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Taxpayer Update: NEW POLL 📊 | Donating your money to my charity 🤨 | Disability CEO "knows best" on use of Te Reo 👀

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Happy Friday,

NEW POLL: Labour up, Greens down but centre-right remains ahead 🔢

Quick, WhatsApp Maiki Sherman! It's 'panic stations'! Mayday, mayday, mayday! Abandon ship, in this month's Taxpayers' Union – Curia poll.

Whoops, wrong script. Unlike 1News, your humble Taxpayers' Union trusts readers to judge for themselves and will leave the biased sensationalist propaganda to the state-owned news network.

This month's Taxpayers' Union – Curia poll sees a small increase in support for the Government, with Labour getting a much larger boost in support but at the expense of the Greens.

Decided Party Vote over time

Compared with last month's poll, National is virtually unchanged on 37.3 percent (+0.2 points). Labour is up 4.3 points to 30.0 percent while the Greens are down by roughly the same amount to 10.2 percent (-4.4 points) just ahead of ACT who are up 2.2 points to 9.4 percent. NZ First is down 0.8 points to 5.5 percent while Te Pāti Māori is down 1.5 points to 3.0 percent. 

Here's how these results would translate to seats in Parliament:

Seats

National is steady on 47 while Labour picks up five seats to bring them to 37. The Greens drop back to 13 seats (down five) while ACT is up to 12 seats (up three). NZ First is down one seat to 7 while Te Pāti Māori is unchanged on six seats.

The combined projected seats for the centre-right is 66, up two from last month, while the combined seats for the centre-left is unchanged on 56. On these numbers, National and ACT would require the support of NZ First to form a government. This assumes that all electorate seats are held. Parliament would have an overhang of two seats. 

For favourability ratings, major voting issues, and country direction, and to find out how to get access to our full polling reports, head over to our website.

Voters won't stay happy if the Budget disappoints 🤞

Budget 2024

While our poll shows that voters still have confidence in this government at the moment, its next big test will come on Budget Day in less than three weeks.

Nicola Willis confirmed yesterday that the Government had met its very unambitious savings target. If they hadn't, they might as well have packed up and gone home.

But as ministers take a tiny pair of scissors to trim the edges of Labour's Public Sector growth, the problem continues to get worse.

Treasury's latest monthly statements show the Government has already racked up a deficit of over $5 billion in the first 9 months of the financial year alone – that's $619 million higher than what was projected in the December forecast!

And Nicola Willis knows how deep we're in it. She summed up New Zealand's structural deficit problem in her Budget Policy Statement:

"The structural increase in spending means that the Government would be in deficit – and would need to borrow to cover this deficit – even if the economy was operating at full capacity. This is not sustainable."

No kidding, Nicola! And on 30 May, we'll see whether she's willing to do something about it or continue the 'gently, gently' approach the purple-haired bureaucrats are pushing for. 👀

Even for the worst offenders – like departments that have more than tripled their payroll since 2017 – Nicola Willis' 7.5 percent spending reduction and a slap on the wrist is about as far as National seems willing to go.

When there has been an 84 percent increase in public spending in just six years. Trims and tucks are not enough to avoid the fiscal cliff. 

Let's hope the reports in today's media that the Cabinet is sleepwalking towards locking-in Labour's wasteful spending habits and comments about previous measures to beat long-term structural deficits as 'mistakes of history' are wrong.

20 sleeps until the Budget.

'Charitable donations' are nothing but a cop out 🤮

Spending your money

Last week we called out the Remuneration Authority's decision to award MPs a 10.5 percent pay rise over the course of this Parliament. 

Some MPs like Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis have said they don't need or want the rise and will instead give their salary increases to charity. Nice lines for the media, but it's a bit of a cop out.

It misses the point: We shouldn't be borrowing to pay MPs more for them to give to their choice of charity. What they are saying, in effect, is that they know how to spend your money better than you do!

Some MPs have given the "excuse" that there is no mechanism for them to refuse a pay rise. 🤦‍♂️

That's nonsense on stilts. If telling Parliament's payroll department not to pay them the extra amount is too hard, just set up an AP back to Treasury. Here are the details:

Payee: Treasury Crown Receipts Account
Bank Account Number:
03-0049-0000327-25
Bank: Westpac
Reference: MP Salary Donation

Or for those MPs who find internet banking all a bit too confusing, here's a deposit slip.

