For most of us, Christmas is about giving. For the Tax Man, it’s all about taking.
You can view the video on Facebook here.
Taxpayers can now browse the specific pay rates, ranked, for public sector chief executives.
This year taxpayers will pay $62 million in salaries for the 140 public sector CEOs. The average is paid $443,000, and 53 earn more than the Prime Minister.
Many of these individuals make major decisions about services that impact millions of taxpayers' lives. Publicising their salaries serves to promote accountability and transparency at the highest level.
Other Rich-Listers lead obscure QUANGOs (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations) that generate little value for taxpayers. We hope the Public Sector CEO Rich List provokes debate over the necessity of these positions.
|Rank||Organisation||Name (2019)||Salary (2019)||Notes||Name (2018)||Salary (2018)||Notes|
|1||Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation||Mr Matt Whineray||$1,065,000.00||Estimate provided by board||Mr Matt Whineray||$960,000.00||Not available in SSC report. Source|
|2||Accident Compensation Corporation||Mr Scott Pickering||$841,000.00||Mr Scott Pickering||$833,000.00|
|3||Housing New Zealand Corporation||Mr Andrew McKenzie||$791,000.00||Mr Andrew McKenzie||$703,000.00|
|4||University of Auckland||Prof. Stuart McCutcheon||$760,000.00||Prof. Stuart McCutcheon||$760,000.00|
|5||Commissioner of Police||Mr Mike Bush||$709,000.00||Mr Mike Bush||$708,000.00|
|6||The Treasury||Mr Gabriel Makhlouf||$687,000.00||Annualised based on 362 days||Mr Gabriel Makhlouf||$645,000.00|
|7||New Zealand Transport Agency||ACTING (Mr Mark Ratcliffe)||$682,000.00||Annualised based on 168 days||Mr Fergus Gammie||$619,000.00|
|8||Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force||Air Marshal Kevin Short||$670,000.00||Lt Gen. Tim Keating||$675,000.00|
|9||Controller and Auditor-General||Mr John Ryan||$670,000.00||Annualised based on 364 days||ACTING (Mr Gregory Schollum)||$657,000.00|
|10||Auckland DHB||Ms Ailsa Claire||$667,000.00||Ms Ailsa Claire||$635,000.00|
|11||Waitemata DHB||Dr Dale Bramley||$666,000.00||Dr Dale Bramley||$653,000.00|
|12||Solicitor-General||Ms Una Jagose||$666,000.00||Ms Una Jagose||$665,000.00|
|13||Inland Revenue Department||Ms Naomi Ferguson||$657,000.00||Ms Naomi Ferguson||$674,000.00|
|14||New Zealand Trade and Enterprise||Mr Peter Chrisp||$651,000.00||Mr Peter Chrisp||$638,000.00|
|15||University of Otago||Prof. Harlene Hayne||$644,000.00||Prof. Harlene Hayne||$644,000.00|
|16||State Services Commissioner and Head of State Services||Mr Peter Hughes||$630,000.00||Mr Peter Hughes||$630,000.00|
|17||Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children||Mrs Gráinne Moss||$628,000.00||Mrs Gráinne Moss||$647,000.00|
|18||Financial Markets Authority||Mr Rob Everett||$628,000.00||Mr Rob Everett||$615,000.00|
|19||Canterbury DHB||Mr David Meates||$613,000.00||Also responsible for West Coast DHB||Mr David Meates||$607,000.00||Also responsible for West Coast DHB|
|20||HLC Ltd (previously named Hobsonville Land Company)||Mr Chris Aiken||$612,000.00||Mr Chris Aiken||$471,000.00|
|21||Ministry of Justice||Mr Andrew Kibblewhite||$603,000.00||Annualised based on 150 days||Mr Andrew Bridgman||$606,000.00|
|22||Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||Mr Brook Barrington||$603,000.00||Annualised based on 215 days||Mr Andrew Kibblewhite||$611,000.00|
|23||University of Canterbury||Prof. Cheryl de la Rey||$594,000.00||Annualised based on 150 days (Estimate)||Dr Rod Carr||$662,000.00|
|24||Victoria University of Wellington||Prof. Grant Guilford||$587,000.00||Prof. Grant Guilford||$587,000.00|
|25||Ministry for Primary Industries||Mr Ray Smith||$572,000.00||Annualised based on 242 days||Mr Martyn Dunne||$592,000.00|
|26||Ministry of Education||Ms Iona Holsted||$568,000.00||Ms Iona Holsted||$597,000.00|
|27||Ministry of Social Development||Ms Debbie Power||$566,000.00||Annualised based on 147 days||Mr Brendan Boyle||$677,000.00|
|28||Counties-Manukau DHB||Fepuleai Margie Apa||$565,000.00||Annualised based on 301 days||ACTING (Dr Gloria Johnson)||$499,000.00|
