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Reacting to news that former Toitū te Waiora CEO Donovan Clarke received a taxpayer-funded settlement valued at almost $500,000, Taxpayers' Union Investigations Manager Oliver Bryan said:
"The wasteful spending that has transpired at Toitū te Waiora is a bitter pill to swallow for the New Zealand taxpayers who are unwittingly bearing the brunt of this debacle. It is utterly unacceptable that over half a million dollars have been drained from public coffers to settle a single employment dispute and foot the bill for questionable personal expenses. This is not the kind of financial stewardship that taxpayers expect from those in charge of public entities.
"In the midst of immense pressure on our vocational sector, it's staggering that such gross mismanagement is allowed to occur within an entity that was established to bolster this very sector.
"The public trust is not a limitless resource, and each of these incidents erodes that trust further. It's high time for stringent measures to be implemented to prevent such costly blunders in the future. Taxpayers expect and deserve better."
This week's slight dip in the inflation figures will not come as much consolation for families across New Zealand who are struggling with the cost of living. While the overall rate may have dropped, food price increases and domestic inflation both continue to remain stubbornly high despite the aggressive interest rate hikes by the Reserve Bank.
The Government likes to talk tough on the cost of living, but fails to acknowledge that its own spending is one of the biggest drivers of the problem.
Even the International Monetary Fund said last month that Grant Robertson needs to rein in his excessive spending. If the Finance Minister really wants to bring down inflation, he needs to cut the waste.
Here are some places he could start...
This week, we revealed that taxpayer money is being used to reimburse animal welfare fines for farmers at our taxpayer-owned farming company, Pamū (formerly known as Landcorp).
Pamū states that they are ‘proud guardians of our land and animals' but the string of offences that taxpayers have been made to stump up for paint a very different picture.
You wouldn't expect your employer to pay a speeding ticket you received while working, would you? Well that's what is happening here. Taxpayers are being forced to subsidize the small minority of farmers who mistreat their stock. This isn't even the first time this has happened, the Taxpayers' Union called out exactly the same practice by what was then called Landcorp three years ago.
Allowing Pamū farmers to get off lightly is unfair on private sector farmers who work hard to maintain world-leading standards of care. It's certainly unfair on the animals who suffer. Having taxpayers cover the fines removes individual responsibility and weakens the deterrent effect that ensures Pamū farmers treat their animals with the care they deserve. If you would like to contact Pamū urging them to stop paying these fines, you can do so here.
What roundup of Government waste would be complete without a party for politicians and public servants?
Your humble Taxpayers' Union this week revealed that despite Labour opposing the Pūhoi to Warkworth highway (remember Chris Hipkins and Grant Robertson labelling it the 'holiday highway'?), they couldn't give up an opportunity for a knees-up!
Having learnt nothing from the lavish Transmission Gully opening ceremony last year, Waka Kotahi – along with Auckland Transport this time – spent at least $44,380.74 on the opening ceremony for the Pūhoi to Warkworth highway.
And one has to question whether there was that much to celebrate. This vastly over budget $880 million road is already falling apart at the seams. Multiple internal reports made it clear that landslides were leading to cracked barriers and warped surfaces, and this has been happening regularly since at least 2019. Waka Kotahi had also only completed 8 of 117 tests at the time of opening.
Let's not forget that at the start of this month, the Government hiked taxes on petrol by 29 c/litre and road user charges by 56%. Motorists can rightly be annoyed that during a cost of living crisis, these tax hikes are paying for, well, parties.
It is time again to roll out the red carpet for another instalment of 'Reel Waste', brought to you by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC). Earlier this week, Taxpayers' Union Investigations Co-ordinator, Oliver Bryan, pulled back the curtain on their recent Cannes trip.
Four members of the NZFC's staff embarked on a jaunt to the French Riviera, courtesy of your hard-earned money, costing $73,000. They spent $31,000 on plane tickets, $24,000 on wining and dining in style, and hosting a series of events, including 'producer speed dating', and $17,000 on lavish accommodation.
And guess what? They arrived in Cannes five whole days before the festival officially kicked off and stayed for three days after it wrapped up! Now, call me a sceptic, but this sounds more of a holiday to me than a work trip. Something smells a bit off, and it isn't just the scent of croissants and escargot.