You're welcome. 😊

A tone-deaf $57,000 office makeover is an own-goal for PM ⚽️

Here at the Taxpayers' Union, we want to see Christopher Luxon do well and succeed in getting the country 'back on track' after the misadventures of the last government. But some friendly advice to Mr Luxon's office: stop cashing in on his parliamentary 'entitlements' and walk the talk about the need to cut costs.

First there was the initial defence of the $50k housing allowance, the failure to act on MPs' pay (even Ardern took action in her day!), and now another own-goal with news that  $57,000 was spent on fitting out the PM's office with new video equipment and furniture.

No wonder the Opposition is saying it's a case of "savings for thee but not for me".

Luxon's office needs to start nipping these stories in the bud before they get out of hand. If Ministers want public departments to engage in fiscal discipline, the PM and Ministers need to be willing to do the same.

But it's not just central government wasting money...

District Council goes mad! Whanganui ratepayers fund hotel + solving Gaza 🏨🇵🇸

While Whanganui ratepayers are looking down the barrel of a 10.6 percent rates hike, the Whanganui District Council is looking to pour $55 million into a ratepayer-funded luxury hotel. 

Mayor in luxury hotel

The Mayor claims there’s a "strong business case" for the hotel. Weird then that no private developer (or hotel chain) are lining up to build one without ratepayers carrying the can.

"Mayor Andrew Tripe says current tough times should not preclude council from having bold aspirations"

That's not quite the description most would use...

Forget upgrading core infrastructure or cutting back on wasteful spending to preserve public services (the Mayor is planning to cut those as part of its proposed budget), next on the agenda was a motion to [checks notes] demand a ceasefire in Gaza! 

Who wants to be the person to tell Winston Peters that Whanganui District Council has taken over New Zealand's international affairs? 😳

Ratepayers don't expect their council to create world peace, they just want them to listen when they're told not to waste time and money. This is why we need the Government to reform local government and force councils to get back in the box: core services, value for money, and no mission creep. 

Disability CEO gives middle finger to Cabinet directive on use of English language 👀

The Ministry for Disabled People, which didn't even exist until two years ago, is apparently so attached to its current name 'Whaikaha' that it is now pushing back against outright refusing the Cabinet's instruction to change the name so that it reads English first.

Worst of all, this little tantrum is being led from the top.

Chief Executive, Paula Tesoriero, sent an email to staff encouraging them to actively disobey the Government's orders to put the English name first:

“Please continue to use our full name when referring to us, Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People, and of course where possible, include the QR code for our NZSL name.'

Bureaucrats not listening

Whatever your view on the use of Māori names for public agencies, it highlights a much wider problem in Wellington. Gone are the days when public servants humbly implemented government policies and the will of the people (expressed through the ballot box). Political neutrality and service is out of fashion.

This sort of childish behaviour is what the new Government is up against. Ministers still haven't given themselves the legal ability to sack departmental CEOs (accountability lines are as complex as spaghetti and is all done through the Public Service Commission).

Until the law is changed, sending a clear message to the whole Wellington Bubble (shape up, or ship out) will be very hard indeed.

Taxpayer Talk – MPs in Depth with Tom Rutherford

This week on Taxpayer Talk, Connor sat down with newly elected National MP, Tom Rutherford.

Tom was elected as the MP for the Bay of Plenty at the 2023 General Election. Prior to entering Parliament, Tom had worked for the National Party, in local government and also had volunteered as a firefighter in his local community. Tom is also a keen cricketer, rugby referee and hockey umpire. As one of Parliament's youngest MPs, Tom is open about the fact he has had less of a career before politics than others but is clearly very passionate about doing the best for New Zealand and the Bay of Plenty.

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

That's it for this week,

Yours aye,

Callum

Callum Signature

Callum Purves
Head of Campaigns
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union 

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Media Mentions:

North Canterbury News NZ’s most popular mayor, approval poll shows

Hawke's Bay App Hastings District Council Advertising for Chief Financial Officer

interest.co.nz Budget 2024 will neither be 'big spending' nor 'austerity' according to Finance Minister Nicola Willis

RNZ Solving the World's Problems with Dave Armstrong (03:10) 

NZ Herald Labour needs a bolder leader than Chris Hipkins – Matthew Hooton


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  • Nztu Media
    published this page in News 2024-05-10 13:35:48 +1200

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