Taxpayers' Union calls on all unions to pay back wage subsidy
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is repaying the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy and is calling on other unions and political groups to do the same. A petition has been launched at www.taxpayers.org.nz/payitback.
When the Government last year made the unprecedented decision to lock down New Zealand’s economy, the Taxpayers’ Union publicly supported the Government’s moves to assist businesses in retaining employees.
However, the wage subsidy’s broad eligibility criteria and New Zealand’s surprising short-term economic bounceback has left many entities in a position to repay their taxpayer-funded subsidy.”
In December, the Taxpayers’ Union made the decision to repay its own wage subsidy payment, with monthly instalments over a period no longer than 24 months.
Unlike other unions we are almost totally funded by donations. That saw our revenue particularly hard-hit by the lockdowns. But we are in a better position now, and we are confident that over the coming months, we’ll be able to pay it back and return to our default position of not being government funded.
We’re challenging other all other unions to do the same. No union should profit, especially when financed by taxpayers, from a pandemic.
The Government’s trade union partners such as First Union and E Tū received hundreds of thousands in taxpayer money, despite having steady revenue streams from member dues. In fact, these unions were left with enough funds to run campaigns during the election to help re-elect the Government.
A handful of local councils also received the wage subsidy, despite having the ability to extract revenue from ratepayers at will. Even worse, instead of cutting back, councils actually grew their staff numbers in 2020. We’re calling on Tauranga District Council, Waikato District Council, and Northland Regional Council to repay the subsidy that all other local councils survived without.
The Taxpayers' Union's wage subsidy payment was audited by the Ministry of Social Development, which found that the Union qualified for the payment.