The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

October 30th, 2013 at 6:14 am by David Farrar

Today is the launch day for the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. The official release is:

 

A group of New Zealanders is establishing the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union to give Kiwi taxpayers a strong voice in the corridors of power.  The Taxpayers’ Union begins operations today.

The Taxpayers’ Union is a politically independent grassroots campaign to lower New Zealanders’ tax burden and reduce wasteful government spending.

Chairman John Bishop says, “we’ve come together to promote sensible fiscal management, to expose government waste and to promote policies to make public spending work better. Government, politicians and taxpayer funded groups are on notice that we are looking to expose waste or rorts.”

“We’re asking New Zealanders to join us and report government waste via a ‘tip line’ on our website.”

Executive Director Jordan Williams says “thousands of organisations and special interest groups lobby for more tax-and-spend.  The Taxpayers’ Union will ensure that at least one group is looking after hard working Kiwis whose taxes pay for politicians’ promises.”

David Farrar, a member of the Union Board says “the concern for our members is that vast amounts of public money is being spent by government on our behalf and we don’t get value for that money.  Our aims aren’t just to cut government spending, but to make public spending work better.”

Setting up a union for hardworking New Zealand taxpayers has been an aim of mine for over seven years. There are thousands of lobby groups out there who demand more spending by taxpayers on their pet causes, and there hasn’t been a voice dedicated to representing the interests of those who have to fund all the spending – taxpayers and ratepayers. It has been my belief that the political environment in New Zealand will be better by having a lobby group that can contribute to the debate on what should and should not be funded by taxpayers.

We are ambitious for the Taxpayers’ Union. Our aim is to become the largest union in New Zealand, achieving over 50,000 members and supporters. We can only achieve this with your help. Please go to our website, like our facebook page, follow us on Twitter. You can subscribe to our newsletter, join as a member and perhaps most importantly donate to us. We are reliant 100% on membership fees and donations from supporters. We do not get any Government funding, and never will.

Some of our initial projects will include:

  • Promote an ‘Armchair Auditors Act’, modelled on legislation enacted in some U.S. states, where all transactions over a de minimis amount are searchable on an online database;
  • Identify and expose the most flagrant examples of government waste;
  • A campaign  against taxpayer funded corporate and union welfare;
  • Expose and halt the significant public funding that lobby groups receive to campaign and lobby government for pet policy and law changes;
  • Promote legislation requiring local referenda for any increase in real per capita rates
  • Promote legislation strengthening the Official Information Act.

Over the break, is a brief history of how the Taxpayers’ Union was formed. This has been a huge labour of love for us. I’ve put in countless hours, and it’s great to have finally launched. We hope to make a real difference.

The genesis of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union started around a decade ago when I was on the Executive of the International Young Democrat Union. Through the IYDU I got to meet political activists and MPs from around the world, including the United Kingdom.

One of those I met was Matthew Elliott, who co-founded the UK Taxpayers’ Alliance. Over the years I saw the Taxpayers’ Alliance go from being a volunteer effort to a major political force in the United Kingdom, vigorously attacking wasteful government spending, promoting greater transparency around spending and arguing for taxpayers to get to spend more of their own money.

It struck me how badly such a group is needed in New Zealand where there are thousands of lobby groups that argue for more spending on their pet causes, but no group that seeks to represent the views of those who have to fund all the spending – taxpayers.

So for several years I’d promoted the concept of a New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, and found lots of people agreeing there was a need for such a group to balance the debate. But being rather busy myself, I had little spare time to make the idea a reality.

One day after the last election I was chatting a friend of mine, Jordan Williams who had also met Matthew Elliot at an IYDU event and was struck by the Taxpayers’ Alliance grassroots activist concept. Jordan not only supported the creating a similar group in New Zealand, but offered to help make it a reality.

So Jordan came on board, and things started to happen. We gained a constitution, we signed up members, we set up a bank account, we started recruiting supporters and slowly but surely the Taxpayers’ Union became a reality.

Along the way Gabrielle O’Brien joined the board, bring her business and marketing skills. And we gained a focus of administrative discipline from John Bishop who not only joined the Board, but agreed to be the inaugural Chair. Under John’s leadership, with Jordan’s energy, Gabby’s focus and my ideas the Taxpayers’ Union took shape.

