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Taxpayer Update: Taxpayer Victory Trifecta! 🎉 | Climate Change Commission must go 🤢✂️ | NZ still in recession📉💲

The Parliamentary Press Gallery had their end of year knees-up that went well into the night on Wednesday, and most of the major news shows have have now wrapped up for the year. 

But the political year is far from over! Indeed, the real moment of truth on whether Nicola Willis is serious about getting the economy back on track by slashing the costs of government will come with her so-called mini-budgetmicro-budgetnano budget out on Wednesday.

Nano budget

Grant Robertson's fiscal traps: How bad are the books? 🧾

At the same time we see the Nano Budget, we'll also get to see the latest set of books from Treasury on the Government's true fiscal situation. As Jordan talked about on Newstalk ZB on Thursday with Heather du Plessis-Allanwe are hearing about more fiscal landmines all over Wellington  – with the KiwiRail Cook Strait mega-ferries mega-cost overrun being just one of many.

Your humble Taxpayers' Union will still be at work and inside the Treasury lock-up to report to you the moment the embargo is lifted on Wednesday. Just how large will the sea of red ink be that Mr Robertson has left us (and our kids).  

Tick tock, tick tock... goes the national debt clock... 👀

Taxpayer Victory Trifecta! Previous Government's policies scrapped 🎉

Much of Wellington is already off on their pre-booked summer fiestas because, by this time of year Parliament is usually winding down. But the new Government's rubber is just hitting the road with its 100-day plan, and announcement that the summer (at least for Wellington) is to be cut short.

Not only will Parliament be back in January (we can't recall this being the case in a generation), but Christopher Luxon is calling Cabinet back to the Beehive to meet in the second week of January!

Earlier this week in a Wellington cafe, one of our staffers overheard the grumblings of a very grumpy mandarin who had made the usual seven week-long summer holiday booking and was very upset at the prospect of having it cut short. 

Welcome to the real world, Sir Humphrey!

Reserve Bank refocussed on tackling inflation 📈🏦

Reserve Bank

New Zealand was world leading with the creation in 1989 of a Reserve Bank with a single mandate of keeping inflation down. Scores of countries around the world have followed our lead. But the last Labour government sought to tinker with the system and give the Bank another target of keeping unemployment low. And we all know how that worked out. 

The problem is that Grant Robertson had effectively given Reserve Bank one lever – setting interest rates – and asked the Governor to pull it in two different directions. Up to bring inflation down or down to bring unemployment down. Clearly the experiment failed and inflation has spiralled out of control over the past two years – helped of course by Mr Robertson’s own fiscal recklessness pouring money into wasteful projects that simply make inflation worse. 

The new Government's return to the single mandate is a good first step towards getting inflation (i.e. the rising costs of living) under control. But, if the new Government is serious, the next step must be slashing wasteful spending. That's why Nicola Willis's nano budget on Wednesday is so significant.

Unfair Pay Agreements scrapped 📄

Fair Pay Agreements

Also this week we saw the repeal of Labour so-called 'Fair Pay Agreements'. 

This is the right thing to do. A bit like the 'Public Interest Journalism Fund', 'Fair Pay Agreements' are the opposite of what it says on the tin. Labour's scheme would have effectively forced compulsory unionism across the entire economy, stifling productivity, creating complexity and reducing labour market flexibility.

You can’t sustainably increase wages by simply increasing costs on employers. The only path to a high-wage economy is to ensure productivity increases. The last government was putting the cart before the horse. 

Making it harder (more expensive) to employ people with a 'one-size-fits-all' approach disproportionately harms the very people that government claimed it wanted to help – such as young people and those on the outer edges of the job market.

Workers have voted with their feet in rejecting unionism over the past 30 years with membership reducing from almost 50% of employees in the 1980s to less than 20% today. On the other hand, there is one union that is both worth joining and is making sure Kiwis can take home more after-tax income and promoting policies that improve New Zealand's productivity and prosperityMaybe you should join up... 😉

We Axed the Ute Tax 🪓🛻

Ute Tax

And we celebrated a taxpayer victory following our two-year campaign to 'Axe the Ute Tax'. Jacinda Ardern's tax unfairly hit farmers and tradies in order to subsidize flash new Teslas for Wellington and Remuera elites. The tax saw thousands of dollars piled onto the cost of a new ute, and other emissions-emitting vehicles, despite the fact that many people who use these vehicles have no other option. 

While Labour and the Greens loved to claim that this tax was reducing emissions and preventing climate change, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) caps New Zealand’s emissions at a set level that gets reduced over time. Any emissions reductions in the transport sector brought about by subsidized electric cars simply frees up emissions to occur elsewhere in the economy.

The video Julie Anne Genter needs to watch! 📺 🚲

We can't tell whether the Green Party MPs flailing about claiming that the scrapping of Tesla subsidies and the Ute Tax will cook the planet, are being dim or dishonest.

We suggest they take a few minutes to watch this fantastic video by our Campaigns Manager, Connor Molloy, on how the ETS works and the 'waterbed effect'.

Connor's ETS video - Green MPs would learn a thing or two!

Speaking of climate change, it seems the Climate Change Commission has drunk the Kool-Aid too. 

Put it out of its misery and cut it: Climate Change Commission swerves out of lane to tackle social justice ✂️

Climate Change Commission

You would think that the Climate Change Commission would have its focus squarely on reducing New Zealand’s emissions right? Wrong.