|29||Tertiary Education Commission||Mr Tim Fowler||$561,000.00||Mr Tim Fowler||$557,000.00|
|30||Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment||Ms Carolyn Tremain||$555,000.00||ACTING (Ms Carolyn Tremain)||$560,000.00|
|31||New Zealand Tourism Board (Tourism New Zealand)||Mr Stephen England-Hall||$550,000.00||Mr Stephen England-Hall||$536,000.00|
|32||Public Trust||Ms Glenys Talivai||$549,000.00||Annualised based on 105 days||Mr Robert Smith||$537,000.00|
|33||Deputy State Services Commissioner (and Ms Power was also Chief Executive)||ACTING (Mr John Ombler)||$546,000.00||Annualised based on 147 days||Ms Debbie Power||$533,000.00|
|34||Auckland University of Technology||Mr Derek McCormack||$545,000.00||Mr Derek McCormack||$545,000.00|
|35||Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade||Mr Chris Seed||$545,000.00||Annualised based on 150 days (Estimate)||Mr Brook Barrington||$630,000.00|
|36||Capital and Coast DHB||ACTING (Ms Julie Patterson)||$535,000.00||ACTING (Ms Julie Patterson)||$365,000.00||Annualised based on 20 days|
|37||Callaghan Innovation||Ms Victoria Crone||$533,000.00||Estimate||Ms Victoria Crone||$529,000.00|
|38||Southern DHB||Mr Chris Fleming||$531,000.00||Estimate||Mr Chris Fleming||$520,000.00|
|39||Department of Internal Affairs||Mr Paul James||$528,000.00||Annualised based on 273 days||Mr Colin MacDonald||$666,000.00|
|40||Ministry of Health||Dr Ashley Bloomfield||$528,000.00||Dr Ashley Bloomfield||$256,000.00||Annualised based on 20 days|
|41||Department of Corrections||ACTING (Ms Christine Stevenson)||$524,000.00||Annualised based on 147 days||Mr Ray Smith||$563,000.00|
|42||MidCentral DHB||Mrs Kathryn Cook||$523,000.00||Mrs Kathryn Cook||$516,000.00|
|43||Northland DHB||Dr Nick Chamberlain||$523,000.00||Dr Nick Chamberlain||$523,000.00|
|44||Ministry of Housing and Urban Development||Mr Andrew Crisp||$523,000.00||Annualised based on 196 days||Established 1st August 2018|
|45||Fire and Emergency New Zealand||Mr Rhys Jones||$519,000.00||Mr Rhys Jones||$503,000.00|
|46||University of Waikato||Prof. Neil Quigley||$517,000.00||Prof. Neil Quigley||$515,000.00|
|47||Ministry for the Environment||Ms Vicky Robertson||$513,000.00||Ms Vicky Robertson||$496,000.00|
|48||Massey University||Prof. Jan Thomas||$506,000.00||Prof. Jan Thomas||$506,000.00|
|49||Hawke’s Bay DHB||Dr Kevin Snee||$504,000.00||Dr Kevin Snee||$504,000.00|
|50||Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Board||Mr Geraint Martin||$500,000.00||Mr Geraint Martin||$500,000.00|
|51||Bay of Plenty DHB||Ms Helen Mason||$486,000.00||Ms Helen Mason||$477,000.00|
|52||Ministry of Defence||Ms Helene Quilter||$484,000.00||Ms Helene Quilter||$483,000.00|
|53||Waikato DHB||ACTING (Mr Neville Hablous)||$477,000.00||Annualised based on 65 days||INTERIM (Mr Derek Wright)||$473,000.00||Annualised based on 258 days|
|54||New Zealand Qualifications Authority||Dr Karen Poutasi||$466,000.00||Estimate||Dr Karen Poutasi||$461,000.00|
|55||Department of Conservation||Mr Lou Sanson||$464,000.00||Mr Lou Sanson||$461,000.00|
|56||New Zealand Lotteries Commission||Mr Chris Lyman||$459,000.00||Mr Chris Lyman||$450,000.00||Annualised based on 181 days|
|57||New Zealand Security Intelligence Service||Ms Rebecca Kitteridge||$452,000.00||Ms Rebecca Kitteridge||$463,000.00||Annualised based on 276 days|
|58||Earthquake Commission||Mr Sid Miller||$452,000.00||Mr Sid Miller||$443,000.00|
|59||Government Communications Security Bureau||Mr Andrew Hampton||$443,000.00||Mr Andrew Hampton||$444,000.00||Annualised based on 276 days|
|60||Te Puni Kōkiri - Ministry of Māori Development||Ms Michelle Hippolite||$442,000.00||Ms Michelle Hippolite||$444,000.00|
|61||Ministry of Transport||Mr Peter Mersi||$434,000.00||Mr Peter Mersi||$437,000.00|
|62||Nelson Marlborough DHB||Dr Peter Bramley||$433,000.00||Dr Peter Bramley||$433,000.00|
|63||Statistics New Zealand||Ms Liz MacPherson||$428,000.00||Ms Liz MacPherson||$404,000.00|
|64||Pharmaceutical Management Agency||Ms Sarah Fitt||$427,000.00||Ms Sarah Fitt||$427,000.00||Annualised based on 176 days|