We approached friends, colleagues and acquaintances and asked them if they were willing to support a dedicated voice for taxpayers, and many of them said yes. With some modest seed funding, we appointed Jordan as the Executive Director, gained some office space and started the job of having staff and volunteers scrutinising central and local government spending.

We have big plans for the Taxpayers’ Union. We want it to become New Zealand’s largest union. Not all taxpayers will support our work, but we hope all of them will benefit from it.

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115 Responses to “The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union”

  1. Right of way is Way of Right (1,125 comments) says:

    Where do I sign up!

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  2. Manolo (12,639 comments) says:

    All power to them!

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  3. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    Can this be used or replicated at a local body level?

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  4. thePeoplesFlag (102 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  5. big bruv (12,380 comments) says:

    All power to you DPF, my initial donation is on its way.

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  6. Scott1 (357 comments) says:

    OK I support all of those except the one about “Promote legislation requiring local referenda for any increase in real per capita rates”…

    1) For example I think there could be a need to re-balance the taxation system, this would require the changing of tax rates such that some people benefit and others are disadvantaged. In theory that might require a referendum?

    2) if you are successful and we run a low tax reigeme then in good times you could run a small deficit (due to keeping the lowest possible taxes) and a high rate of debt and a minimal tax rate. Then in bad times a huge deficit that requires a tax increase that you can’t get through resulting in debt far higher than is tolerable.

    3) or you could of course have a USA style stalemate where you can’t stop the spending but you also cant get the money to pay for it so you just increase debt helplessly.

    Of course, maybe none of that matters in the short to medium term because we are probably so far from running the government efficiently now that increases in efficiency would dominate.

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  7. hj (5,705 comments) says:

    Is this just pay less tax or are you going to promote a prescription such as that recommended by the Tax working Group?

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  8. Yoza (1,353 comments) says:

    So I’m guessing the National party won’t be standing a candidate in Epsom so the ‘Tax Payers’ Union’ gets a member in parliament. Spare a thought for the ACT party, this must be the final nail in their coffin.

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  9. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    I agree there could be problems with “Promote legislation requiring local referenda for any increase in real per capita rates”.

    Shouldn’t that be decided by each local government rather than be imposed by legislation nationally?

    There’s also an issue with central Government imposing costs on local government – should that only be done with referendum support as well?

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  10. William of Ockham (34 comments) says:

    Hahaha. As infuriating as it is seeing countless thousands of “civil servants” on massive salaries, and the wicked waste, the real problem is we have bred a bunch of sick and dependent specimens, who have just enough strength and focus to hold out a begging bowl. Half the population pay no income tax.

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  11. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    Is this just pay less tax

    Jordan Williams said on Breakfast that spending less tax wasn’t the target, the aim was to waste less tax that is spent poorly and get better value for money.

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  12. bc (1,252 comments) says:

    Union?? But according to the kiwiblog principles of blind ideology, unions are evil!

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  13. Bill Courtney (107 comments) says:

    Mr Farrar, I have your first assignment.

    Did the Charter School Working Group, chaired by ex-ACT Party President Catherine Isaac, deliver “value for money” for the NZ taxpayer?

    I asked the Ministry for the following information:
    “All reports, advice and recommendations provided to the Minister of Education, the Associate Minister of Education and the Minister of Finance, as required under “Section 6: Process”, of the Terms of Reference of the Working Group.”

    When the Ministry responded to this OIA request, I was told the following:
    “The Working Group did not produce any reports, advice or recommendations to the aforementioned Ministers. However, their views were captured in four documents that were produced by the Ministry of Education.”

    In response to the question of how much each member of the Working Group was paid, including reimbursed expenses, the MoE advised that Catherine Isaac was paid a total of $33,890.31.

    Questions for your investigation include:
    1. How can the issue of “value for taxpayer money” be determined, if the Working Group produced no written output in its own name?
    2. How can citizens determine and analyse what the “views” of the Working Group were and on what evidence these were based?
    3. How do we know the balance between the views of the Working Group and those of the Ministry or Minister(s) in compiling the four key documents?
    4. Why did the sponsoring Minister, John Banks, accept this approach? How did he exercise his responsibility to ensure that public expenditure was properly accounted for?

