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More Accountability

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Taxpayer Update: 18 months to assess whether water tank = fire risk 🤦‍♂️ | Tauranga's grifters lobby to stay on gravy train 🚂 | Labour's 182 questions about the Taxpayers' Union 🤨

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The geniuses at MBIE take 18 months to officially decide that a water tank is not a fire risk 💦 🔥

The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) took 18 long months of umming and ahing to come to the bold conclusion that a water tank on a Kāinga Ora development did not – in fact – present a fire risk.

Peter Hird, MBIE's Principle Advisor eventually made an official determination that:

 "[It is] very unlikely a fire could occur in the tank given that the plastic tank would contain water and air"

No .... Sherlock!

Remember too that these are the same people who are desperately trying to justify their own bureaucrats. I mean, without them, how would we know water tanks are 'very unlikely' to burst into flames?

Sticky government-driven inflation is still punishing Kiwis 📈 😳

Stats NZ have published the latest inflation figures showing that prices have increased by 4% in the last year – making it now 34 months since it was last inside the Government's target range of 1 to 3%.

While the rate of price increases is slowing a bit, domestic inflation – the inflation that is driven up by the huge increases in Government spending – is still running red hot. The latest figure of 5.8% is just as bad as it was last quarter.

The difference between "tradable" inflation (i.e. what we get in from the rest of the world) and "non-tradables" (domestic) suggests that while the rest of the world will start to lower interests rates, New Zealand is in for a longer hangover. That's not good.

Those living paycheck to paycheck – especially those facing higher mortgage repayments – will feel it. We say Nicola Willis needs to go much further and faster to tighten the Government's own belt in next month's budget to get domestic inflation back under control.

Misinformation on public service 'cuts' continues 📰 🔄

Speaking of belt tightening, the reporting on the Government's Public Service 'cuts' through Wellington-tinted lenses continues to be one-sided.

From the wilful misinterpretation of back-office savings as 'stabbing at the heart of front-line'  to the unquestioning regurgitation of public sector union talking points, most of the reporting on the Public Service reductions fails to put the savings in context. 

Let's be very clear – it's not nice to lose your job and most of these public servants are in this position through no fault of their own.

But let's get the story straight.

The Government's 'cuts' to the bureaucracy are not drastic. In, fact, they are small fry when compared with the astronomical staffing increases we saw under six years of Labour.

👆Mr Luxon is miles off his pre-election promise to cut 14,000 bureaucrats👆

And the Government knows it. In the run up to the election, Christopher Luxon and National were banging on about how we had seen very little in return for an extra 14,000 (now 18,000) bureaucrats since 2017.

"We're spending a billion more each and every week, when you think we've added 14,000 more bureaucrats to Wellington and yet on the economy, on health, on housing, on crime and on education everything is going backwards, the outcomes are going backwards." (Luxon 2022)

But on current plans Luxon isn't dismissing anywhere near that.

In fact, on current projections, the Public Service won't event be stripped back beyond what it was at the election back in October.

Sign the petition: Save the money, sack the bureaucrats 🖊 ✖️🧑‍💼️

The Government was elected to take a chainsaw to the bloated back-office bureaucracy. Instead, the Mr Luxon's barely applied a bonsai pruner.

Sack the Bureaucratic

If you agree that Luxon needs to stick to his promise and sack the 14,000 extra bureaucrats that were hired under Labour's last minute hiring bonanza, take 30 seconds to sign our petition calling on the Government to go further and faster with their staffing reductions to cut the waste and balance the books.

👉 Sign the petition calling on Luxon and his Government to sack Labour's 14,000 extra public servants 👈

Labour tackling the real issue on voters' minds: the Taxpayers' Union 🧐

After a slow start from the now opposition Labour Party, we're happy to report that its MPs are making good use of Parliamentary written questions to Ministers. Written questions are the primary way MPs hold the Government to account and elicit detailed information out of Ministers and their officials.

But, it seems Labour's political radar about what New Zealanders are most worried about right now is a little off. Cost of living crisis? Tax relief? Budget deficits? Infrastructure? Government debt? No, no, no, the real issue deserving His Majesty's Loyal Opposition's attention is none other than the Taxpayers' Union!

No less than sixteen Labour MPs have taken the time to file 182 questions about the Taxpayers' Union since they've been in opposition. That's more than one question about the Taxpayers' Union every day since the election! 

While we're flattered that Chris Hipkins and Labour are taking so much interest in the work we do, we do have to ask ... 

Next time, save the money, pick up the phone 📞 

We know Chris Hipkins' staff read our emails (hi, Chris! 👋) so next time, rather than waste hundreds of hours of officials' time, just ask us for the information! What we say to Ministers is no different to what we say publicly (our "secret agenda" is no secret: Lower Taxes, Less Waste, More Accountability) and we'll be more than happy to provide any information you like!