Chris Hipkins is trying to rule out introducing a capital gains tax or a wealth (i.e. asset) tax under his leadership. While he may have ended up with a few disgruntled caucus members, as the leader of a majority government, that is a promise he can make with reasonable certainty. If the Prime Minister does manage to hang on after the election, however, he will undoubtedly require the support of the Green Party who have very different ideas.
Pulling together the world’s leading economic research on the effects of asset taxes, the report finds that the Greens' proposals would be seriously damaging for our economy and would discourage savings, innovation and entrepreneurial growth.
David Parker's radical reforms to the Resource Management Act were back in Parliament this week. Despite the increasing public opposition to this 'Three Waters 2.0', Labour rammed the undemocratic proposals through their second reading just three weeks after the whopping 1,377 page select committee report was released. How many MPs do you think actually read, and fully understood, the recommendations in that time?
Our campaign against the Government’s proposed replacement to the Resource Management Act has been going strong with more and more people and politicians starting to take notice. Earlier this month, our Deputy Campaigns Manager, Connor Molloy, released a video outlining the problems with the proposed reforms and why they are destined to be a costly failure.
While proponents of centralization often make wild claims of efficiency gains through economies of scale and a more streamlined decision-making process, this is far from the reality. As Connor explains well, every time in recent history that a Government has tried to centralize power, we end up with higher costs, worse decision making and less accountability for those making bad decisions.
Resource management and urban planning is one of the key factors that will either stifle or power-up productivity and so it is fundamentally important that it is done well. You can help spread the word by taking a moment to share Connor’s video on Facebook so we can alert as many people as possible to what the Government is doing.
Thank you for your support.
NZ Herald New Taxpayers’ Union – Curia poll delivers more bad news to Labour’s Chris Hipkins and National’s Chris Luxon, but a boost for Te Pāti Māori
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The Daily Blog BOOM: NEW POLL – HUNG PARLIAMENT
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NewstalkZB The Huddle: Did the Government think they could get away with a wealth tax in an election year?
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NZ Herald Poll of polls: Race tightens with National only just ahead of Labour
NewstalkZB The Huddle: Are the Commonwealth Games worth preserving?
The Post The risk the Greens’ wealth tax poses to our economy
The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that the New Zealand Film Commission spent over $73,000 sending staff to Cannes Film Festival.
The Taxpayers' Union condemns the New Zealand Film Commission's (NZFC) recent excursion to the Cannes Film Festival. An Official Information Act request (OIA) has revealed that the NZFC sent a delegation of four staff members to the festival, costing more than $73,000 in total.
The cost of the plane tickets reached a total of $31,348.01, and the NZFC hosted a multitude of events, including two offsite events and fifteen onsite ones, such as 'producer speed dating', dinners, and lunches, which cost over $24,000. Accommodation expenses amounted to over $17,000.
Oliver Bryan, Investigations Coordinator at the Taxpayers' Union, said, "This is not the first time we have seen such excessive spending from the film commission during their junkets abroad. We were told that staff didn’t stay longer than necessary despite arriving in Cannes five days before the festival's official start and staying until three days after its conclusion. This extended stay raises serious questions about the true purpose of this excursion and whether it was simply a trip at the expense of hardworking taxpayers."
"Ironically, one of the events the NZFC staff attended was a 'best practice exchange' event. However, the lack of tangible results from this trip, coupled with the exorbitant costs borne by taxpayers, exposes the film commission's incapacity to deliver anything other than expensive vagueness. If the NZFC truly wishes to uphold best practices, they must be held accountable for their spending decisions and demonstrate concrete outcomes that benefit both the industry and taxpayers."
The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that in the past three years, Pamū Landcorp has paid $2530 in fines on behalf of their employees for animal welfare offences.
The Taxpayers’ Union is shocked this is still occurring having called this out three years ago and is renewing calls for the practice of using taxpayer money to pay fines for individuals who have committed animal welfare offences to be stopped immediately.
Pamū provided information under the Official Information Act revealing the following reimbursements had been made:
> A $500 reimbursement for an animal welfare fine for allowing a ewe to be transported that had an udder with a lesion that was bleeding or discharging. The vet inspecting the animal noted that “the condition would have been present on farm and is a chronic condition. It should have been identified at shearing, or during selection for transport. This condition would have caused pain and discomfort.”