Their latest report out this week – 2023 Advice on the direction of policy for the Government’s second emissions reduction plan – dives headfirst into a range of issues well outside their remit. Road injuries? Social justice? Population health?  You name it, it's in there.

Here we thought the climate change officials wanted us to ride to work to save the planet. But now that electric cars are coming along, that's still not good enough. We must ride to work (or take public transport) because it's good for us. The Climate Change Commission cites studies that suggest the new goal is to reduce crash injuries. 🤦‍♂️

Sure, some of these things might be worthwhile causes but we have literally tens of thousands of bureaucrats in other agencies who are meant to be dealing with that stuff 

To the extent that the Commission does focus on emissions, they even get that part wrong. Rather than focusing on net emissions (the total amount of emissions from things like car exhausts minus any reductions such as from trees), they instead focus solely on the total gross emissions without looking at the other side of the equation. It should not matter if emissions are reduced by someone sucking one tonne of carbon out of the atmosphere or emitting one tonne less in the first place, the effect is the same. The Commission's obsession with forcing people to change how they live their lives and run their businesses is absurd, ineffective and expensive. 

This week ACT’s climate spokesperson called for the Commission to be scrapped completely. We agree. 

Recession: GDP figures make for grim reading 📉💲

GDP Figures

The latest batch of GDP figures were released on Thursday. It doesn’t take an economist to tell you that Kiwis have been doing it tough recently, but this data backs it up and then some. For four quarters on the bounce now, New Zealand’s economy has shrunk on a per person basis.

While immigration has kept our head nearly above water on the headline figures, on a per person basis (which is the only measure that matters in the long term) our standards of living are in free fall.

This goes to show the damage that an anti-growth government can cause when they do everything in their power to stifle innovation and growth, and drive investment running for the hills. Grant Robertson made his bed but its the rest of us that are having to lie in it.

It’s all well and good making noises about responsible finances, but that’s not going to be anything close to enough to turn the ship around. We say the new Government needs to commit to shrinking the cost of government further and faster, and to slashing the red tape which is holding our country back.

Auditor General blasts previous government's spending 💥💰

AG Report

If there’s one thing in this life you can rely on, it’s that Government projects will run over time and over budget. So it shouldn’t be too hard to imagine what happened when Jacinda’s mob created a multi-billion dollar slush fund to chuck money hand over fist at any project that wanted it.

It’s not often you’ll find me taking the side of a bureaucrat, but when even Wellington wonks are telling you that perhaps spending vast sums of money without any idea what you’re spending it on is a bad idea, you ought to listen. 

Jacinda got her headlines and we got the bill. A $15.9 billion ($8,092 per household) bill to be precise.

The latest Auditor General’s report made the wildly outlandish recommendation that perhaps this shouldn’t be allowed to happen again. We have been promised that Shane Jones's new Regional Infrastructure Fund will be different this time, but you can be rest assured that the Taxpayers' Union will be keeping a very close eye.

The Interislander Ferry fiasco is another example of a ludicrous Government cost blow out. The costs are already four times what was originally quoted and we all know the blowout wasn’t going to end there. So well done to Nicola Willis for pulling the plug this week.

News in Brief 

One more thing: Casey Costello’s maiden speech to Parliament

Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of watching our former Chair, now NZ First MP Casey Costello give her maiden address to Parliament.

TU Office

I know a lot of our supporters will be interested in Casey’s path to Parliament and her words about the Treaty, public service, and not tiptoeing around difficult conversations.

Casey Maiden Speech

Watch her maiden speech here.

Merry Christmas 🎅🏻🎄

I'm heading to the UK to visit family for a few weeks so this is my last missive before the festive period. Jordan and Connor will be holding the fort while I am away.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support throughout the last year (and hasn't it been a big one?!) and wish you and your family all the very best for Christmas and 2024 when it comes. 

See you on the other side!

Yours aye,


Callum Signature
Callum Purves
Head of Campaigns

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union 


Media coverage:

Wairarapa Times-Age Rates relief is unlikely says review

Newstalk ZB Tory Whanau: Wellington's mayor on her drinking problem, commits to a life of sobriety

The Spinoff Our bold political predictions for 2023, revisited

Newstalk ZB The Huddle: Was it a good idea for the Government to scrap the Interislander ferry project?

Newshub Leaving presents for Department of Conservation's former director-general Lou Sanson cost more than $5000

Press releases:

Taxpayers’ Union calls for outcomes-focused mental health spending rather than a cash splash

Government Must Let Film Subsidies Fall Off Fiscal Cliff - Taxpayers’ Union

Too Little Too Late From Meddling Treasury Mandarins

Bay Of Plenty Paves Way For Councils To Sell Off Their Assets As Rates Soar

Tory Whanau Is Out Of Touch With Struggling Ratepayers

Poor Leadership Putting Democracy At Stake In Wellington

Taxpayers’ Union Backs ACT’s Calls To Scrap Climate Change Commission

Government Applauded For Turning Off The Tap For KiwiRail’s Doomed Ferries

Judith Collins Crushing Taxpayers With Latest Round Of Corporate Welfare

Scathing Auditor General Report Backs Up What We All Saw Coming From Massive Infrastructure Fund

New Zealanders' Standard Of Living In Freefall

Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes Announcement Of Three Waters Repeal – Still Work To Do

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  • Nztu Media
    published this page in News 2023-12-16 13:16:36 +1300

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