|65||Health Quality and Safety Commission||Dr Janice Wilson||$423,000.00||Dr Janice Wilson||$415,000.00|
|66||Clerk of the House of Representatives||Mr David Wilson||$423,000.00||Mr David Wilson||$410,000.00|
|67||Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa—Pike River Recovery Agency||Mr David Gawn||$418,000.00||Mr David Gawn||$418,000.00||Annualised based on 151 days|
|68||Te Wānanga o Aotearoa||Hon Te Ururoa Flavell||$416,000.00||Annualised based on 307 days (Estimate)||Dr Jim Mather||$412,000.00|
|69||Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand||Mr Graeme Harris||$416,000.00||Mr Graeme Harris||$414,000.00|
|70||Worksafe New Zealand||Ms Nicole Rosie||$416,000.00||Ms Nicole Rosie||$407,000.00|
|71||Education New Zealand||Mr Grant McPherson||$415,000.00||Mr Grant McPherson||$403,000.00|
|72||Environmental Protection Authority||Dr Allan Freeth||$413,000.00||Dr Allan Freeth||$409,000.00|
|73||Manukau Institute of Technology||Mr Gerald Gilmore||$406,000.00||Mr Gerald Gilmore||$406,000.00|
|74||Commerce Commission||Ms Adrienne Meikle||$404,000.00||Ms Adrienne Meikle||$405,000.00||Annualised based on 55 days (E)|
|75||Education Review Office||Mr Nicholas Pole||$402,000.00||Mr Nicholas Pole||$405,000.00|
|76||Lincoln University||ACTING (Prof. Bruce McKenzie)||$401,000.00||Annualised based on 181 days||ACTING (Prof. James McWha)||$433,000.00||Annualised based on 96 days|
|77||Ara Institute of Canterbury||Mr Tony Gray||$400,000.00||Mr Tony Gray||$400,000.00||Annualised based on 300 days|
|78||Sport New Zealand||Mr Peter Miskimmin||$400,000.00||Estimate||Mr Peter Miskimmin||$396,000.00|
|79||Chief Ombudsman||Mr Peter Boshier||$400,000.00||Mr Peter Boshier||$400,000.00|
|80||Eastern Institute of Technology||Mr Christopher Collins||$399,000.00||Estimate||Mr Christopher Collins||$399,000.00|
|81||Taranaki DHB||Ms Rosemary Clements||$399,000.00||Ms Rosemary Clements||$399,000.00|
|82||Chief Parliamentary Counsel||Ms Fiona Leonard||$397,000.00||Ms Fiona Leonard||$393,000.00|
|83||High Performance Sport New Zealand Ltd||Mr Michael Scott||$391,000.00||Mr Michael Scott||$392,000.00||Annualised based on 160 days|
|84||Whanganui DHB||Mr Russell Simpson||$389,000.00||Mr Russell Simpson||$388,000.00||Annualised based on 156 days|
|85||Wellington Institute of Technology / Whitireia Community Polytechnic||Mr Chris Gosling||$388,000.00||Mr Chris Gosling||$388,000.00|
|86||Lakes DHB||Dr Nick Saville-Wood||$385,000.00||Annualised based on 56 days||Mr Ron Dunham||$416,000.00|
|87||New Zealand Blood Service||Ms Samantha Cliffe||$378,000.00||Estimate||Ms Samantha Cliffe||$360,000.00|
|88||Otago Polytechnic||Mr Phil Ker||$371,000.00||Mr Phil Ker||$369,000.00|
|89||Unitec Institute of Technology||ACTING (Ms Merran Davis)||$371,000.00||ACTING (Ms Merran Davis)||$365,000.00||Annualised based on 17 days|
|90||Serious Fraud Office||Ms Julie Read||$371,000.00||Ms Julie Read||$356,000.00|
|91||Ministry for Culture and Heritage||Ms Bernadette Cavanagh||$367,000.00||Annualised based on 150 days||Mr Paul James||$391,000.00|
|92||Electricity Authority||Mr James Stevenson-Wallace||$366,000.00||Annualised based on 287 days||Mr Carl Hansen||$390,000.00|
|93||Land Information New Zealand||ACTING (Ms Lisa Barrett)||$365,000.00||Annualised based on 308 days||Mr Andrew Crisp||$491,000.00|
|94||Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology||Dr Leon de Wet Fourie||$362,000.00||Dr Leon de Wet Fourie||$362,000.00|
|95||Wairarapa DHB||ACTING (Mr Craig Climo)||$358,000.00||Annualised based on 104 days||Ms Adri Isbister||$331,000.00|
|96||Broadcasting Commission (New Zealand On Air)||Ms Jane Wrightson||$358,000.00||Ms Jane Wrightson||$358,000.00|
|97||General Manager of the Parliamentary Service||Mr Rafael Gonzalez-Montero||$358,000.00||Annualised based on 154 days||Mr David Stevenson||$371,000.00|
|98||New Zealand Customs Service||ACTING (Mr Bill Perry)||$355,000.00||Annualised based on 147 days||ACTING (Ms Christine Stevenson)||$411,000.00|
|99||Te Arawhiti — Office for Māori Crown Relations||ACTING (Ms Lil Anderson)||$355,000.00||Annualised based on 181 days||Established 1st January 2019|