> A $500 reimbursement for an animal welfare fine for allowing a ewe to be transported that had an udder with a lesion that was bleeding or discharging. The MPI inspector noted that the ewe “was found to have a burst unhealed udder. The udder had burst some time ago and had attempted to heal unsuccessfully with raw tissue and discharge still present. These ewes were shorn, and this likely would have been present at shearing. It should also have been found prior to transport and she should not have been selected for transport.”
> A $530 reimbursement for an animal welfare fine for allowing transport of a bobby calf that was not free from showing signs of injury.
> A $500 reimbursement for an animal welfare fine for transporting a cow with an overgrown claw and low body condition (2.5/10) which lead to additional injuries and “would have caused this animal considerable unnecessary pain and distress”. The MPI inspector believed that this condition would have been noticeable on the farm before transport. The injuries sustained by the cow during transport included abrasion injuries across multiple areas of the body, inflammation, bruising, loss of hair and bleeding.
> A $500 reimbursement for permitting a calf to be transported with a navel cord that was red, raw and fleshy and was not fit for transport.
Taxpayers’ Union Deputy Campaigns Manager, Connor Molloy, said:
“The purpose of a fine is to punish those individuals who break the law and act as a deterrent for everyone else. Fines should be paid by the offending individual, not law-abiding taxpayers. We would never expect a government agency, or a private company for that matter, to pay speeding tickets for their employees; the same level of individual responsibility and accountability should apply here too.
“Forcing taxpayers to pay the fine for farmers who have broken the Animal Welfare Act softens the individual responsibility of such behaviour and weakens the deterrent effect that ensures farmers treat their animals with the care they deserve. Occasionally mistakes happen on farm or in transport and it is not noticed until the animal is harmed. This is understandable, but the fine for mistakes and negligence provides a stinging financial reminder of farmers’ duty of care.
“Allowing Pamū Landcorp farmers to get off lightly is unfair on private sector farmers who work hard to maintain world-leading standards of care and it is certainly unfair on the animals who have to suffer as a result. While proclaiming its values on its website as being ‘proud guardians of our land and animals’, Pamū Landcorp is forcing taxpayers to effectively subsidise the small minority of farmers who mistreat their stock.
“Forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for this behaviour is abhorrent and casts a bad light on the vast majority of farmers who treat their animals with the dignity and care they deserve. We call on Pamū to commit to stop paying fines on behalf of the individual offenders immediately."
A copy of the documentation outlining the offences and internal Pamū correspondence in relation to the fines can be viewed here. (Note: The correspondence contains distressing photos of injured animals).
The Taxpayers' Union strongly condemns Waka Kotahi's overspending of nearly $4 million on a new office. Despite clear warnings about potential risks and high costs, the agency chose to spend $28.5 million on the new premises, raising serious concerns about fiscal responsibility and the prioritization of taxpayer funds.
Callum Purves, spokesperson for the Taxpayers' Union, commented, “This exorbitant expense equates to an astonishing $25,900 per staff member, with Waka Kotahi choosing the highest cost among the short-listed options. The decision to overlook warnings of higher fit-out costs and potential negative public perception is particularly alarming. Whatever desirable features they wanted, they cannot justify such a significant overspend.
Waka Kotahi has exceeded its initial budget of $24.8 million by a substantial 14.9%. This pattern of lavish spending on staff accommodation while neglecting critical infrastructure is becoming more and more common, all while our country's infrastructure goes to rack and ruin. Taxpayers rightly worry about such mismanagement of funds, as it directly impacts the safety and quality of our infrastructure. Yet the Minister remains silent.”
The 2023 Census – a complete failure or an absolute disaster?
It was a census that Statistics Minister Deborah Russell said she would ‘absolutely’ stake her job on if there wasn’t a 90% response rate or higher. But as the collection process officially came to an end, and the raw figure putted out at just over 89%, not only did Russell keep her job, but she even had the nerve to call it all a ‘success.’
Maybe ‘success’ is in the eye of the beholder, but how anyone can look at this year’s edition and call it anything other than a disaster, frankly, is unfathomable.
