First and foremost, our thoughts are with those who are facing yet more severe weather across the North Island with Cyclone Gabrielle.
Last week was a big week for the Taxpayers' Union with multiple policy victories announced by the Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins: The jobs tax was put on ice, the RNZ/TVNZ merger was scrapped, and tax relief for motorists was extended for a third time. None of this would have been possible without supporters like you. Thank you for fuelling our work and forcing Wellington to respond.
The new Prime Minister has said he wants to focus on bread and butter politics, including tackling the cost of living. The results of our first poll since Chris Hipkins took office reveal what effect this is having on how New Zealanders plan to vote in October's election.
NEW POLL: Labour bounce but Centre-Right remains ahead – just 📊
Exclusive to supporters like you, we can reveal the results of this month's Taxpayers' Union – Curia Poll.
The two largest parties are tied at 34% – Labour is up two points on last month while National is down three points. ACT is up one point to 12% while the Greens are down three points to 8%.
The smaller parties are NZ First on 2.9%, Māori Party on 2.1%, TOP on 2.0%, NZ Outdoors & Freedom on 1.0%, Democracy NZ on 0.9%, New Conservative on 0.8%, and Vision NZ on just 0.2%.
The two biggest parties are on 46 seats each with Labour up five seats on last month and National down three. ACT is up one seat to 15 while the Greens are down four to 10. The Māori Party is up one seat to 3.
As with other recent public polls, Labour has clearly seen a bounce under Chris Hipkins's leadership, but based on this poll, the increase in support has primarily come at the expense of the Greens.
The means only a slight uptick in the combined total for the Centre-Left to 56 seats – up one from last month. While the Centre-Right dips to 61 seats – down two seats – but still has just enough to form a government.
Net Favourability: Voters like Chippy
Voters seem to be willing to give the new Prime Minister a chance – Chris Hipkins debuts in our poll with a net favourability rating (the percentage of voters with a 'favourable' opinion less those with an 'unfavourable' opinion) of +27%. This is 28 points higher than Jacinda Ardern's final score as PM.
Christopher Luxon’s net favourability has decreased four points from -1% last month to -5% while ACT leader David Seymour dips seven points from -4% to -11%.
Taxpayer Victory! TVNZ/RNZ merger scrapped 📺🔥
Last week was a great week for taxpayers! The Government was forced to drop its expensive plans to merge TVNZ and RNZ on which it planned to spend $3 million on rebranding alone.
The Taxpayers' Union has been at the forefront of the campaign against the merger. Far from creating a more diverse media landscape, the merger would have served to concentrate power, and erode diversity and trust in media sources.
Our former Chairman, a former TVNZ board member, Barrie Saunders was among the first to ask the fundamental question about what problem the proposed merger intended to solve, and point out the disgraceful process in which this reform was hatched.
While one of our Board Members and former TVNZ presenter, Peter Williams, called out the merger for being a waste of money, saying: "The question I've had right from the time of the idea of merging TVNZ and Radio NZ was first mooted is 'just what problem are you trying to fix?' Is there not a better use of $370 million?"
Now TVNZ and RNZ can get back to the day job of good public service broadcasting. That means a rejection of polarization and striving to serve a wider audience rather than creating a safe space for the intellectual or metropolitan elite.
Jobs tax put on ice 💰🧊
Another taxpayer victory last week was the decision to scrap plans to introduce an unemployment insurance scheme during this parliamentary term. This proposed jobs tax would have cost the median worker more than $800 a year at a time when people are already struggling with the cost of living.
But it isn’t just the wrong time to bring in the policy. It’s the wrong policy too. Paying 80% of someone’s salary not to work for six months would have created terrible incentives for people to stay unemployed for longer, been open to abuse (by making redundancy more attractive than resigning), and would have failed to address skill shortages for sectors that are struggling to find employees. We say Labour shouldn't just delay this policy, it should be consigned to the scrap heap.
While Chris Hipkins is undoubtedly getting rid of unpopular policies to boost Labour's re-election prospects, the work of the Taxpayers' Union – supported by hardworking Kiwis like you – has been vital to ensure that voters are aware of just how bad Jacinda Ardern's policies were.
Three Waters: How far is Hipkins prepared to go? 💦❓
While last week's bonfire of policies was a step in the right direction, we still await an announcement about Three Waters. Chris Hipkins has said his Government plans to 'refocus' the reforms – whatever that means.
Any changes must ensure that the property rights of councils are respected and that those making decisions on water infrastructure remain accountable to ratepayers. The biggest risk, however, is that the Government makes some changes that might seem big on the surface but fail to meet these key criteria.
With the support of thousands, we have made Three Waters an albatross around the Government's neck, but we need to keep up the pressure to make it clear that cosmetic changes – such as renaming 'co-governace' to 'mahi tahi' – will not be enough. Our new 'Scrap Three Waters' banners have been doing just that with supporters across the country putting them up in recent weeks. You can get yours here.
While we await the Government's amendments, stay tuned for a big announcement about the next step in our Scrap Three Waters campaign in the coming weeks.
Taxpayer Talk with Peter Williams: Fed Farmers' Paul Melville and Mark Hooper on the resource management reforms 🎙️
In the latest edition of Taxpayer Talk, host Peter Williams talks with Federated Farmers’ Paul Melville and Mark Hooper about the proposed new planning and environmental legislation to replace the Resource Management Act.
While there is almost unanimous agreement the much maligned RMA needs to be updated and changed, Federated Farmers have serious doubts the new Natural and Built Environments Bill and its companion Spatial Planning Bill is the way forward.
Also in this edition, a new segment called War on Waste where a member of the Taxpayers' Union staff exposes profligate spending by government or local authorities. This time researcher Alex Murphy has Auckland Council in his sights.
Thank you for your support.
NZ Herald PM Chris Hipkins’ bonfire of the policies - refocus sees RNZ/TVNZ merger gone, income insurance scheme to change
Newstalk ZB PM's policy bonfire- what you need to know
NZ Herald Chris Hipkins’ ‘policy bonfire’: Government cops criticism for refocus with more changes to come
NZ Herald Damien Venuto: The slow, painful death of the TVNZ-RNZ merger leaves media vulnerable
The Front Page Why does housing remain such a problem in New Zealand?