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More Transparency

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Taxpayer Update: Three Waters Poll 💦📊 | Taxman Takeover 💰🤥 | Taxpayer Talk 🎙️

We are winning! New poll shows opposition to Three Waters at record high 💦📊

Three Waters Poll

Last week, we released a new poll that showed opposition to the Government's Three Waters reforms has reached a new high. 60 percent of Kiwis are now against the proposals while just 23 percent are in favour. 18 percent remain unsure.

The results when we asked the same question in February were much closer. Back then, 40 percent were against and 29 percent of people were supportive. Thanks to our Stop Three Waters campaign and your support, even the Government's massive advertising propaganda campaign is not fooling Kiwis

We say councils should be supported to enter into voluntary arrangements with other councils to deliver better water infrastructure if they wish to do so, but they must remain still fully accountable to their ratepayers through the ballot box.

Every day Jacinda Ardern and Nanaia Mahuta continue to plough ahead with Three Waters, the more they become out of step with public opinion.

The mayors of our two largest cities, and Communities 4 Local Democracy — representing 31 councils — have both offered alternatives that seek to retain local ownership and control and keep democratic accountability.

It's time for the Government to take these proposals seriously.

Taxman Takeover: What do IRD's new powers mean for you? 💰🤥

Nosey Parker

Last year, while attention was focussed on the new 39 percent rate of tax, the Government gave Inland Revenue broad powers without anyone really noticing. IRD can now force anyone to disclose personal information surrounding their spending habits and family situation. 

For the first time, IRD officials could use their powers to demand information even if the information is totally unnecessary to calculate (or audit) tax liabilities.

The Government justified these new powers by saying they were necessary to allow the IRD to develop future tax policy, but as we said that the time, there are real risks around privacy, transparency and what the information collected might be used for. 

Of course the IRD should ensure that everyone pays the taxes they are legally bound to pay — that's it job. But collecting intrusive personal details when people are not accused of any crime is not.  

And we have to question why the Government wants the IRD to collect this 'policy formation' evidence in the first place. At a Select Committee hearing this week, the IRD Commissioner was evasive in his answers. Is the 'no new taxes' government looking for a way to bring in yet another new tax?

Separate to having the powers, our concerns are what ministers might ask them to be used for. We don't have to do much digging to see what has happened when tax departments in other countries are given such sweeping powers: It is a recipe for disaster. In a blogpost this week, our intern, Alex Murphy, looks at the US example example to see how the IRS there—and the US Government—have misused similar powers.

If you are concerned about what you read, please take a moment to express your concerns to Revenue Minister, David Parker. We've made it easy to voice your concerns at www.noseyparker.nz.

VOTING NOW OPEN: TVNZ/RNZ Logo Competition 🎨🗳️

A few weeks ago, we launched a competition to highlight the sheer cost to the taxpayer of the Government's proposed TVNZ/RNZ merger. In case you have forgotten, your kind Government plan to spend a staggering $3 million of your taxes on branding consultancy fees alone.

So being a helpful servant to taxpayers, we asked our supporters to save the Government the trouble, and design a logo for the new super media entity for a chance to win a $300 prize from the Taxpayers’ Union.

Thanks to everyone who took part. We enjoyed going through the entires although some were not suitable for publication... 👀

Logo Competition

We have narrowed the field down to a shortlist of five. In full compliance with the Government's local government review recommendation, we are conducting an STV election to decide the winner.

>> Vote for your favourites by ranking the finalists here <<

We will announce the winner next week, and will graciously donate it to the Government free of charge. 😇

This week on Taxpayer Talk with Peter Williams 🎙️

Jacob Mchangama

This week, Peter hosts free speech campaigner Jacob Mchangama, a Danish lawyer who visited New Zealand earlier this month. His visit was prescient as the Justice Minister Kiri Allan has recently promised that hate speech legislation will be in our Parliament by the end of the year.

Jacob is the founder and director of Justitia, a Copenhagen-based think tank focusing on human rights, freedom of speech, and the rule of law. Jacob's book 'Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media' was released earlier this year and provides an insightful overview of how free speech has been viewed in different societies across history. 

Peter also has a piece of correspondence regarding last week’s guest Dr Claire Charters and wonders if that letter would be able to see the light of day under Kiri Allan’s proposals. 

Listen to the episode | Apple | Spotify | Google Podcasts | iHeart Radio

Thank you, as always, for your support.

Yours aye,


Callum Signature
Callum Purves
Campaigns Manager

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union


Media coverage:

NZ Herald
National and ACT govern on new poll, but Labour-Greens close gap

The Working Group
 with Dr Bryce Edwards, Gareth Hughes and Damien Grant (21:58)

NBR  Challenging public decision makers needed for democratic debate

NZ Herald Kiwis want fuel tax cut to continue after January – poll

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