An article published last week by Fairfax has left an incorrect impression on the reason why the Taxpayers' Union objects to the Government signing an R&D cooperation agreement with Israel.
The Union wishes to clarify that it is the nature of the agreement – that Callaghan Innovation's corporate welfare R&D grants will favour companies working with a particular country – not that the agreement is with a particular country.
Our staff just issued a media release where I clarify:
"When asked by the journalist who called, I specifically said that as an organisation the country is irrelevant and tied my comments back to our long-held position against corporate welfare."
"The journalist then asked whether some taxpayers would have an objection to it being Israel, and I agreed but said that personally, and as an organisation, we didn't."
I'm very annoyed that the caption below my picture on the Stuff website suggests that I objected to the agreement because of being "a deal with Israel whose military is in violent conflict with Palestine". Those words are Fairfax's, not mine. Similarly, where the article states: "Williams said many taxpayers would have an issue with New Zealand signing an agreement with a Middle Eastern country whose military continued to engage in violent conflict" - again not my words.