|100||Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārang||Prof. Wiremu Doherty||$350,000.00||Prof. Wiremu Doherty||$350,000.00|
|101||Health Research Council of New Zealand||Prof. Kathryn McPherson||$350,000.00||Prof. Kathryn McPherson||$350,000.00|
|102||Southern Institute of Technology||Ms Penelope Simmonds||$348,000.00||Ms Penelope Simmonds||$344,000.00|
|103||Social Investment Agency||ACTING (Ms Dorothy Adams)||$347,000.00||ACTING (Ms Dorothy Adams)||$338,000.00|
|104||Universal College of Learning||Dr Amanda Lynn||$345,000.00||Annualised based on 287 days||Ms Leeza Boyce||$373,000.00|
|105||Maritime New Zealand||Mr Keith Manch||$340,000.00||Estimate||Mr Keith Manch||$334,000.00|
|106||Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology||Mr Liam Sloan||$339,000.00||Mr Liam Sloan||$265,000.00||Annualised based on 266 days|
|107||Open Polytechnic of New Zealand||ACTING (Dr Caroline Seelig)||$339,000.00||Estimate||Dr Caroline Seelig||$339,000.00|
|108||New Zealand Antarctic Institute (Antarctica New Zealand)||Ms Sarah Williamson||$339,000.00||Annualised based on 14 days||Mr Peter Beggs||$335,000.00|
|109||South Canterbury DHB||Mr Nigel Trainor||$338,000.00||Estimate||Mr Nigel Trainor||$330,000.00|
|110||Tairawhiti DHB||Mr Jim Green||$338,000.00||Mr Jim Green||$338,000.00|
|111||Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment||Rt Hon Simon Upton||$337,000.00||Rt Hon Simon Upton||$335,000.00||Annualised based on 258 days|
|112||Waikato Institute of Technology||ACTING (Mr David Christiansen)||$336,000.00||Annualised based on 322 days||Mr Mark Flowers||$429,000.00|
|113||Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority||Mr Andrew Casely||$336,000.00||Mr Andrew Casely||$328,000.00|
|114||New Zealand Film Commission||Ms Annabelle Sheehan||$327,000.00||Ms Annabelle Sheehan||$327,000.00||Annualised based on 174 days|
|115||Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa||Mr Stephen Wainright||$323,000.00||Mr Stephen Wainright||$323,000.00|
|116||Te Wānanga o Raukawa||Ms Mereana Selby||$312,000.00||Ms Mereana Selby||$299,000.00|
|117||Ministry for Pacific Peoples||Laulu Mac Leauanae||$302,000.00||Laulu Mac Leauanae||$301,000.00||Annualised based on 363 days|
|118||Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Board||Mr Andrew Coleman||$300,000.00||Mr Andrew Coleman||$300,000.00|
|119||Health Promotions Agency||Mr Clive Nelson||$299,000.00||Mr Clive Nelson||$293,000.00|
|120||Hutt Valley DHB||ACTING (Ms Dale Oliff)||$297,000.00||ACTING (Ms Dale Oliff)||$296,000.00||Annualised based on 181 days|
|121||Accreditation Council (International Accreditation New Zealand)||Dr Llewellyn Richards||$296,000.00||Dr Llewellyn Richards||$289,000.00|
|122||Ministry for Women||Ms Renee Graham||$284,000.00||Annualised based on 242 days||Ms Renee Graham||$285,000.00|
|123||New Zealand Symphony Orchestra||Mr Christopher Blake||$277,000.00||Mr Christopher Blake||$277,000.00|
|124||Northland Polytechnic||ACTING (Mr Wayne Jackson)||$276,000.00||Annualised based on 181 days||Dr Mark Ewen||$245,000.00|
|125||Tai Poutini Polytechnic||Mr Alex Cabrera||$270,000.00||Estimate||Mr Alex Cabrera||$257,000.00|
|126||Telarc Ltd||Mr Philip Cryer||$264,000.00||Mr Philip Cryer||$264,000.00|
|127||Takeovers Panel||Mr Andrew Hudson||$263,000.00||Mr Andrew Hudson||$263,000.00||Annualised based on 247 days|
|128||Western Institute of Technology||Mr John Snook||$258,000.00||Annualised based on 181 days||Ms Barbara George||$254,000.00|
|129||External Reporting Board||Mr Warren Allen||$256,000.00||Mr Warren Allen||$251,000.00|
|130||Transport Accident Investigation Commission||Ms Lois Hutchinson||$255,000.00||Ms Lois Hutchinson||$255,000.00|
|131||Real Estate Agents Authority||Mr Kevin Lampen-Smith||$248,000.00||Mr Kevin Lampen-Smith||$246,000.00|
|132||New Zealand Artificial Limb Service||Mr Sean Gray||$245,000.00||Mr Sean Gray||$245,000.00|
|133||Te Reo Whakapuaki Irirangi (Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency)||Mr Larry Parr||$230,000.00||Estimate||Mr Larry Parr||$221,000.00|