For starters, the cost has been enormous. Initially, the budget was $210 million. That was already a significant jump from the funding used in 2018, but Stats NZ advised that it would only barely be enough to provide data in line with statutory requirements. As a result, the Government injected the Census with extra funding to combat growing operational costs and threw even more at it to mitigate the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle. Somehow, all up, the total figure ballooned to well over $300 million.
With the vast amount of funding available to Stats NZ, you’d think they would comfortably have enough to deliver a Census with excellent data and an efficient delivery process. As it turns out, apparently not…
The raw individual response rate ended at a meagre 89% meaning it falls under the 90% target set by Stats NZ through their KPIs. That figure could be even lower too given that the raw rate is calculated using duplicate responses and outdated population statistics. For context, the 2018 figure ended at an embarrassing response rate of 82%, a truly pathetic outcome given the cost. This year’s census has only provided marginally better results on a budget of nearly $200 million more.
It looks worse still when you compare these results to the censuses prior to 2018. In 2013 the national response rate was 92.9%, done on a third of the budget, and in 2006, the response rate was 94.8%. Consider that Stats NZ’s most expensive proposal for the 2023 Census of over $280 million aimed for an individual response rate similar to 2006 figures. With a budget of almost $40 million more than that, the 89% response rate we got isn’t just underwhelming, it’s appalling.
And not only did this census fail to deliver for New Zealand as a whole, it also disproportionally failed to appropriately count Māori and Pasifika for the third time running. In 2013 the response rate for Māori and Pasifika was under 90%. That was concerning enough, but nowhere near as bad as it was in 2018 where response rates fell to below 70% for both groups respectively. Stats NZ prioritised shifting that disproportion for the 2023 edition, yet the response rates in these communities have barely improved.
One might claim that the collection process was hampered by Cyclone Gabrielle, a disaster which tore right through Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne. But whilst that may excuse the disappointing outcomes through those regions, it fails to explain the lack of response elsewhere. Northland and Waikato were notably poor, and almost the whole North Island had responses below 90% going into the final week.
Despite these clear failings, Russell will pretend the KPIs don’t exist and continue to compare the results solely against the mess that was 2018, but this couldn’t be more misleading.
For context, the 2018 census was an experiment gone disastrous. It implemented a completely new design from its predecessors aimed at reducing costs and expediting the transition towards digitalization. Delivery was almost entirely structured through online access codes and distributed and collected using a heavily reduced ground crew. Not only did the team fail to keep costs down, but the online approach didn’t work…at all. Almost a fifth of New Zealanders failed to complete the census and nearly a third of all Māori and Pasifika
As a result, the independent review of the Census was scathing of the process. It was so damning that even Stats NZ’s Chief Executive, Liz MacPherson, couldn’t defend it and resigned. Core to its message was how the model undervalued the importance of paper in the delivery process and focused too much on the online-first approach, but it also acknowledged how the “aggressive reduction in the field workforce meant Statistics NZ had a reduced capacity to respond when the response rate began to fall below acceptable tolerance levels.” The review recommended that both points were addressed for future versions of the Census.
Consequently, changes were made to this year’s model. The number of paper forms initially deployed was increased and the field staff capacity boosted. Still though, 56% of households only received online access codes and the expansion of ground crew was well short of what was required. In the end, only 3500 workers were deployed making it barely half the size of the number in 2013.
Material and operational costs of delivering a traditional census have increased over the years, but the importance of quality data has never been more paramount. Given that the budget was well over twice the price of 2018 and 3 times more than 2013, why didn’t the team go back to basics? In all five of the initial proposals, Stats NZ had virtually the exact same delivery model. Given that resourcing ended up being practically infinite, Stats NZ could have sent paper forms to all households by default and possibly even doubled their ground crew.
Regardless of poor response rates and an inadequate delivery model, it was how Stats NZ incentivized people to complete their forms which was arguably the most concerning.
In May, Stats NZ partnered up with Warriors NZ using $150,000 of taxpayers’ money to provide free tickets and food to those who attended one of the games and filled out their Census form. It gave those stragglers a chance to complete their census and earn a prize and it was rightly denounced as incredibly unfair.
As it turns out, though, the Warriors Campaign wasn’t the only form of bribery used by Stats NZ. The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union asked for costings on all incentives used to promote the Census. According to our OIA, both food and fuel vouchers were given out at up to $100 a head with a total budget of $1 million to support communities nationally and another $1 million for households in the Auckland region.
