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Taxpayer Update: Bombshell new poll gives ACT the balance of power

Dear Supporter,

Taxpayers' Union Curia Poll: National + ACT now have support to form Government 📊

The results of our latest scientific poll are now LIVE on our website – and it's a bombshell.

For the first time ever in a Taxpayers' Union Curia Poll, National and ACT together have enough support to form a Government – with ACT holding the balance of power.

Poll headline result

There's also been a very telling increase in the share of New Zealanders who say the country is heading in the wrong direction. Click here to view the poll results online.

The Government is spending $220,000 of your money on a documentary about Chlöe Swarbrick

Chloe Swarbrick

Your humble Taxpayers' Union likes to keep an eye on the funding decisions that are periodically added to NZ on Air's website.

We've found a doozy. The agency has decided to give $220,000 to a documentary "exploring the political and personal life of New Zealand's youngest MP Chlöe Swarbrick".

Funding decisions

Using taxpayer money to promote a sitting politician should never be acceptable. This case is made even worse by the scale of the spending, the likely timing of an election year release, and the fact it's a standalone documentary not part of a series focusing on other political parties.

Our democracy should be better than this.

If you want to remind NZ on Air that taxpayer money shouldn't be used to promote politicians, the email address [email protected].

Is it time for media companies to scrutinise themselves?

In the last Taxpayer Update, we revealed exclusive polling showing that New Zealanders believe Government funding for media companies undermines media independence.

This presented an obvious test for the media: would they cover our poll?

You won't be surprised to learn the polling was not covered by any of the outlets to have received money from the $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund.

Fortunately, this week a new media outlet was officially launched. The Platform has a clear policy of refusing Government funding, and Sean Plunket invited me on as his first-ever in-studio guest.

The Platform videoClick here to watch Sean and I discuss the failures of integrity in mainstream media.

I also delve into the way media companies are also propped up by big-budget public sector advertising campaigns – think "Two Shots for Summer" and "Road to Zero".

Click here to sign the petition calling on the media to Pay Back the $55 Million.

Speaking of Road to Zero...

On the basis of dollars spent per second of video, NZTA's Road to Zero ads cost the same as major Hollywood blockblusters.

We've updated the first two ads so that taxpayers can watch their money being spent in real time:

Road to Zero clipClick here to watch your money disappear.
Click here to share on Facebook.

Each 30-second ad costs almost $1 million in production costs alone. The cost of buying the airtime comes on top that!

Exposed: The Film Commission's $58,000 Oscars junket

Working at the Film Commission must be one of the cushiest jobs in New Zealand's public sector. You're paid big bucks to wine and dine Hollywood bigwigs before giving them billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies!

This week Newstalk ZB covered our exposé on how two Film Commission officials burnt through $58,000 on a single 10-day trip to Los Angeles for the Oscars.

David Strong and Philippa Mossman spent $21,000 in flights and accommodation (business class for Mr Strong), and $1743 in Uber trips.

At one cocktail function (pictured below) at the NZ Consulate they served around 100 Hollywood figures and bureaucrats $5152 of wine and $8648 in food and catering. Valet services were provided at a cost of $3400.

LA event

Guests including Jane Campion and producers of The Power of the Dog were sent home with custom-printed goodie bags containing Whittaker's chocolate and, for some, gifts of carved Māori cloak pins worth $10,350.

At a separate drinks event for film industry figures, $1223 was spent on spirits, beer, wine, and bar snacks, again charged to the New Zealand taxpayer.

On top of the near-daily wining and dining events (including the Netflix Oscars afterparty!), Mr Strong and Ms Mossman were given $115 each per day for food and incidental expenses.

ACT's alternative budget takes waste seriously

David Seymour

Ahead of Grant Robertson's Budget next week, ACT has unveiled its own alternative set of proposals focused on reducing the size of government and delivering substantial tax relief.

ACT's proposed income tax policy is a two-rate system: 17.5% for all income below $70,000, and 28% for any income above. In addition, everyone would get an Emissions Trading Scheme refund of about $250 a week, and low earners would receive a tax offset to ensure they pay no more tax than they currently do.

Just as interesting is ACT's proposed spending cuts, which could make a good menu of options for a National-led government.

ACT wants to:

  • Reverse 80% of Labour’s increases to Budget spending allowances

  • Reduce the public service to its 2017 headcount

  • Tie public service pay hikes to inflation

  • Increase the Super age to 67, phased in from 2023 to 2035, indexed to life expectancy thereafter (KiwiSaver access will remain at 65)

  • Index main benefits to CPI

  • End contributions to the Super Fund

And here are the government entities and programmes ACT would abolish entirely:


Labour, the Greens, and the Māori Party went ballistic over ACT's proposed spending cuts – especially the "demographic" entities such as the Ministries for Pacific Peoples and Ethnic Communities.

But as David Seymour pointed out, shouldn't our main government entities already be serving all types of New Zealanders?

The challenge for Christopher Luxon now is to identify wasteful spending that has not already been identified in ACT's budget. We'd suggest taking a closer look at the "sacred cows" of health and transport – behind the front lines there are layers of middle management ripe for a cull.

Get your Stop Three Waters bumper sticker

We know that Labour MPs are spooked about the deep public opposition to Nanaia Mahuta's Three Waters asset grab.

That's why it's important that taxpayers fly the flag against the scheme up and down the country.

Bumper sticker

Click here to get your 'Stop Three Waters' bumper sticker'.

Thanks to Taxpayers' Union members and supporters who have chipped into our campaign chest, we've been steadily promoting our petition and have now built an army of almost 100,000 New Zealanders ready to fight Three Waters.

We're not just running ads: we've prepared a plan to mobilise our army of supporters to swamp the formal consultation when it opens.

And soon we'll be revealing a new initiative to take the Three Waters debate directly to the communities affected up and down the country. Watch this space...

Taxpayer Talk: The Port Of Auckland: A costly political football that hasn't scored success


In 2005, the Port of Auckland was delisted from the NZX and was taken over by what is now Auckland Council. Since then, the port has underperformed, become inefficient, and lagged behind other ports such as the Port of Tauranga.

Click here to listen to Jordan and Greg Smith from Devon Funds discuss how a public ownership model for Auckland's port has decimated its performance, value and status – costing Auckland ratepayers dearly.

You can find all of our Taxpayer Talk episodes on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or iHeart Radio.

The forgotten history of Hōne Heke

Hone Heke

A survey by Today FM recently ranked Hōne Heke as the second greatest New Zealander of all time.

While he's famous for cutting down the British flag pole, modern histories tend to skim over Hōne Heke's main motivation: he was protesting new taxes!

Click here to read my guest post on Kiwiblog highlighting this fascinating history.

Meanwhile, in astronomy news...

Black hole

Have a great weekend,

Louis circle

Louis Houlbrooke
Campaigns Manager
New Zealand Taxpayers' Union


Media coverage:

The Platform  Sean Plunket has a chat with Collin Peacock from RNZ

The Taxpayers’ Union is seeking student interns

The Platform  
Sean Plunket interviews Louis Houlbrooke

Newstalk ZB 
Taxpayers’ Union hits out at Film Commission Oscars excursion

Offsetting Behaviour  Strawmanning the ETS

Govt doesn’t understand ETS

On the Money

The easy pickings of taxing the rich

The right-wing recipe to cure climate change that is doomed to fail

The Guardian 
Opposition promises are entrancing New Zealanders as Jacinda Ardern’s star fades

Showing 1 reaction

  • Louis Houlbrooke
    published this page in News 2022-05-14 12:22:41 +1200

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