    I look forward to the results of your investigation.

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  14. flipper (3,274 comments) says:

    Bill Courtney (91) Says:
    October 30th, 2013 at 7:50 am
    ****

    Fuck off you socialist troll

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  15. All_on_Red (952 comments) says:

    If you could squeeze recall petitions onto your agenda- that would be great. Especially for local government officials! LBIAFC

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  16. duggledog (1,117 comments) says:

    I’m in. Biggest problem facing the country is throwing money away on non productive people and programmes.

    Problem is, there are so few actual taxpayers, thanks to WFF.

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  17. Lance (2,311 comments) says:

    Ha!
    The lefties are such bitter little folk, clenching their ‘tiny fists of rage’.

    Yoza and thePeoplesFlag – sucking the lemon juice of life.

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  18. Nostalgia-NZ (4,697 comments) says:

    Trim up the spending on the ‘sacred cow’ the Justice System blindly spending money to support a ‘position.’ Improve at the other end, legal aid, and support the Nat’s effort in reducing re-offending.

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  19. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    flipper – the Taxpayer’s Union is independent of political affiliation or leaning, trying to portray it as ‘us versus them” will undermine it.

    The Taxpayers’ Union is 100 per cent politically independent. We are not affiliated with any political party and will never become a political party. We will work with all parties, MPs or candidates that share our objectives.

    Bill – you can submit here: http://taxpayers.org.nz/pages/tip-line

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  20. hj (5,705 comments) says:

    Society has some basic problems as when groups are in control of productive resources and others aren’t. In order to obtain a share of those resources they have to have something to exchange. Expanding the productive resources isn’t always possible and it isn’t always possible for those with little to exchange to find unclaimed productive resources. Those without accept low wages, starve, beg, sell crape paper flowers to tourists or we have a social welfare system. The alternative is a revolution. In the past war would have been inevitable as groups formed and an out group revolts, is slaughtered or agrees to emigrate (Maori). We don’t live under those rules anymore. Human ability follows a bell shaped curve; resources are limited; populations keep on growing; the rich pursue ever more wealth.

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  21. flipper (3,274 comments) says:

    Pete George (19,330) Says:
    October 30th, 2013 at 7:38 am
    I agree there could be problems with “Promote legislation requiring local referenda for any increase in real per capita rates”.

    Shouldn’t that be decided by each local government
    ***

    PG, after your recent Loc Gov experience, I thort you would know about Loc Gov finance…

    Yes, having each Loc Bod make its own decisions would be fine if Central Government was absolved of ALL responsibility for Local Government finance. At the moment, taxpayers (the State) underwrite ALL Local Government borrowing and other operations. Local Government should be just like a business. If you go broke, you stay broke, are placed in receivership/liquidation, or get a neighbouring Loc Bod to buy you out……

    But …. :-)

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  22. flipper (3,274 comments) says:

    PG….
    Mr Courtenay, or who ever he/she/it is….
    has been peddling the teacher union line on schools for months.

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  23. bc (1,252 comments) says:

    Wow flipper, talk about anger issues. Seek help man.

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  24. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    flipper – concerns over wasting taxpayer money should not be exclusive to people you agree with politically.

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  25. Simon (613 comments) says:

    Nearly all government is waste.

    Over the last 10 years there has been around $150 billion in transfers from the protective into those on welfare yet apparently in 2013 22% of children are born into poverty.

    The system isnt working. NZ taxpayers union will be part of the problem.

    And there are 3 sources of government “revenue”. Tax, borrowing & money printing. Change the bloody name for a start. You dont get it.

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  26. Camryn (549 comments) says:

    Site is crashing when I try to sign up.

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  27. homepaddock (429 comments) says:

    Well done on having the vision and acting on it. I’ve followed the work of the UK Taxpayers’ Alliance and long thought we needed something like that here.

    It doesn’t matter where you are on the political spectrum, better value for tax money is better for us all.

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  28. Mark Thomson (80 comments) says:

    The sign-up form has no ‘country’ field. Ex-pat voters not welcome?