On the one hand, rewarding those who were too lazy to complete their forms on time is an insult to those who had already done so. More concerningly, though, it makes a mockery of the importance of completing the census. If people think that the only consequence for failing to fill in their forms is free food, why would anyone take it seriously.
Enforcing hefty fines on those who reject the Census is paramount for maintaining its national significance. Throwing millions of dollars at bribing those who have failed to complete what is legally required of them will only reinforce the apathy some New Zealanders already have towards completing their forms.
If providing an excellent Census wasn’t pivotal enough this year, then 2028 will absolutely be make or break. We cannot have our most important source of statistics be derived from poor data once again.
Russell will continue to hang her hat on the improvement from five years ago. Frankly though, for $317m, New Zealanders deserve much better.
It has been another busy week in politics. While the Prime Minister has been away in China, his Ministers have continued to cause him problems at home. Having already lost three Ministers in the last few months, he will have been relieved to hear that the Privileges Committee found Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti, not guilty of contempt of Parliament. Instead it found that her incorrect statement to the House on the publication of school attendance data was simply due to "a high degree of negligence". Well that's ok then!
On Tuesday, the Environment Select Committee dropped its reports on the two bills with which the Government proposes to replace the Resource Management Act (RMA). The reports setting out the Committee's recommended amendments total a staggering 1,377 pages – longer than the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy!
While we are still working through the detail of these reports, from what we've seen, this revised version of the bills is even worse than the original. With hundreds of amendments to work through and just two months left before Parliament rises, it is simply inexcusable to seek to rush through such a fundamental and radical change to the planning system. We called on the Government to go back out to consultation, but David Parker told Heather du Plessis-Allan he had no intention of doing so.
In better news, our campaign to raise awareness about these reforms seems to be having an impact. Taxpayers’ Union – Curia polling undertaken last month showed strong public opposition. 48% of respondents believed that planning rules should be set by local councils compared with just 26% who preferred that these rules be set by the proposed regional planning committees. 26% of respondents were unsure.
As with Three Waters, our roadshow tour has strengthened the positions of opposition parties. After previously only having committed to amend any replacement to the RMA that the Government might pass before the election, this week the National Party joined ACT in committing to repeal. The Greens also dissented in the Select Committee report, which is why Labour wants to ram this through before it loses its majority at the election. To help us put a stop to that, chip in to the fighting fund here.
The search for the purpose of the New Zealand Space Agency continues, and most recently, it took the form of a sky-high junket for two staff members in the USA.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) treated some of New Zealand's Space Agency staff to business-class flights to Washington DC, costing $31,000. They attended the 25th Annual Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Transportation Conference (no, we don't know it either).
But the trip wasn't just about the conference itself. Oh no, MBIE officials decided to extend their stay for a leisurely five days. The conference itself lasted only two days. The officials enjoyed the luxurious Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel, incurring a bill exceeding $5,500. Nice 'work' if you can get it!
MBIE defended the business-class tickets and the length of trip, claiming they were "in line with policy." Seems like a very tone-deaf policy during a cost-of-living crisis.
We say it's time MBIE focused on its actual responsibilities instead of squandering our hard-earned cash on justifying the existence of our Space Agency.
On the Common Room this week, our Co-founder, David Farrar, discussed media bias in New Zealand.
The makeup of New Zealand's media landscape with very few centre-right media outlets is causing New Zealanders to lose trust in media. We know from research and scientific polling that journalists who classify their political ideology as left-leaning outnumber those who classify themselves as right-leaning by 5 to 1 – a stark contrast to the New Zealand population.
David also examines the controversial Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF). While media outlets receiving taxpayer funds are keen to stress that this does not bias their reporting, our public polling shows that most New Zealanders believe government funding undermines media independence – something that is in itself harmful even if the funding has no real influence at all.
As the fund is wrapping up (although some projects will remain funded until 2026) we have created a list of the top recipients of the PIJF since its inception.
You might remember the open letter from last month signed by various wealthy people, celebrities, and former civil servants that called for higher taxes. The letter began with "We write as people who are frustrated with how much tax we pay. We want to pay more".
We were concerned with how distressing not paying enough tax must be for these individuals so your humble Taxpayers’ Union kindly wrote to them with details on how they could make an additional contribution to the Government's coffers by making a donation into the Crown Treasury bank account.
