Lower Taxes, Less Waste,
More Accountability

Championing Value For Money From Every Tax Dollar

Taxpayer Update: MPs set to get monster pay hike🍾👯‍♂️ | New Report: Up in Smoke 😱 | Luxon gets into spat with trade unions ✊

Click here to subscribe to the Taxpayers' Union newsletter

It's been another busy week. More complaints from the media of "public service cuts" without giving the context that growth in recent years has been many times more, the team has exposed yet another expensive government rebrand, and we expose the tax hike on insurance most people have never heard of.

Remuneration body set to whack up MPs' pay 🥸

Backbench MPs look set to pocket thousands more dollars this year if media speculation on the soon-to-be-announced determination by the Remuneration Authority proves correct.

Late last year, we wrote to (and met with) the Remuneration Authority to make the case for freezing MPs' pay until cost-of-living crisis has ended with inflation and government spending back under control.

With three times the median wage already the 'base' salary for the lowest ranking MPs (many most of us have never heard of), it will come as a slap in the face to those struggling to make ends meet. Contrary to what they'll have you believe, our MPs are actually already well paid compared to overseas legislators, especially when you take into account our relative decline in GDP per capita.

Throw in all the extra perks like free accommodation, tax-free allowances, and taxpayer-funded meals, and a backbench MP is earning being paid more than $200,000 as it is.

When most households are being forced to cut back on the nice-to-haves, why should our political class be any different?

Sign the petition: Freeze MPs pay 🖊 🧊 💰

More than 16,000 taxpayers have signed our petition against a tone-deaf increase in MPs' pay. 

👉 Sign our petition against MP pay hikes here 👈

🦸 A Taxpayer Hero? Nicola Willis says she doesn't want pay rise 🚫 💰 ⬆️ 

Blue Chris and Red Chris are both dodging the question on whether MPs deserve a pay raise – saying it should be left up to the independent Remuneration Authority (they know what's coming!)

But Finance Minister, Nicola Willis, has nailed her colours to the mast, saying she "does not want" a pay rise, and would feel "really, really, really uncomfortable" if she was offered one. She's not the only one.

As the Minister holding the purse strings, she more than anyone knows that a big bump in MPs' salaries now would be completely unjustified. We hope are sure that when the Remuneration Authority makes its decision, she will do the right thing and refuse to take the increase. 

Callaghan Innovation's $173,000 website makeover 💅 💸

The Taxpayers' Union has uncovered yet another rebranding splurge this time from one of the Government's R&D (and corporate welfare) funding agencies.

They spent a cool $173,000 on a website and logo makeover and, as far as we can tell, the only difference between the old and new website is a different font, a few new pictures and a slightly different shade of green!

Oh, and it's become much harder to find how they've spent your money and who they've given taxpayer-funded grants to...

And this rebrand happened was signed off just as the new Government was being sworn into office and before it had a chance to implement its cost-saving targets. Hmm... 🤔

TRUTH REVEALED: Public Service staffing savings are a drop in the ocean 🤏 

From the media's doomsday reporting on the Government's Public Service savings, you'd think these poor departments were being stripped to the bone.

In fact, when you compare the proposed staffing cuts so far to the enormous hiring spree we saw under the last government, taxpayers should instead be asking why the new Government's savings are so small.

☝️Some missing context behind the Government's "heartless" public service cuts☝️

Since 2017, the number of public servants has grown by a staggering 39%, or an extra 18,477 full-time roles. And, in just the final 6 months of last year, it grew by 2,582.

Yet according to RNZ's calculations, the total number of jobs expected to be culled is just 1,648.

That won't even get numbers back down to what they were just a few months ago! Wellington's 'day of reckoning' is yet to come...

Junior staff hung out to dry as executives scramble to save themselves🕴💰

Meanwhile, we're also hearing that managers at the Public Service are saving their own skins by selling out their junior employees.

Make no mistake, bureaucrats in all roles desperately need stripping back. But if there is one area that needs an overhaul more than any other – it's bloated management.

Just take a look at the figures 👇

Public Service departments have hired an extra 2,725 managers since June 2017. That’s a 51% increase in just 6 years! For context, the NZ population only grew roughly 8.8% in size over that same period.

That means the Government's core departments have been hiring managers at nearly six times the rate of the population increase.

As we've said time and again, if the Government wants to ensure that these savings are made in the right places, then Ministers must lead the charge themselves and not abdicate responsibility to the very chief executives responsible for the hiring bonanza. 

NEW REPORT: Fire and Emergency levy hikes are unjustified 🔥 💵

Taxpayers' Union Economist, Ray Deacon, has taken Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to task with an explosive new report revealing significant failings within FENZ and questioning the need for a 12.8% hike to levies on insurance used to fund it.

Taxpayers were promised extensive benefits and savings from a fire service mega-merger but Ray's analysis shows that the promised savings have gone up in smoke. His key findings are:

🔥 Expenses have continued to increase significantly with the promised savings and efficiencies non existent. Total costs have blown out from $496.3 million in 2017/18 to $737.3 million in 2022/23 

🔥 Spending on consultants and professional fees has blown out. Since establishment, FENZ has exceeded its budget by, on average, 24% per year.

🔥 The 12.8% levy increase from 1 July 2024 is easily avoided, if FENZ got its costs under control.