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  29. dave_c_ (206 comments) says:

    So Flipper – I guess submissions are only acceptable to you if they aid your cause.
    My understanding is that this exactly the type of work the ‘new union’ could get its teeth into – or am I wrong Mr Farrar ?
    Perhaps this union will be led by right leaning current government sympathetic followers – or perhaps this is just another instance where the current government is looking for ways to embellish their own objectives

    Have no fear, I am no left leaning sympathetco ! Just prefer a bit of honesty, and giving everyone a fair hearing

    So in your own terms – fuck off – unless you have something productive to say

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  30. Camryn (549 comments) says:

    The site worked the third time. Also, at least in the browser I was using, it works better if you type the password into the “confirm password” box before you type it into the first box. The “does it match” code doesn’t seem to work the normal way around.

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  31. peterwn (2,939 comments) says:

    I will be dobbing in the Crown Law Office when a certain trial is finished.

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  32. William of Ockham (34 comments) says:

    One of the main problems is that some people don’t just want jobs, they want good jobs, that is, jobs that pay them more than they’re worth to anyone. And they certainly don’t want to work. Otherwise they would work, doing something useful, somewhere, some place, somehow. It’s made worse by the high salaries paid in central and local government to people who actually produce nothing. Thousands and thousands of them, whose sole purpose is to send each other messages about how people doing the work should be doing the work.

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  33. Simon (613 comments) says:

    Dont forget ladies when National dropped tax rates 5 yrs ago by a couple of percent they printed the shortfall.

    The UK is going broke the tax payers alliance there changed nothing because it is about economics not accounting.

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  34. flipper (3,274 comments) says:

    PG….
    and another new troll….

    In case you have not noticed, the demand for increased State spending invariably comes from the left.

    The left and red melons have a belief system that is unique to them: In their infinite wisdom, they know how best to spend what I earn. Moreover, they claim the right to be paid a salary, by me and others that produce the wealth of the nation – spending my money. And if you want some examples, take a peek at about 50% of the latest academic welfare grants for studying “the growth of toenails”, etc.

    At a Local Government level, as you know, it is driven by over-paid self important clerks who bear no responsibility for raising any of the monies they spend.

    But lest I be misunderstood: The Union of Taxpayers ? Great idea. I will use their tip line with gay (not rainbow) abandon

    But hang on… The union of taxpayers? Is that not , more or less, ACT ???????

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  35. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    No doubt you could have a whole team of people working day and night, discovering government waste all over the place. But it would still be peanuts compared to what is spent (i.e. wasted) on welfare every day. That is where our taxes are going.

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  36. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,049 comments) says:

    Hey DPF – I’m curious: did you just receive a taxpayer funded interest free loan to buy some shares in Meridian?

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  37. sparky (235 comments) says:

    Excellent.Support this Union fully.

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  38. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    SOoooooooooo then………Bill English is now dumb and useless?

    All that the Taxpayers Union will ever achieve is getting chairs from a cheaper supplier!

    They’re a bloody joke.

    This is just another token bloody effort from Progs on the right who just want to ‘look like they are doing something’.

    Either National can cut the size of government – or they fucken can’t! :cool:

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  39. somewhatthoughtful (437 comments) says:

    This is just fantastic. I’ve been waiting for a group to properly oppose the waste of taxpayer money that is the Meridian HP deal, SCF, Tiwai subsidy etc.

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  40. gump (1,231 comments) says:

    @Simon

    “Over the last 10 years there has been around $150 billion in transfers from the protective into those on welfare yet apparently in 2013 22% of children are born into poverty.”

    ———————

    Over 50% of that welfare spending was used to pay for universal Superannuation.

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  41. RRM (8,994 comments) says:

    This is a very good initiative DPF.

    Just make sure you take a lot of care to always put your best foot forward – there will be people lining up to characterise the Taxpayer’s Union as nothing but a bunch of “haters and wreckers”…

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  42. William of Ockham (34 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ (4,106) Says: October 30th, 2013 at 7:57 am. Trim up the spending on the ‘sacred cow’ the Justice System blindly spending money to support a ‘position.’