|134||Human Rights Commission||ACTING (Muaausa Pele Walker)||$226,000.00||Annualised based on 181 days||Ms Cynthia Brophy||$257,000.00|
|135||Drug Free Sport New Zealand||Mr Nick Paterson||$209,000.00||Mr Nick Paterson||$209,000.00||Annualised based on 335 days|
|136||Social Workers Registration Board||Ms Sarah Clark||$209,000.00||Ms Sarah Clark||$207,000.00|
|137||Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission)||Mr Ngāhiwi Apanui||$203,000.00||Mr Ngāhiwi Apanui||$203,000.00|
|138||Broadcasting Standards Authority||Ms Belinda Moffat||$198,000.00||Ms Belinda Moffat||$190,000.00|
|139||New Zealand Food Innovation Auckland Ltd||Ms Alexandra Allan||$183,000.00||Ms Alexandra Allan||$175,000.00|
|140||New Zealand Walking Access Commission||Mr Ric Cullinane||$181,000.00||Annualised based on 300 days||Mr Eric Pyle||$157,000.00|
Taxpayers can also download the table as a spreadsheet to sort by type – such as Tertiary Education, DHBs, and so on.
The publication of this Rich List comes after the State Services Commission agreed to release this year's Senior Pay Report using specific pay rates rather than salary 'bands', in light of correspondence from the Taxpayers' Union and the Ombudsman.
Figures relate to the 2018/19 and 2017/18 financial years and were provided by the State Services Commission's Senior Pay Report. The Report uses estimates in cases where the final remuneration level is not yet determined.
CEOs that did not hold their position for the full year have had their salary figures annualised by the Union.
The list excludes local government (ratepayer-funded) chief executives.
This op-ed is written by Louis Houlbrooke, Communications Officer at the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
The wistful days of Jacinda Ardern’s “no new taxes” pledge are long gone.
Last week, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage proposed lifting landfill levies from the current $10 per tonne to $60 per tonne by 2023.
Like higher fuel taxes and road user charges, Sage’s proposed rubbish tax will eat directly into family budgets, through more expensive rubbish bags, higher rates, fees at the landfill, and costs passed on by businesses.
Her tax is expected to swell government and council revenues by $220 million a year, or more than $120 per household. And that’s on average – the tax will hit harder for larger families who produce more waste and tend to be poorer. By itself, the cost could be tolerable, but it comes on top of other new taxes, higher rates, and generally increasing living costs.
Intensifying poverty is the obvious downside to any tax, but a rubbish tax has further consequences – results that fly right in the face of Sage’s environmental focus.
Despite the bad rap landfills get, their use is often a best-case scenario. Take the five million-plus mattresses on which Kiwis currently sleep: these will not last forever, and they cannot be recycled. It is simply irresponsible to punish New Zealanders for sending these mattress to a landfill when the next-most-likely alternative is dumping it at your local park, river, or roadside.
Even in the case of rubbish that can be recycled, we cannot rely on wishful thinking about flawed, real-world human behaviour. The bane of illegal dumping faced by councils up and down the country suggests that even now, the ‘tidy Kiwi’ stereotype doesn’t hold up the way we like to imagine.
Have you ever called your council to get rubbish on your street cleared? Good luck with that. It’s not hard to guess what will happen when littering is made even more attractive.
Finally, there’s the question of what happens to the revenue that is collected. While half will be sucked directly into the budgets of local councils, the remaining funds go to the Government’s ‘Waste Minimisation Fund’.
This slush fund pays out large quantities of our money to companies embarking on eco-friendly projects. Recipients include large businesses like The Warehouse, Z Energy, and Fletcher, sometimes taking millions at a time for projects like tyre recovery and recycling old TVs.
