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Taxpayer Update: NEW POLL: Labour crashes and Winston's back 📊💥 | Tell Grant Robertson to Cut the Waste ✂️💰 | Let’s Get Wellington (Not) Moving;🛑🚌

Big newsletter today – we learn how the 'other half' (that is, those bureaucrats in Wellington) live. A new poll is bad news for the Government, but good news for Christopher Luxon and Winston Peters, plus Jordan sits down with expert pollster (and Taxpayers' Union Co-founder!) David Farrar to ask exactly how polls work, how the sample is selected, and why I'm never called! We also get to the bottom of that Green Party advertising we told you about last week.

Ministry for Pacific Peoples spends $40,000 on a farewell knees-up for CEO🪘 🎉🍾

But first up this week: It's been revealed that the Ministry for Pacific Peoples spent $39,262.22 on a lavish farewell party 'event' for its outgoing CEO, Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae.

Mr Leauanae – who was moving down the road to become CEO of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage – was showered with $7,500 worth of gifts, which included carvings and fine mats, with the Ministry spending $3,000 on “discretionary items” including photography, flowers and ceremonial drummers.

This comes not long after we exposed that the same Ministry had spent $260,000 on catering last year despite only having 127 staff members (in 2017, they had just 35!).

We say that it is stories like this that demonstrate how out of touch Wellington has become. While many New Zealanders are facing a cost of living crisis, those on the taxpayer dime are happy to continue to live it up.

Jordan on AM Show

As Jordan pointed out on the AM Show this morning, this is the Ministry that is supposed to be representing some of New Zealand's poorest communities. Clearly they have lost touch if they can spend forty grand on a party without anyone blinking an eyelid (until, that is, someone sends them an OIA). $40,000 is more than five years worth of tax for someone on the minimum wage!

Tell Grant Robertson to Cut the Waste ✂️💰

It appears that there is a growing multi-billion dollar hole in the Government accounts caused by their reckless fiscal management and out-of-control spending that has significantly weakened the economy and plunged the tax take.

We will know for certain how much trouble the country is in when the Government opens the books in September for the pre-election economic and fiscal update. But one thing is clear: Even Grant Robertson is worried. Recently he called an emergency meeting with the chief executives of Government departments instructing them to stop increasing spending.

But restraint or 'freezing' isn’t enough. With Government debt reaching almost $79,000 per household, Grant Robertson needs to significantly slash the billions in wasteful spending to help get the books back in the black.

Cut the Waste

We are calling on Grant Robertson to slash his wasteful spending to get debt under control and begin to grow the economy. If you have 30 seconds, add your name in calling for the Government to cut wasteful spending.

NEW POLL: Labour crashes, Winston back, Luxon neck-and-neck with Hipkins in preferred PM race 📊💥

This month's Taxpayers’ Union – Curia Poll sees National and ACT able to form a Government on their own. But only just. The poll suggests yet another return to Parliament for Winston 'never-rule-him-out' Peters.

Based on this poll, just a small shift in these numbers could see Winston Peters holding the balance of power yet again – with Mr Luxon needing both ACT and NZ First to form a government.

Here are the headline results:

Decided Party Vote over time

National increases 1.6 points on last month to 34.9% while Labour drops 4.0 points to 27.1%. ACT is down 0.2 points to 13.0% while the Greens are up 3.1 points to 12.0%.

The smaller parties are NZ First on 5.8% (+2.5 points), the Māori Party 2.5% (-2.5 points), Vision NZ on 1.1% (+1.1 points), TOP on 1.0% (+0.7 points), New Conservatives on 0.6% (+0.2 points), Outdoors and Freedom on 0.5% (+0.5 points), and Democracy NZ on 0.1% (-1.8 points).

Here is how these results would translate to seats in the 120-seat Parliament:


National is up 1 seat on last month to 44 while Labour is down 7 seats to 34. ACT remains steady on 17 while the Greens pick up 3 seats to a total of 15. The Māori Party is down 4 seats on last month to 3. NZ First re-enters Parliament on these numbers with 7 seats. 

The combined projected seats for the Centre-Right of 61 seats is up 1 on last month and would allow them to form government. The combined seats for the Centre-Left bloc of 52 is down 8 on last month. 

Preferred PM

For preferred Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins is up 2 points on last month to 25% while Christopher Luxon is up 5 points to 25%. This is the first time the two have been tied in our poll. David Seymour is up 1 point to 7% while Winston Peters is also on 7% (up 3 points). 

Visit our website for more information and details of how to get access to the full polling report with the demographic breakdowns and 'party best at' data.