    You mean give into the powerful well-oiled propaganda machine that campaigned for years to free a mass murderer. Well, a smart lawyer can bamboozle a jury but most of us see through the charade. The facts speak for themselves.

    Millions and millions down the drain.

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  43. dave_c_ (206 comments) says:

    Or RRM – Another government tool

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  44. Newbie (26 comments) says:

    Will all submissions made to the tipline be published in the “waste watch” page? To avoid duplication of entries, and to help people identify examples of wasteful spending.
    Also, will there be an opportunity for feedback, such as a response from the manager/CEO/person etc to explain the spending and/or to say that they have acted on the wasteful spending?

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  45. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    It seems that, for some, their political affiliations define their entire lives – dave_c_

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  46. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    Danyl, I’m curious – what has that got to do with this? It seems to be as irrelevant as whether you get any WFF tax credits or not. And do you not understand how a deferred payment works as a part of a package deal?

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  47. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “……….RRM (8,160) Says:
    October 30th, 2013 at 8:51 am
    This is a very good initiative DPF.

    Just make sure you take a lot of care to always put your best foot forward – there will be people lining up to characterise the Taxpayer’s Union as nothing but a bunch of “haters and wreckers”……”

    haters and wreckers….LOL….bullshitters more like it:

    I think money would be better well spent if Married women who were pregnant worked at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs – than the current lesbians, feminists, and others who suffer from identity disorders!

    Simply because children who are bought up in an ordinary orthodox family become PRODUCTIVE TAXPAYERS!

    And those kids that don’t, mostly become bludgers at some time in their lives for one reason or another!

    I’m gonna fucken love seeing The Taxpayers Union and David Farrar take down the left’s feminists! :cool:

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  48. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,049 comments) says:

    Danyl, I’m curious – what has that got to do with this?

    Think REAL hard Pete George.

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  49. virtualmark (1,423 comments) says:

    Danyl McLauchlan

    Hey DPF – I’m curious: did you just receive a taxpayer funded interest free loan to buy some shares in Meridian?

    All your question shows is that you don’t understand economics or finance particularly well.

    Finance 101 is that there’s a time value of money, and so there is no interest free loan in the Meridian instalments payments. Effectively the choice would have been between paying $1.50 spread over 2 payments across 18 months (i.e. what the Government offered). Or to have paid a single payment of $1.47 (i.e. the same time value of money, but an option the Government never offered).

    In other words, if DPF subscribed for some Meridian shares then he’s effectively paying interest on the final $0.50 instalment, and so he’s funding the Government, not the other way round.

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  50. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    Isn’t this pretty much the reason ACT – Association of Consumers and Taxpayers – was formed…?

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  51. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    Danyl – I have thought about it, and end up wondering how much the Green Party sabotaging of the share floats has cost New Zealand taxpayers. Have you thought about that?

    Do you benefit at all from Green Party money? Will the taxpayers benefit at all from all the money being spent on petitions and a referendum? There’s plenty that we can think about here.

    But I don’t think it’s something the Taxpayer’s Union can expose any more, it’s very well known.

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  52. gump (1,231 comments) says:

    @flipper

    “In case you have not noticed, the demand for increased State spending invariably comes from the left.”

    ———————

    No – the demand for spending comes from both sides of the political spectrum.

    The easy example would be President Clinton – who delivered a considerably lower deficit/GDP ratio than the Republican Presidents who preceded him (Reagan and Bush Snr) and the Republican President who followed him (Bush Jnr).

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  53. Dirty Rat (377 comments) says:

    ” I have thought about it, and end up wondering how much the Green Party sabotaging of the share floats has cost New Zealand taxpayers. Have you thought about that?”

    Obviously performance in related or similar investments didnt come into that indepth analysis

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  54. Daigotsu (446 comments) says:

    DPF this is a lovely idea but your execution is flawed

    Specifically your claim that you will work with all political parties

    Let’s face it if you are serious about doing something about taxpayer accountability you should be strongly promoting votes for National, ACT and the Conservatives. Doing anything else is just fiddling around the edges.

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  55. Daigotsu (446 comments) says:

    Danyl if you really felt confidence in arguing with Pete you wouldn’t have banned him from your ‘blog’

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  56. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    The political knockers are quick off the mark.