There is no clear-cut way to judge which of these projects are mere PR stunts, and if they actually need funding or could have simply proceeded without taxpayer help.
So far, the fund is limited to $10 or $12 million a year, and has escaped serious political scrutiny. If Sage gets her way and the size of the fund balloons, it will need close monitoring as businesses up and down the country judge how to get their hands on this dosh.
In other words, we can expect the Government to have powerful allies as it pushes its tax through Parliament. Those families bearing the cost will need to push back hard – and the Taxpayers’ Union will be joining them. Submissions on the proposal are now open to the public.
The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning why the Wellington City Council pays $4,000 a year to the left wing “Living Wage” campaign.
According to an official information response, the price includes $2,500 in annual accreditation fees, plus $1,500 in administration fees.
The only thing the City Council gets for this spending is a pat on the back from unions on the Left. It’s ratepayer money down the drain and back-door funding of a political group.
Wellington City Council isn’t like a private businesses that needs PR stunts to compete for attention – it already has a captive customer base of ratepayers. If the Council wants to inflate its employees’ wages, it can simply do it. There’s no need to pay for a gold sticker.
The overall plan to implement the Living Wage is expected to cost ratepayers $3.4 million over 10 years.
Paying a group of activists to lobby other councils is wrong. New Mayor Andy Foster should cut this spend.
Here is the full official information response from Wellington City Council:
Dear Mr Houlbrooke,
Thank you for your email dated 27 August 2019 in which you requested information relating to the Accreditations held by the Council and the annual costs associated with those Accreditations.
Further to my decision email dated 24 September 2019, I can now provide you with the information we have collated. Please note: only two of the Council Controlled Organisations hold accreditations. These are provided below.
The Council holds the following Accreditations:
New Zealand Immigration (Accredited Employer).
The accreditation is valid for 2 years and each renewal costs $600 + GST
Living Wage (Living Wage Employer Annual Accreditation).
Annual accreditation fees are $2,173.91 + GST, and Administration fees of $1,500 (no GST payable)
Building Consent Authority Accreditation.
(Please Note: Accreditation is a mandatory requirement for the Council in order to receive and process building consents. Accreditation fees are paid every two years)
The fees for the period May 2019 to May 2021 are $30,647 + GST
Annual fees are $750.00 including GST for each of the Council’s 7 pools.
Food Act Accreditation
8 Public Health Officers are accredited and renewal is required every three years at a cost of $621.04 + GST ($77.63 per officer)
Wellington Zoo holds the following Accreditations:
No annual fees
Annual fees are $2,248.25 + GST
Annual fees are $6,200 +GST
Fair Trade Workplace
No annual fees
Zoo and Aquarium Association of Australasia Animal Welfare Accreditation
Annual fees are $1,363 + GST
Zealandia holds the following Accreditations:
Annual renewal fees are $5,582 + GST
Qualmark Gold Award
Annual fee is $1,181 + GST
No annual fees
The two year media reviews of the Labour led coalition agree it is struggling to get enough runs on the board. Why is this so?
After nine years of opposition it can be expected there would be a running in period. However that doesn’t adequately explain why they are delivering less than they had hoped.
While it is natural to expect Labour would have a modest understanding of how business works, it was a surprise to me also, that far too few Ministers actually understand how Government works. So many don’t understand the mechanisms of government which means they failed to make best use of their time in opposition. Not only that, its apparent they don’t understand the most important law of all – the law of unintended consequences.
In opposition I had several meetings with Phil Twyford and found him to be personable and passionate about his policy areas of transport and housing. As a Minister however he has come across as arrogant, dismissing Treasury officials early on for their questioning of his Kiwibuild targets. “Wet behind the ears” he said. That may or may not have been true, but it is now apparent Treasury wasn’t pessimistic enough.
The Auckland tram (or light rail) project is a true “train wreck” in public policy making. Good journalism from Stuff and others including the Herald’s Matthew Hooton, reveal a picture of chaotic decision making. Early on Transport Minister Twyford transferred responsibility for the City-airport link from Auckland Transport to NZTA. Then an “unsolicited bid” for a quite different proposition emerged from the NZ Super Fund together with a Canadian infrastructure fund (CDPQ Infra), jointly known as NZ Infra, which NZTA was asked to evaluate.
Apparently NZTA decided this proposal lacked merit and continued with its tram project along Dominion Road. Various business entities invested in the NZTA concept in anticipation of bidding for work.
The situation now is the Ministry of Transport and The Treasury are going to evaluate both concepts and Cabinet will decide their preference early next year. They will need to also get NZ First on board, because the project is not part of the coalition agreement.
To further complicate matters Hooten claims that the recently appointed NZTA chair Sir Brian Roche, was informally involved with the NZ Infra proposal along with Sir Michael Cullen at its beginning. He is said to be very enthusiastic about it.
