief of Staff and current Hutt City Councillor, Chris Milne, and former Finance Minister Hon Ruth Richardson, earlier this year. They are joined by Casey Costello, David Farrar, and Jordan Williams.

Founded by David Farrar and Jordan Williams in 2013, the Taxpayers’ Union enjoys the support of more than 170,000 registered supporters. Its work fighting for the mission of Lower Taxes, Less Waste, and More Transparency is made possible by the 15,000 New Zealander who financially contribute. The Board are volunteers, and are among those who donate to the organisation.

Hōne Heke didn’t just cut flagpoles – he cut taxes

A survey by Today FM has ranked Hōne Heke as the second greatest New Zealander of all time, behind Sir Edmund Hillary.

Heke’s ranking is well-warranted. He iconically cut down the British flag at Kororāreka (Russell) three times, a rebellion that has become a cornerstone of our national history. However few New Zealanders are aware of what specifically motivated the famous warrior.

Hone Heke was an anti-tax campaigner. In 1841 he was angered by the new Government’s introduction of tariffs on tea, sugar, flour, grain, spirits, tobacco, and all other foreign goods. As James Cowan writes in The New Zealand Wars (1922):

And when the storekeeper had passed on the increases to his customers, with no doubt a considerable extra margin of profit for the Maori trade, the warrior [Heke] who came in to renew his supply of whin, or twist tobacco, to purchase a new blanket or a musket, or to lay by a store of lead for moulding into bullets, received the clearest proof that the Treaty which he had signed had not improved his condition of life.

Moreover, Heke was inspired to rebellion by the way America had responded to British-imposed taxes with full-blown revolution:

[US Consul] Mayhew had helped to instil into the minds of Pomare and Heke a dislike to the British flag, consequent on the imposition of Customs duties. From him and other Americans the discontented chief had heard of the successful revolt of the American colonies against England, and the lesson was not forgotten; he burned to do likewise.

Heke went so far as to fly the American flag as a symbol of his anti-tax, anti-colonial crusade – an image that tends to be excluded from modern illustrations of Heke’s protest.

From [former US Consul] Smith he obtained an American ensign, and paddled on to Kororareka; and when the flagstaff fell to a Ngapuhi axe for a second time up went the foreign colour on the carved sternpost of Heke's war-canoe. The warrior crew paraded the harbour, their kai-hauta, or fugleman, yelling a battle-song, Heke at the steering-paddle, the American flag over his head.

Heke’s anti-tax rebellion wasn’t just provocative – it was effective. In exchange for Ngapuhi surrendering a token number of muskets and Heke offering to erect a new flag mast, the Government declared the Bay of Islands a free port, and abolished all customs duties.

The truth of Hōne Heke’s rebellion deserves to be more widely-known. His story was the beginning of a proud lineage of anti-tax protest that is today carried on by the Taxpayers’ Union (even if we prefer to use arguments over axes).

So congratulations to Hōne Heke for rightfully being recognised as one of the greatest New Zealanders. If it were up to us, he might even be ranked number one. How many taxes did Sir Ed cut, after all?

Taxpayer Talk: Should the Government finally privatise State Owned Enterprises?

The Government owns or partly owns 18 large businesses with combined assets of $78 billion. The Treasury has found that many are underperforming. Join Jordan and co-founder of TDB Advisory Phil Barry, as they discuss why these businesses would be more productive and experience higher rates of return if they were privatised – bolstering New Zealand's economic resilience and standard of living. 

Subscribe to Taxpayer Talk podcast via Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsiHeart Radio and wherever good podcasts are sold.

 

Taxpayers' Union Curia Poll: April 2022

Exclusive to members and supporters, we can reveal the results of the eighth Taxpayers’ Union Curia Poll.

The polling period was 7 April - 13 April 2022.

Here are the headline results:

Party

Support

Change from last month

National

37.8%

↑2.5

Labour

36.8%

↑0.6

Greens

9.4%

↓3.0

ACT

8.4%

↓2.8

Māori

3.6%

↑3.5

NZ First

1.7%

↓0.1

Other

2.3%

↓0.7

National takes the lead for the first time since the Taxpayers' Union Curia Polls began. However, much of National's gain appear to have come at ACT's expense. Labour holds steady with a slight bump, the Greens drop and the Māori Party rises. 

Here is how these results would translate to seats in Parliament:

The shifts in party support result in National gaining three seats, ACT losing four, the Māori Party gaining four, the Greens losing four, and no change for the Labour Party. This means the gap between the Centre-Right and the Centre-Left blocs has shrunk from nine seats in January to just one seat in April. Both blocs would not receive enough seats to govern, thus, the Māori Party would be the 'kingmaker.'

(For the purposes of this chart, the Māori Party is not included in the two major blocs.)

Just like the TV polls, our pollsters do not read out options to participants to choose their preferred Prime Minister – we just include those who are named as preferred by more than a few people in the random sample of one thousand voters. Here are the updated preferred Prime Minister ratings, shown over time:

Preferred Prime Minister

April 2022

Change from last month

Jacinda Ardern

36.3%

↓1.5

Christopher Luxon

28.6%

↑2.0

David Seymour

4.8%

↑0.4

Winston Peters

2.6%

↓2.9

Luxon and Seymour are up. Ardern is slightly down, while support for Peters has dropped. 

New Zealanders are now almost evenly split on whether the country is heading in the “right” or “wrong” direction. There are slightly more New Zealanders that believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. 

New Zealanders were also asked to scale between 1 and 5 their favourability towards different politicians. “Very Favourable” (5) plus “Favourable” (4) are netted off against “Very Unfavourable (1) and “Unfavourable” (2) to come to a “Net Favourability” result. Those responses that are neither favourable nor unfavourable are disregarded.

Luxon has a more positive net favourability (+12%) than Ardern (+9%), but fewer people have an opinion on Luxon either way. Ardern’s net favourability continues to drop. Ardern's net favorability has fallen from +33% (October 2021) to +9%(April 2022).

For the full polling report, covering the detailed insights the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition are used to receiving, join our Taxpayer Caucus – our club of most generous financial supporters who make our work possible.


The scientific poll was conducted by Curia Market Research and commissioned by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. The full polling report is being released exclusively to members of our Taxpayer Caucus. As is well known, but for full disclosure, David Farrar is a member of the Board of the Taxpayers' Union and also a Director of Curia Market Research Ltd.

The Taxpayers’ Union Curia Poll was conducted from Wednesday 07 April to Wednesday 13 April 2022. The sample size was 1,000 eligible New Zealand voters who are contactable on a landline or mobile phone selected at random from 20,000 nationwide phone numbers. The results are weighted to reflect the overall voting adult population in terms of gender, age, and area. Based on this sample of 1,000 respondents, the maximum sampling error (for a result of 50%) is +/- 3.1%, at the 95% confidence level. This poll should be formally referred to as the “Taxpayers’ Union Curia Poll”.


Join Us

Joining the Taxpayers' Union costs only $25 and entitles you to attend our annual conference, AGM and other events.

Donate

With your support we can make the Taxpayers' Union a strong voice exposing waste and standing up for Kiwi taxpayers.

Tip Line

Often the best information comes from those inside the public service or local government. We guarantee your anonymity and your privacy.