Taxpayer Update: Manager numbers explode 👩🏻💼👨🏻💼🔺 | Virtue signalling over cutting net emissions 🌡️😔 | City Rail Link throws good money after bad 🚆🤑
🔍 Taxpayer Investigation: Public sector managers growing at double rate of frontline workers 👩🏻💼👨🏻💼🔺
While the Government has denied for years that Wellington's 'head offices' are getting bloated, your humble Taxpayers' Union has exposed that public sector managers have been growing at nearly twice the rate of frontline workers since the current Government came to power.
Since 2017, the frontline workforce for social services, health, and education has increased by 24.6% with nurse numbers up only 18.3% while doctors are up only 19.2%. In the same period, however, the number of managers rocketed up by a staggering 43.4%. Who exactly are these people managing?
In case you missed it, Mike Hosking highlighted this huge discrepancy and also grilled Minister Michael Wood about what is going on.
The Government crows about its significant 'investment' in social services, health, and education. In reality, the Government is taxing households more and more to spend on bureaucratic jobs for Wellington’s managerial class that provide little value for the taxpayer.
They can't blame the growth in the public sector during COVID for this one: The trend has been clear since 2017. While the focus on the exorbitant consultant bill in the past few weeks is welcome, politicians also need to take a closer look at our bloated public sector and significantly cut back on unnecessary managerial positions.
Government puts virtue signalling ahead of reducing net emissions 🌡️😔
This week the Ministry for the Environment announced a review into New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The review will consider how the ETS should be changed to reflect the Government's priority of reducing gross carbon emissions over net emissions.
You will recall that the ETS works by setting a cap on the total amount of net carbon emissions across New Zealand each year. Emitters, such as fuel companies, or electricity suppliers, buy 'units' in an auction that allows them to emit a unit of carbon (or equivalent) and the amount they pay is reflected in the price you pay for goods and services. The cap then reduces over time, the market price changes, and overall emissions are brought down.
We prefer this system over politicians trying to 'pick winners' and inject subsidies into 'emissions reduction', as the market tends to find the most efficient and cost effective way for New Zealand to achieve its international obligations. Those sectors that can reduce emissions more quickly and cheaply can sell units to those sectors who might find it more difficult. The system also allows companies to offset their emissions through activities that take carbon out of the atmosphere.
Sadly though, politicians cannot help tinkering with the system because it does not fit with the Government's ideology of how climate change should be addressed. For example, it wants to see a rapid shift away from cars to public transport, walking, cycling and electric cars.
But this approach is illogical and ill-informed. While it might make the Government look like it's doing something, it doesn't actually tackle climate change as it doesn't reduce net emissions – less transport emissions simply means more units are available under the ETS to make it cheaper for other sectors to emit. This is called the 'waterbed effect'.
If the Government is really serious about protecting the planet, it should let the ETS get on and do its job.
NEW REPORT: City Rail Link project throws good money after bad 🚆🤑
Last week, we published a new report by our Research Fellow and Wellington economist, Jim Rose, on Auckland’s City Rail Link. The City Rail Link: A Great Big Sucking Sound for Taxpayer and Auckland Ratepayer Dollars is the first in-depth analysis of the bad decision-making that led to a 61% cost blowout.
The report argues that key decisions made by the Government and Auckland Council were based on a flawed business case. A combination of factors such as the increase in costs, the failure to include $6.7 billion in required upgrades to the existing rail network, and the 30-40% drop off in rail passengers post-COVID means that the costs of this project now significantly outweigh its benefits.
Just a few weeks ago, it was revealed that the project's cost had gone up by a further $1 billion. We sent a short briefing paper of the report's key findings to the Auckland mayor and councillors ahead of their meeting to discuss the increase in costs. Despite the public interest, and alarming numbers, the Council decided to hold the meeting behind closed doors so ratepayers are none the wiser as to what was discussed or decided.
With the announcement this week of plans to "bring forward" a second Auckland Harbour crossing, the Government and Auckland Council need to learn serious lessons from this project's failings – we cannot afford the same mistakes to be made. The planners at Auckland Transport who dreamt up the City Rail Link shouldn’t be let anywhere near the public purse again.
Parker charges ahead as even Greens raise RMA reform concerns 🏘️💰
This week, Green MP Eugenie Sage who chairs the Environment Select Committee raised concerns about the Government's plans to railroad through radical changes to the Resource Management Act before October's election. She rightly said that the bill will require lots of changes and that there is too much work to do before the election.
Despite now losing the support of the Greens, David Parker is still planning to plough on. He even went as far to say "I trust my own political instincts here." That's a rather bold statement for the man who proposed changes to taxation on KiwiSaver fees only to U-turn within the space of 24 hours.
But Labour still has a majority in Parliament and can ram things through Parliament if it wants to. That's why it's important that opposition parties pledge to repeal these bills should they become law. While ACT has set out a comprehensive alternative to the RMA, National has hinted that if Labour manages to get the reforms through before the election, it may seek to amend rather than repeal the legislation. We say this isn't good enough.
Stay tuned for the launch of our campaign against these reforms...
Thank you for your support.
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