Statement on COVID-19 Wage Subsidy
As confirmed by the Government today, the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union is one of the many employers that have accepted the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy. This decision was made on the basis of our ethical obligations to staff during the government-mandated economic shutdown.
The decision to accept this subsidy was not as simple for us as for most organisations. Prior to COVID-19, we have stated on the record that we would never accept taxpayer funding. That commitment was, of course, made in a time few New Zealanders could possibly have anticipated COVID-19 and the ensuing economic situation.
After brief deliberation, the Taxpayers' Union board determined the welfare of our employees to be a more pressing immediate concern than ideological purity.
Moreover, we support the Government's strategy helping employers through the current crisis and we have not criticised any employer for taking this subsidy. It is important to distinguish between targeted corporate welfare, which we oppose, and across-the-board compensation for the effects of a government-mandated economic shutdown.
We stand with all employers affected by the lockdown and urge the Government to urgently advance an 'exit plan' that will create the conditions for all businesses to return to self-sufficiency.
UPDATE: With the immediate economic impact over, and donation income recovered back to pre-pandemic levels, in late 2020 the Taxpayers' Union took the decision to pay back the wage subsidy. You can read more about that decision here.