While Brian Roche (a personal friend) is well qualified to navigate his way through this quagmire, the integrity of government procurement processes have taken a serious reputational hit.
Minister Twyford has criticised previous NZTA actions regarding NZ Infra. However it appears NZTA officials repeatedly asked the Minister to clarify the project’s objectives as to whether the focus was in getting to and from the airport in the fastest possible manner or having a tram/train to the airport, which would allow for housing densification.
Twyford thinks we can have both and has referenced London’s tube service from Heathrow to London. I have used the regular tube from Heathrow to the city, which was a nightmare after a long flight and takes about 50 minutes. There is a fast 15 minutes service from Heathrow to Paddington which leaves every 15 minutes from Heathrow and has no stops until it reaches Paddington.
I doubt a service every 15 minutes from Auckland going non stop to say Britomart, would be justified by the numbers of customers, so he really need to make up his mind about what’s required. And while its very easy to publicly slag off officials who cannot publicly answer back, I think it is an unwise practice. Officials can find ways of biting Ministerial critics.
The billion extra trees, which may or may not be additional to what the private sector would have planted, has also created picture of confused policy making. The main justification appears to be to create carbon soaks to help NZ achieve the net carbon emission goal by 2050.
As I understand it pine forests will only buy us time over the first 30 years because once harvested they will have to be replanted. Many in the rural sector don’t like the idea of the landscape being dominated by pine trees and say it will destroy local communities.
Both NZ First and Labour don’t like land being sold to foreigners, but we now have this strange situation where the Green Minister Land Information has allowed Japanese company Pan Pac Forest Products to buy around 20,000 hectares of land for forestry blocks. This decision followed from a 2018 law change which allowed the Minister to by-pass the Overseas Investment Office, the agency responsible for regulating foreign direct investment into New Zealand. Other land has being sold to foreigners who want to take advantage of this Government’s policies in respect of climate change and forestry.
As National’s Paul Goldsmith said: Foreign investors can’t buy farm land to farm, or to convert to horticulture or vineyards, but they can buy productive farm land on a massive scale to put into forestry blocks”. He said “this is creating massive distortions in land use decisions in rural New Zealand”.
In defence Winston Peters said forestry is good for marginal land. But it’s is not clear all the sales to foreigners are for land that is marginal for pastoral farming or horticulture. Meantime Shane Jones has indicated he is sensitive to rural concerns about the impact of forestry on their communities.
This saga indicates a Government that is not thinking through conflicting goals in a rigorous manner. If a National Government had made these forestry decisions there would have been a ballistic response from the parties now in the coalition.
Barrie Saunders is the Chairman of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. This opinion piece original appeared at https://barriesaunders.wordpress.com/
The following op-ed is written by Taxpayers' Union Executive Director Jordan Williams and is also available on the NZ Herald website (Premium) here.
Conventional wisdom says oppositions don't win elections – those in power lose them.
So much for conventional wisdom. If ever someone in power had set themselves up for a voter revolt, it was Phil Goff. After promising to eliminate wasteful spending and keep rates under control, his new local fuel tax, targeted rates, and waste charges worked to extend Len Brown's legacy of costly council bloat.
The undercurrent of ratepayer resentment had become a torrent of vitriol, judging by jeers at town hall debates. Going into the campaign, Phil Goff's net favourable/unfavourable rating according to internal National Party polling was negative 30 per cent – even lower than the hapless (now former) Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.
And yet Phil Goff's victory on Saturday was a trouncing. He brought in more than twice the votes of his closest challenger. Clearly, even with a deeply unpopular status quo, voters expect a palatable alternative to rally behind.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can see John Tamihere failed this basic test. Why would Aucklanders on the centre-right rally around a former Labour Minister, risking betrayal and disappointment? And why would more moderate voters elect a man who casually drops Nazi slogans into election debates?
Voters who this year should have led a ratepayer revolt opted to keep a clear conscience, voting for protest candidates like Craig Lord, or skipping the vote entirely.
Even so-called centre-right ticket "C& R Communities and Residents" could barely get more than a few candidates over the line outside of its Ōrākei stronghold. Its campaign was confused, even going so far as urging candidates not to give any specific commitments on rates and spending, despite this being the key issues it was running on. What should have been its campaign strength, and Goff's weakness, was given away.
Results outside of Auckland for the centre-right weren't much better. Christchurch re-elected the Labour-aligned Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Wellington's National Party-aligned "Wellington Party" failed to fire, and Dunedin elected the Green Party's Aaron Hawkins. In Hamilton a solid centre-right mayoral candidate was sidelined by a contest between two middling ones. The one place a Labour mayor has been booted out, in Wellington, it's in favour of a career councillor who in 2017 stood for New Zealand First.
So where are our palatable centre-right alternatives? Or to make the point more obvious: where the hell is the National Party?