Taxpayer Talk: David Farrar On Polling And Why He Is Leaving The Taxpayers' Union 🎙️🎧 

Taxpayer Talk: David Farrar

When we release our monthly poll, we get hundreds of questions about how the polling is done, who picks who is called, whether it's land line or cell phones, and whether the data can even be relied upon.

So we asked the guy Sir John Key said is "New Zealand's best pollster" to take us through how the polling works. Well before co-founding the Taxpayers' Union, David had established Curia Market Research and has developed a reputation for professional and insightful market analysis. 

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

Let’s Get Wellington (Not) Moving 🛑🚌


The National Party revealed their transport policy last week, proposing to scrap the $7.4 billion Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) project. Taxpayers will breathe a sigh of relief that the LGWM wasteful consultant-driven boondoggle is set for the scrapheap. Despite the name, every project to date has done anything but get the city moving.

Despite the lack of asphalt laid, consultant expenses have already exceeded $130 million, while the overall costs have ballooned from $2.3 billion in 2018 to $7.4 billion – that's $3,766 per Kiwi household, just for Wellington.

It comes as no surprise that the only project completed by the bureaucracy to date is a $2.4 million pedestrian crossing – so much for getting the city moving.

Some people have argued that because Mayor Tory Whanau was elected on a pro-LGWM platform, the project should continue. But there is a difference between central government running over the will of local communities who are spending their own money and central government deciding not to fund a wasteful project with money that comes from all taxpayers – not just those living in Wellington.

Amidst high inflation and living costs, families are suffering and more spending on LGWM will only require future taxes and rates to be increased even further. With Labour also hinting at withdrawing support for LGWM, it is instead time for the Council to deliver a no-nonsense transport plan that focuses on cost and efficiency rather than ideology.

Ditch The Broadcast Allocation: A Step Toward A Fairer Democracy 📺💵

Broadcast Allocation

Taxpayers fork out a lot of money to support political parties. In addition to the Parliamentary Services budget that goes well beyond advertising MPs' contact details and electorate work, each election cycle, we are made to foot the bill for broadcasting allocations. This year alone, taxpayers be contributing $4.1 million towards party political propaganda on our TV screens.

Such funding favours established parties while creating substantial barriers for new entrants. This is despite the major parties such as National, ACT and Labour amassing over $7.5 million in funds last year. One has to question the need for them to receive taxpayer subsidy. Taxpayers' Union – Curia polling suggests that 51% of New Zealanders oppose the broadcast allocation while 61% of Kiwis are against the direct funding of political parties. 

Taxpayer funding for political parties risks tilting the scales of our democratic process, disproportionately benefiting long-standing political giants. For a robust democratic process, it's time that political parties embrace a shift towards private funding to bolster democracy, ensure parties actively seek and value the backing of their constituents and promote greater transparency.

Our Investigations Co-ordinator, Oliver Bryan, looks into this issue in more detail here.

Green Party advertising: A clarification 🟢🖥️

In the last Taxpayer Update, we reported that Green Party local election adverts on Facebook had used Parliamentary Service (i.e. taxpayer funded) advertising account.

We were contacted by the Greens' Chief of Staff last week who has shown us evidence that the mistake was in fact by their advertising agency who had put the incorrect 'paid for by' disclaimer statement on the adverts. As such, no taxpayer money was used towards election advertising. We are delighted to be able to clarify this and appreciate the Greens being so forthcoming in showing us the documentation.

Until next time!

Yours aye,


Callum Signature
Callum Purves
Campaigns Manager

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union


Media coverage:

Whanganui Chronicle 
Whanganui District Council chief executive says $22 million spend on contractors and consultants most cost-effective option

NewstalkZB Morning Edition: 03 August 2023 – Ratepayers' Report (01:32)

Greymouth Star Coast residential rates 'some of the most affordable' [print only]

The Westport News BDC high earners top Coast [print only]

Newsroom Wairarapa communities light the way for new era of local council mergers

Wānaka App QLDC makes the podium for highest rates in New Zealand

Central App Mayor’s column: Context important when comparing rates

Kaikoura Star Kaikoura has 12th highest rates in the country [print only]

BusinessDesk Business of Government: Act wants to stop work, the cost of campaign promises, and more...

Northland Age FROM THE OTHER SIDE Democracy seems to be against the ropes in NZ [print only]

Te Awamutu News Council keeps mum on payments

AM Show Taxpayers' Union slams shortsighted Ministry for Pacific Peoples after $40k farewell party

RNZ Taxpayers Union on Ministry of Pacific Peoples $40,000 staff farewell

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  • Callum Purves
    published this page in News 2023-08-10 15:00:19 +1200

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