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Taxpayer Update: A Tale of Two Taxes 🥝⛽ | Kiwis think public services getting worse 🏥📉 | Māori Health Authority’s $1 million website 🔍💻

It's definitely election season with the spending bribes announcements coming in thick and fast. Your humble taxpayer advocates are keeping count and will be 'keeping 'em honest' in the weeks to come.

The main news this week has been Labour's new tax policy. Here at the Taxpayers' Union we love tax relief. But Chris Hipkins has achieved the impossible: Proposing a tax cut that even we don't like! We didn't think it was possible.

While the heath system declines, we blow the whistle on a one million dollar 'wellbeing' website funded by the Māori Health Authority, sorry, taxpayers.

And last of all we respond to the hundreds of emails received last week questioning whether Ruth Richardson really still uses a Blackberry.

A Tale of Two Taxes: A few cents off fruit and veg 🥝🥕

On Sunday, we had Labour's much anticipated tax announcement. But it was something of a damp squib. The Prime Minister made just two announcements: A big bit of jam for the base in the form of an increase to the Working for Families tax credit and one to get the headlines, the removal of GST off fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables. 

This is same policy that Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, described as a 'boondoggle'. The old Mr Robertson clearly understood that the reduction in GST would unlikely be passed onto customers in full and would simply line the pockets of the big supermarket chains while also making our tax system more complicated.

These policies coupled with things like previous announcements on free prescriptions, free childcare and public transport subsidies are sticking plaster solutions that fail to tackle the root cause of the financial problems Kiwi families are facing. High inflation has been driven by high government spending and this, in turn, has forced Kiwis to pay a higher share of their wages in tax each and every year. If politicians really want to help Kiwi families, those are the issues they need to tackle.

Here's how: Cut wasteful spending and provide proper tax relief across the board to Kiwi families and job creators.  Fundamentally, tweaking GST carve outs and increasing welfare isn't charting a course for a more ambitious and prosperous New Zealand.

But another massive fuel tax hike to come 🤑

Fuel Tax

Rather than tax relief, on Thursday we got an announcement of another tax hike. To fund their new $20 billion transport plan, the Government intends to hike fuel taxes by a 14c per litre (that's 12 cents plus the GST) over the next three years. Let's not forget that fuel taxes were only just increased by 29c per litre on 1 July this year!

The whole point of petrol taxes is to raise money to fund road maintenance and investment – those who use the roads most should pay the most for their upkeep. But for years politicians have been using it as a slush fund for public transport and cycleways. The announcement suggests motorists are going to continue to be used as cash cows to prop up even more non-road projects.
Fuel taxes hit those in rural communities and the poor – for whom fuel is a bigger share of their income – the hardest. Despite tough talk on supporting those on low incomes, the Government seems intent on putting fuel taxes up to a level where half of the cost of filling up will be tax again.

Kiwis think public services are getting worse 🏥📉

Luxon Question Time

Spending on health is up 48% since the last election yet A&E waiting times are through the roof. Law and order spending has increased by 27%, but the country is gripped by ram-raiding and violent crime. And education spending is up 15% while attendance problems persist and literacy and numeracy rates remain poor.

This week The Post reported on our Taxpayers' Union – Curia polling that showed New Zealanders clearly see they are getting a raw deal with more respondents saying they thought services had got worse rather than better in all five service areas we asked about. Even Labour voters thought education, transport, health and criminal justice have got worse. 

Christopher Luxon put our poll's findings to the Prime Minister at Question Time on Wednesday, but Mr Hipkins refused to engage. We have a Government whose only answer to any problem is to blindly chuck more of taxpayers’ money on consultants and middle-managers. We urgently need to see a reduction in wasteful spending.

Taxpayers' Union Investigation: Māori Health Authority’s million dollar website 🔍💻

Aroā Wellbeing Website

This week, Taxpayers' Union, Investigations Co-ordinator, Ollie Bryan revealed that Te Aka Whai Ora (Māori Health Authority) has spent an eye-watering $1,000,000 on their new Aroā Wellbeing website that invites users to 'scroll through the forest' to 'cleanse', 'breathe' and 'connect'. 

While $300,000 was spent on the website's design and creation, the Ministry could not provide the detail of how the remaining $700,000 was allocated as it did "not hold information on breakdown of costs into areas such as music, voice actors, and graphic design." The website has only been viewed 47,784, which translates into $20 for each single view.

Kiwis are still struggling to get the mental health support they despite a $1.9 billion spend and action needs to be taken to improve outcomes. This money could have instead be used to fund thousands of counselling sessions through a charity or more mental health nurses.

Taxpayer Talk with Mark Mitchell 🎙️🎧

Taxpayer Talk: Mark Mitchell

This week on Taxpayer Talk, our Executive Director, Jordan Williams, sits down with National Party Police Spokesperson, Mark Mitchell, to discuss National’s plan for law and order if they are successful in the election later this year. 