A month on, we checked in with Treasury to see how many millions had been generously deposited by these virtuous benefactors. We were shocked to discover that not a single person who said they wanted to pay more had made a contribution. Not even one.
These champagne socialists clearly weren't prepared to put their money where their mouths were. As we said at the time, we all agree that good public services are important, but there is so much Government waste that needs to be cut back, that tax rises are simply unjustifiable.
I hope you managed to catch our advert in yesterday's New Zealand Herald on Grant Robertson's latest action to clean out your wallet. As of today, the Government hikes petrol tax by 29 cents/L, Road User Charges by (at least) 55%, alcohol taxes by 6.6%, and the ute tax by up to $1,725.
The cost of living crisis has been driven by the cost of government crisis. Government spending is out of control and has forced the Reserve Bank to hike interest rates, which will compound the pain for families needing to renew their mortgages.
This unnecessary cash grab will be used to fund nice-to-haves such as fancy new Teslas for the already well off, loss-making railways, and barely used cycleways. Hardworking families, farmers and tradies are being forced to subsidize the lifestyles of better-off city residents.
These tax hikes are completely avoidable if the Government can bring itself to stop wasting other people’s hard-earned money.
Thank you for your support.
Newshub Indefensible, or necessary? The tool to solve health inequities that turned into a political football
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Fed Talks Restoring Farmer Confidence: Feds' General Election Platform 2023 (17:52)
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Government must stop giving handouts to universities returning surpluses
Responding to news that a number of universities returned significant surpluses last year while still calling for government handouts, Taxpayers’ Union Campaigns Manager, Callum Purves, said:
“Universities across New Zealand have been crying poverty for months, and in response this week the Government announced it would be handing universities another $128 million of taxpayers’ money.
“As it turns out, a number of universities were not being particularly upfront with the public.
“For example, Victoria University has been one of the squeakiest wheels, when it turns out that last year they returned an operating cash surplus of $31.4 million. Worse still, last year they also found the spare money to spend a net $44.8 million on land and new buildings.
“Clearly this shows that some cash-grabbing unis are not in anything close to the financial dire straits their PR teams would have you believe.
“Rather than caving in to such demands, the Government should do its due diligence before throwing away hundreds of millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.”
Taxpayers' Union Exposes Outrageous Government Junket to Space Conference
The Taxpayers' Union has uncovered that the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) indulged New Zealand's Space Agency in a recent trip to the USA, costing $36,760.07. An Official Information Request revealed that the NZ Space Agency flew business class to Washington DC and stayed in luxury accommodation while attending the 25th Annual Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Transportation Conference.
The lavish excursion saw MBIE officials staying at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel for five days, despite the conference lasting only two days. The hotel bill alone amounted to over $5,500, averaging more than $1,000 per night. Furthermore, taxpayers were burdened with a hefty price tag of over $31,000 for business class travel, which MBIE defended as being "in-line with policy."
Oliver Bryan, Taxpayers' Union Investigations Co-ordinator, expressed deep concern over this misuse of taxpayer money:
"This seems to have been an exercise in flying around the world trying to find a purpose for the Space Agency's continued existence. Their five days in Washington DC for a two-day conference that no one has ever heard of is a clear example of officials having a junket at taxpayer expense.
"It is outrageous that hardworking New Zealanders are footing the bill for a lavish jolly like this. It's high time the Ministry began focusing on its actual remit rather than wasting our money on once again proving the Space Agency's is nothing but a government vanity project."
Commenting on the news that the new Three Waters reform plan has already blown out costs by around $1 billion, Taxpayers’ Union Campaigns Manager, Callum Purves, said:
“Three Waters is adding layer upon layer of pointless bureaucracy. Inefficiency is baked into the design of these reforms, so is it really any wonder that they are already behind schedule and over budget?
“It has been clear from the get-go that Three Waters offered tremendously poor value for taxpayers’ money. More bureaucracy, no job losses, yet lower costs was a sum that never added up. McAnulty’s attempt to pull the wool over voters’ eyes with the changes introduced to Parliament earlier this month simply make this power grab even more expensive, and yet the Government is still failing to meet even these revised targets.
“The public has made it clear that they do not support seizing community water assets, whether they’re being handed to four distant entities or ten.”
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