With Labour so interested in our work, (and wanting to see every communication our supporters have with Ministers) your humble Taxpayers' Union has decided to cut out the middle man and will now copy Labour into our advocacy emails sent to Ministers.

In fact, we've starting doing it already. Willie Jackson wanted to know what we've been saying to Melissa Lee about media bailouts, hoping to 'catch us out'. Well, we've copied him into the 7,000+ emails sent by our supporters to Melissa Lee on the subject. You're welcome, Willie! 💁‍♂️ 

Unelected Commissioners use ratepayer money to lobby for postponement of democracy (and keep cushy jobs!) 🙄

Earlier this month, we slammed Tauranga City Council Commission Chair, Anne Tolley for some disturbing comments she made on an interview with Mike Hosking, where she warned against going back to a democratically elected council as it would bring back the 'old guard' and make the city go 'backwards.'

Apparently the good people of Tauranga might vote for the wrong people! 😱

Anne Tolley also said she would 'personally'  prefer a 'hybrid model' of democracy, where the council would be made up of elected representatives and unelected commissioners (i.e. her!).

Her reasoning: because "at times [democracy] fails."

Yes – you read that right.

But it turns out that wasn't even just her 'personal' wish. In fact, according to a letter sent by the Commission to the Local Government Minister late last year, all four unelected commissioners have been pushing hard to make this hybrid version of democracy a reality.

In that letter they even refer to a report they commissionedwhich cost local ratepayers $32,817that advocates a hybrid model with a 60/40 split for the next two elections, prolonging the return to a fully elected council until 2028!

What rubbish. There is no such thing as a hybrid democracy. You either have democracy, or you don't. Tauranga residents have waited long enough for a return to accountability and they shouldn't have to wait any longer.

Anne Tolley's $1,800-a-day gravy train needs to be derailed 🚂

While Anne 'unelected' Tolley might still be drinking Nanaia Mahuta's 'anything-but-democracy' cool-aide (and savouring the $1800-a-day she's being paid), we were delighted to see one of Tauranga's local National MPs Tom Rutherford rule out Tolley's ridiculous proposal.

Tauranga-based ACT MP, Cameron Luxton, has also previously called for the commissioners powers to be limited in the run up to July's election. It's not too late, Simeon...

2024 student interns: applications now open  🧑‍💻️ 🆕

Rhys Budge

Do you know any bright young students based in Wellington who might be interested escaping the left-wing groupthink that are our universities?

We're looking for our next intake of part-time student interns.

The internships  are varied as we like to play to people's strengths and interests. On any given day, our interns:

🔸 File information requests with government departments to expose wasteful spending

🔸 Help draft media releases for our spokespeople on breaking news stories;

🔸 Write briefing papers or short reports on public policy issues;

🔸 Create video and other content for our social media platforms;

🔸 Man our stands at grassroots events such as Fieldays and A&P shows

If you know someone with a keen interest in politics, public policy, or economics who wants to gain some valuable experience working in New Zealand's best union, send them our way.

Taxpayer Talk – MPs in Depth with Mike Butterick 🎙 🧈

This week on Taxpayer Talk, Connor sat down with newly elected National MP, Mike Butterick

Mike, a farmer and farming advocate, was elected as the MP for Wairarapa in the 2023 General Election. He has previously been involved with Federated Farmers and was the spokesperson for 50 Shades of Green, a lobby group addressing forestry encroachment on farmland. Mike is also active in community organisations, including serving as a director of Wings over Wairarapa. Passionate about education, his constituents, and the rural sector, Mike advocates strongly for local, community-led solutions to various issues.

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:

Democracy Project Bryce Edwards: Will politicians let democracy die in the darkness?

Kiwiblog Fire and Emergency costs blowout

1News A thousand govt jobs cut in 'black day' for public service

Newsroom New Zealand’s crisis of confidence

Chris Lynch Media RNZ spends $71,000 on Facebook ads while supporting bill to regulate digital giants

Telegraph UK What New Zealand’s U-turn on smoking ban could mean for Rishi Sunak

Hawke’s Bay App Taxpayers’ Union slams eye-watering Hastings rates hike

The Listener Danyl McLauchlan: Politicians may not like the daily news media, but they’ll miss them when they’re gone

RNZ Political commentators Dale Husband and Liam Hehir (10:35)

Press Releases:

NEW POLL: Strong support for inflation adjustment of tax brackets to end the stealth tax

Government spending still driving cost of living skyward

REVEALED: RNZ’s Hypocrisy Over Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill

Christchurch City Council's stadium obsession needs to stop

Taxpayers’ Union Slams Eye-Watering Hastings Rates Hike

Rates Increase Shocker – Gore Residents Face Rates Hike Of 21.4%

RMA Changes Welcome, But Must Go Further

Showing 1 reaction

  • Callum Purves
    published this page in News 2024-04-23 14:21:51 +1200

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