Taxpayer Update: NEW POLL Labour takes the lead 📊💥 | Media merger still costing thousands 📺💰 | Clarke Gayford's taxpayer-funded trip 🐧🛩️
NEW POLL Labour takes lead over National while Hipkins's popularity continues to soar 📊💥
Exclusive to supporters like you, we can reveal the results of this month's Taxpayers' Union – Curia Poll and it’s a big one. On these numbers, October’s election is set to be a close one.
For the first time in a year, Labour has taken the lead on 35.5% up 1.1 points on last month while National is on 34.8% up 0.4 points on last month.
ACT is down 2.4 points to 9.3% while the Greens have dropped 2.1 points to 5.7%. This is perilously close to the 5% threshold for getting seats in Parliament (unless Chlöe Swarbrick can hold onto her Auckland Central electorate).
New Zealand First, on the other hand, sees a boost of 1.3 points to the party to 4.2% – within striking distance of re-entering Parliament. The Māori Party is on 1.4 per cent – down 0.7 points – and will again have to rely on holding at least one electorate to get any list seats.
Other smaller parties were the New Conservatives on 2.5% (+1.7 points), TOP on 1.7% (-0.3 points), Vision NZ on 0.8% (+0.6 points) and Democracy NZ on 0.5% (-0.4 points).
Assuming all current electorates are held, this would mean 49 seats for Labour (up 3 seats on last month), 48 seats for National (up 2), 13 for ACT (down 2), 8 for the Greens (down 2), and 2 for the Māori Party (down 1).
This means that the Centre-Right bloc could just form a government on 61 seats while the Centre-Left pick up 1 seat to be on 57.
Chris Hipkins's net favourability rating continues to soar and now sits at +33% up 6 points from last month's poll. The prime minister also now has a positive net favourability rating with National voters of +13% up 17 points from -4% last month.
Christopher Luxon’s net favourability has increased by 3 points from -5% to -2%. ACT leader, David Seymour, sees a 12-point bounce to +1%.
TVNZ/RNZ merger board still meeting – weeks after merger was canned 📺💰
This week it was revealed that the board managing the TVNZ/RNZ merger was still operating – despite the merger having been scrapped in the Prime Minister's policy bonfire weeks ago. Reports suggest that this board costs a staggering $8,000 a day and will continue to to meet until the end of March to complete a final report.
Jordan spoke to Newstalk ZB earlier this week about quite how ridiculous this situation is that the taxpayer is continuing to have to stump up thousands of dollars a day for a board whose only responsibility now is to turn the lights out on their way out of their $1.19 million-per-year offices (the lease for which doesn't expire until May).
While the Government has had the good sense to abandon the merger, after already wasting $19 million before ditching it, we say the Government should stop pouring more money down the drain.
Taxpayers funded Clarke Gayford's trip to Antarctica 🐧🛩️
Last October, the then Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, made the trek down south to see, first-hand, the inner workings of our Scott Base Research Centre in Antarctica. While no one would begrudge her taking three staffers to support her with official business, Clarke Gayford also happened to tag along for the ride.
It is not uncommon for the spouses to accompany heads of government on trips overseas where there is an element of diplomacy, but given that there are no foreign heads of government or diplomats to meet in the Ross Dependency, it is difficult to see the justification for Mr Gayford's attendance. Ms Ardern was hardly there to meet the King or Queen!
Thanks to work by our investigations team and the Official Information Act, we can reveal that the trip cost over $11,000 in taxpayer dollars. This included $8500 for a helicopter, $1500 on accommodation, $1000 on Haglunds travel, and an eyebrow-raising $500 on thermal underwear – the likes of which could have been purchased for half that at most retail stores.
Bear in mind too that when then Prime Minister Sir John Key made his trip to Scott base, all expenses for his wife Bronagh were covered personally.
Call us frugal, but taxpayers shouldn't be footing the bill for friends and family to tag along for a jolly. Ms Ardern and Mr Gayford should follow John Key's lead and pay back the money.
Championing New Zealand's farming success story on the world stage 🥛🍯
Here at the Taxpayers' Union, we love having smart young people contribute to the mission. If you joined us for one of the events during last year's "Stop Three Waters" Roadshow, you may have met one of them, our part-time researcher Connor Molloy.
Connor has had the last few months off for an internship at the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. While there he wrote an opinion piece explaining how the abolition of agricultural subsidies in 1985 forced New Zealand farmers to innovate, adapt and become much more productive. It was a painful transition, but as a result, our farmers are now among the most efficient, profitable and environmentally friendly primary producers in the world. New Zealand is one of only a few countries to have abolished its agricultural subsidies.
Connor is now back in New Zealand, finishing his degree in Wellington and returned to the office working for the Taxpayers' Union part time. You can read Connor’s blogpost here.
Taxpayer Talk with Peter Williams: Rob Campbell and Jordan Williams on neutrality in the public sector 🎙️
On this episode of Taxpayer Talk, Peter Williams speaks with former Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Chair, Rob Campbell, to discuss political neutrality within the public service.
Mr Campbell was publicly sacked from his high-profile position in the public service after making controversial comments about the National Party's Three Waters policy on his LinkedIn account. Campbell has doubled down on his comments and feels he should be free to give his opinion on controversial issues. Since recording this podcast, he has also been dismissed from his role at the Environmental Protection Authority but remains unremorseful.
Throughout this episode, Peter and Rob dive deep into the responsibilities of public servants, where professional responsibility ends and where personal opinion begins.
Later in the episode we are joined by Taxpayers' Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, to hear his perspective on the state of political neutrality within the public service.
Also this week, we hear from our War on Waste team who have uncovered a million dollar truancy awareness campaign. But will it get kids to go to school?
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