Every central government election since 2002 has proven that the National Party brand is, at the very least, recognisable and palatable for centre-right voters. Faint praise indeed, but this is stellar compared to the performance of hodgepodge local tickets.
The constitutional role of political parties is to identify candidates on behalf of their supporters, to act as a quality control, a signal, and symbol. Without the National Party, every centre-right candidate has to start from nil to build recognition, and a campaign infrastructure.
No wonder the high profile candidates that were urged to stand for the Auckland Mayoralty by senior National Party figures turned it down – the party could not be relied upon to do anything to help them. This is what happened in 2016 to Vic Crone, who was well-meaning but naively talked into standing for Mayor by National Party figures who had no intention of helping her.
Even as someone who has an interest in local government, I struggled to work through the laundry list of candidates to figure out who to vote for. The Taxpayers' Union was bombarded with enquiries from members across the country asking us to issue "voting guides".
Labour and the Greens have long since cottoned on that local government matters, throwing their branding and resources at candidates they deem electable and ideologically sound. It works: On Saturday in Auckland, four Labour-branded councillors were elected, plus 27 local board members.
Those of us on the centre-right might not like the effectiveness of this strategy, but we ought to respect it. If you believe in your cause, why wouldn't you take advantage of the most valuable commodity in marketing – name recognition?
National's refusal to fly its colours in local elections is timidity bordering on negligence. Long suffering ratepayers and businesses in neglected territories from the Far North to Invercargill are more than capable of rallying behind change: they just need to see that choice on the ballot paper.
If National truly believes its principles of limited and accountable government are important, then entering local elections is a moral necessity.
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is calling on former Porirua Mayor Mike Tana to repay money clocked up on his ratepayer-funded fuel card for personal travel.
The Ernst and Young report released yesterday reveals that, within less than three months, former Porirua Mayor Mike Tana used his ratepayer-funded fuel mileage for 1,820km of personal travel, including five round trips to Palmerston North to transport his son.
Based on the Remuneration Authority’s 73-cent-per-kilometre compensation rate, Mayor Tana would have charged $1,328 in personal mileage to the ratepayer.
This level of private benefit from a ratepayer-funded fuel card is not reasonable. Running small personal errands in the work car is one thing, but if you’re embarking on a three-and-a-half hour drive for family reasons, you’d be pretty bold to charge that to your employer. In this case, the employer is the poor old Porirua ratepayer, and Mayor Tana chose to whack ratepayers not once, but on five separate occasions in just a couple of months.
There’s a simple way for Mayor Tana to clear his reputation: pay the money back. It’s not a huge sum, but it’s the decent thing to do.
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters to veto Cabinet’s proposal to give special preference to iwi and ‘indigenous firms’ during procurement processes.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “Buried in MBIE’s briefing to Phil Twyford [para. 27] as incoming Minister for Economic Development is perhaps Cabinet’s maddest idea yet: ‘indigenous procurement’ policies that ‘seek to actively increase government contracting to indigenous firms’.”
“When the Government decides who to hire, its sole consideration should be value for taxpayers. It should not use procurement as a way to do favours for particular groups.”
“Iwi authorities like Ngāi Tahu and Tainui are not little guys in need of a handout. Māori authorities already enjoy a special discounted corporate tax rate. This policy will inflate prices for taxpayers, and punish Kiwi businesses trying to compete fairly for government contracts.”
“Winston Peters always campaigns on ‘one law for all’, but does he mean it? This is a great opportunity for Mr Peters to act as a moderating influence and nip this dodgy idea in the bud.”
The relevant paragraph of the BIM states:
- When deciding on procurement, Cabinet agreed that you and the Minister for Māori Development should jointly report back on indigenous procurement policies. Indigenous procurement policies seek to actively increase government contracting to indigenous firms. One option under consideration is to broaden the supplier diversity focus to include other disadvantaged groups (e.g. Pacific firms). We are preparing advice to support you in an initial meeting with the Minister for Māori Development on procurement diversity options.
We can reveal that the Government has halted its funding of Clinton Foundation subsidiary the “Clinton Health Access Initiative” following nearly three years of campaigning on the issue by the Taxpayers’ Union.
New Zealand taxpayers, to date, have shovelled more than $10 million to the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Had the Government continued to make payments in accordance with the grant agreement, taxpayers would have been on the hook for millions more.
Soon after Hillary Clinton lost the Presidential election to Donald Trump, many western nations that were funding this diplomatic rort pulled out. Australia stopped its funding in late 2016, but New Zealand was one of the few to continue the claim that the funding was for genuine aid.
Taxpayers will celebrate the decision to finally stop using NZ Aid money to fund this scandal-plagued charity. So too will the nearly 7,000 Kiwis who signed our petition on the issue.
Official Information Act response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade below.