🔥 No independent post-implementation review of the actual costs and benefits of the merger has occurred.

Ray and I have met with the Minister of Internal Affairs, Brooke van Velden, to share the report's findings and have called on her to stop the 1 July levy increase and commission an independent review into FENZ.

You can read Ray's full report here.

Luxon squares up against public-servant-loving trade unions 💥🥊

The Prime Minister came out swinging this week against both the Public Service Association (PSA) and the Cartel Council of Trade Unions (CTU) saying they "didn't seem to care about working New Zealanders anymore".

“If the PSA, or the CTU for that matter, actually cared about low- and middle-income workers, they would’ve come out in support of our tax relief plans that we’ve been talking about for the last two years"

We say the PM is bang on.

The CTU and the PSA consistently argue against tax relief that will benefit hundreds of thousands of working New Zealanders in favour of protecting a few hundred public servants in Wellington. 

Well, here at New Zealand's largest union, we stand with the PM. Delivering tax relief and culling the bloated Public Service bureaucracy is the morally right thing to do.

Even Paddy Gower doesn't think the media shouldn't get a bailout 🚫🗞💵

A new Auckland University of Technology report reveals that just one third of Kiwis still trust the news.

It's a sobering statistic, but not a surprising one. Many New Zealanders feel that news coverage doesn't tell all sides of the stories and is seen through a Wellington-centric lens. The fact that many media companies are still getting taxpayer funding through the Public Interest Journalism Fund doesn't help the perception. 

But TV3's Paddy Gower doesn't agree. When asked by Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB what he thought of people who had concerns about the political neutrality of the media, he said they were just a bunch of "Facebook keyboard warriors" who should "get stuffed".

However, he did have one moment of clarity:

"The media doesn't need a bailout. So, if anyone's talking about some sort of cash bailout, we don't need that. The media does need to survive commercially."

Much in the same way that the Government would never have been expected to prop up the DVD market when the internet became a much more accessible alternative, we shouldn't expect terrestrial media to be kept alive by taxpayers. 

We're hearing the Government is still looking at options to help out the likes of Newshub to keep them afloat. If you agree with Paddy that the Government should tell those wanting another media bailout to "get stuffed" (in more polite terms) click here to send Minister for Media and Communications an email.

Taxpayer Talk – MPs in Depth with Andrew Hoggard 🎙🐗

This week on Taxpayer Talk, Connor sat down with newly elected ACT MP, Andrew Hoggard.

Andrew is a Manawatu farmer, has an Agricultural Economics degree and, prior to entering Parliament, was the President of Federated Farmers. Andrew has stepped straight into the role as Minister for both Biosecurity and Food Safety along with a number of associate portfolios. In this interview, Andrew discusses his life before politics, the issues he sees facing rural New Zealand and gives some insight into his experiences working in Canada where the dairy sector operates very differently with significant government control and intervention. 

Listen to the episode on our website | Apple | Spotify | Google Podcasts | iHeart Radio

That's it for this week,

Yours aye,


Callum Signature

Callum Purves
Head of Campaigns
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union 



Media Mentions:

Callaghan Innovation spends $173,000 on rebranding as 30 jobs cut

The Post 
As Luxon struggles for connection, he should break out the compassion

Bassett, Brash and Hide 
PETER WILLIAMS: How can media survive?

The Post 
The political art of saving the media, or not

NZ Herald 
Exclusive poll: Who do Aucklanders fancy as their next mayor? Have your say

NZ Herald 
New poll finds majority of voters still want tax cuts

NZ Herald 
Winston Peters-Antony Blinken statement proves New Zealand is in the middle of a seismic foreign policy shift - Audrey Young

The week in politics: Targets, truants and MPs' pay pickle

An Exclusive Interview with ScoMo

 The Huddle: Could Shortland Street be the latest program facing cuts?

The Platform 
What Do Kiwis Think of a Taxpayer-Backed Media Bailout?

Waatea News 
Claudette Hauiti | Radio Waatea Parliamentary Press Gallery Reporter

StuffAnatomy of a political misfire: How the PM’s accommodation supplement saga unfolded

Newstalk ZB 
Barry Soper: ZB senior political correspondent on the Green Party's bump in the polls

Whaakata Maori 
Support for new coalition government drops - new poll

NewstalkZB News Fix 
Afternoon Edition: 09 April 2024

NZ Herald 
Lobby group claims Tauranga’s commission ‘trampling over local democracy’

Press Releases:
More Competition, Not Less, The Solution To Failing Councils

NEW POLL: Kiwis Want Nicola Willis To Hold Firm On Tax Relief

NEW POLL: New Zealanders Oppose Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts For Private Media Companies

Sky-High Interest Rates Show Kiwi Families Need Government To Show Some Fiscal Responsibility

Government Must Clamp Down Harder On Managerial Class With Public Service Cuts

NEW POLL: More Bad News For Centre-Right As Government Parties Drop In Support

MPs Must Not Take Pay Hike While Kiwis Go Backwards

Government KPIs Show Progress But Lack Ambition

Revealed: Callaghan Innovation Wastes Over $170,000 On Rebrand As Staff Call Out Job Cuts

New Report: Fire And Emergency Levy Increase Unjustified, Performance Review Needed

Showing 1 reaction

  • Callum Purves
    published this page in News 2024-04-16 12:29:18 +1200

Join Us

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


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.