Jordan and Mark discuss the increasing levels of crime in New Zealand, gang numbers, and what the National Party would do should they be in Government after the election. They also cover the new firearms registry, whether it will make the country more safe and if it is worth the significant establishment costs. 

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

And one more thing: Yes, Ruth Richardson still owns a Blackberry 🤳🏻📞

Ruth Blackberry

Last week, Ruth Richardson sent many of our supporters an email about New Zealand's serious debt problem. We were surprised to receive quite a number of replies from people who couldn't quite believe the 'Sent from my BlackBerry' sign off at the bottom. We asked Ruth to furnish us with photographic evidence of her preferred telecommunications device and, yes, she is, in fact, possibly the last remaining BlackBerry user on the planet. You can't beat that full keyboard!

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours aye,


Callum Signature
Callum Purves
Campaigns Manager

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union


Media coverage:

NZ Herald 
Election 2023: New poll shows Labour crashing, NZ First rising, and National-Act with enough support to govern

RNZ POLITICS ELECTION 202310 Aug 2023 Taxpayers Union poll suggests seven seats for NZ First, in opposition

Hawke's Bay Today Tararua rates ‘middle of the pack’

The Spinoff Another poll shows NZ First would be back in parliament

NZ Herald Claire Trevett: Latest poll - Labour now at risk of collapse, driving voters to the Greens

RNZ The Panel with Anna Dean and Phil O'Reilly (Part 1) – TU Curia Poll

interest.co.nz The latest Taxpayers' Union poll shows NZ First could be back in parliament with Winston Peters at the helm of a 7-person caucus

The Daily Blog BOOM: Latest TU Curia Poll: Labour crash – Winston is back

The Common Room Hipkins’ government enters election season in disarray

Pacific Media News PMN News 10 August 2023 – TU Curia Poll

NewstalkZB Six And a Song - The Election Edition: NZ First's Winston Peters

NewstalkZB Afternoon Edition: 10 August 2023 – TU Curia Poll (01:20)

NewstalkZB THE HUDDLE: DOES ACT'S SENTENCING POLICY HAVE MERIT? The Huddle: Does ACT's sentencing policy have merit?

RNZ Taking the public pulse with political polls

Waikato Times Thames joins Innovating Streets project flops

NZ Herald Water reforms: Alternative plan from Taxpayers’ Union ready by October elections

Politik He’s back

NBR Jackson vs Seymour, Remuera lawyer-angst, Hallenstein over boards

Stuff Labour's new polling 'shows rosier picture' for party

NewstalkZB Brigette Morten: Political commentator examines latest Taxpayers' Union Curia poll

AM Show Election 2023: Labour does 'absolutely not' have plans to replace Chris Hipkins before voting day - Ginny Andersen

RNZ Political Panel – TU Curia Poll

Radio Samoa Sau i luma le vaa o le NZ First – palota a le Taxpayers Union

Waatea News Peters ready to plant more trees

The Platform The Taxpayers' Union explains their new significant poll

The Kākā by Bernard Hickey Our world-beating banks + AMA

The Westport News Buller District Council says staff numbers are wrong [print only]

NZ City Minor conservative parties could pull support from the right bloc this election

The Post Labour's not dead, but it's lurching into last-gasp territory

Newshub Nation 'Luxon has a very difficult decision to make': NZ First's polling - Jordan Williams

Newshub Nation '30-40% of people haven't fully made their mind up, there's votes to win'

The Central App Mayor’s column: Council debt - fact and fiction

Kiwiblog Proactive work on a Three Waters replacement

Bush Telegraph Report says council rates are average [print only]

The Listener Wealth tax or food GST exemption: Which could make our tax system fairer?

The Post Green Party's 'zero carbon' loans will compete with banks' no-interest energy efficiency home loan top-ups

The Spinoff Will Labour choke on its GST-free food policy?

The Platform David Farrar on New Zealand politics and polls

The Platform Mainstream media mired in mistrust

Croaking Cassandra The $11bn men and women of the MPC

The Post Voters to Labour: key govt services worse since 2020 - poll

NBR Fairer supermarket profit more important than GST on/off fruit

The Northland Age FROM THE OTHER SIDE Kids need rules -- they did me no harm as a child [print only]

NZ Herald Government unveils $20b transport plan - but fuel taxes going up 12 cents to pay for it

NZ Herald Government’s $20b transport plan: Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown and the AA support fuel tax hike to pay for major projects

Hawke's Bay Today Labour Party candidate Mark Hutchinson opts out of televised Napier electorate debate

NewstalkZB Kerre Woodham: With an election approaching, Labour have fallen in love with roads

NZ Herald On the Tiles – Episode 62: Political polls - how do they work?

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  • Callum Purves
    published this page in News 2023-08-19 13:30:31 +1200

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