    Police Warning: David Farrar has hijacked the word Union

    The Bore of Babylon, David Farrar, he of the hooven foot, has hijacked the word Union in a desperate scramble to generate a fake lobby group for the Government to help distract from the hideous economic agenda of National.

    Farrar is a hard right spin dr who masquerades his ideology with lite right messaging, a ‘Taxpayer’s Union’ is just another attempt to pollute the dialogue stream with more hard right wing selfishness dressed up in moralistic personal responsibility pretensions. Think of it as a really weak and milky Tea Party think tank.

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/10/30/police-warning-david-farrar-has-hijacked-the-word-union/

    That’s from someone who is paid to promote the Mana party.

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  57. flipper (3,274 comments) says:

    virtualmark (1,374) Says:
    October 30th, 2013 at 9:06 am
    Danyl McLauchlan

    Hey DPF – I’m curious: did you just receive a taxpayer funded interest free loan to buy some shares in Meridian?

    All your question shows is that you don’t understand economics or finance particularly well.
    ******

    Nicely put, Virtual…

    But Danyl McLauchlan is not referring to Meridian shares is he? He can’t be, surely.
    He must the interest free “education” loans, OR the interest free, $800,000 spend up by Clark/Simpson/Williams et al. No

    But let us assume he is referring to Meridian, his inability to recognise that the MOM is better than SOE, which is only marginally better than the Ministry of Stuff-ups, is of concern. When State Ownership, in all its forms, is of no import to the vast majority of New Zealanders, it is no wonder that Cun minus T, and his union cronies, are spinning wheels.

    No matter what the red melon/Liarbore/CTU money wasting exercise produces next month, the only referenda that matter were held in 2008 and 2011. The next will be 2014, Danyl, where all your weasel words will be squashed by one thing: “It Is The Economy – STUPID”.

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  58. Samuel Smith (266 comments) says:

    A Tea Party for New Zealand; great.

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  59. southtop (257 comments) says:

    Reading Bill Courtney’s post above and subsequent comments shows the difficulty of credibility for this ‘union’. To be successful the NZ Taxpayers Union MUST show neither fear nor favour.
    As one who subscribes to the theory that the nine most dangerous words in the english language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
    ALL government spending should be investigated.
    Therefore this union has to investigate troughing regardless of who is in government. It would have been easier under the previous administration however in terms of obtaining a wider buy in now is a really good time.
    Shine the light!

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  60. Tom Jackson (2,261 comments) says:

    Perhaps if conservatives understood why we actually pay tax, there would no need for this waste of time.

    Meanwhile, all New Zealanders pay for your ignorance.

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  61. Dennis Horne (2,059 comments) says:

    @Tom Jackass. We pay tax because it’s the law, stupid. :)

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  62. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    “No – the demand for spending comes from both sides of the political spectrum.”

    You sad loon.. what “both sides”???

    One day you’ll get a right wing government but until that happens there’s no political spectrum to speak of and you’re talking rubbish.

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  63. Samuel Smith (266 comments) says:

    I note the website states interest free student loans will be a target, but not interest free loans to buy shares in power companies.

    Non-partisan?

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  64. Ross12 (930 comments) says:

    Well done David.

    I’ll always support someone who is prepared to put time and effort into something they think is worthwhile for the community.

    Clearly the naysayers who have already raised their heads are not worried about how their taxes are spent and more importantly how efficiently they are spent are also part of the crowd who think money grows on trees or they have shares in the companies producing printing presses.

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  65. UglyTruth (3,133 comments) says:

    There are thousands of lobby groups out there who demand more spending by taxpayers on their pet causes

    These groups are is no position to make demands.
    The best they can hope for is a successful petition.

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  66. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    I am sorry but I do not really understand the objectives of the Taxpayers Union. Nor do I understand its methods.

    I applaud the idea of hassling the government on wasteful spending but wouldn’t this be far more effective if it was done from a political standpoint? Then if this is true, wouldn’t a politically party be a better solution?

    I don’t see what the Union is trying to achieve and what results it is expecting.

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  67. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Hooray..bout bloody time..I a signing up

    Well done.

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  68. cha (3,539 comments) says:

    Association of Consumers and Taxpayers – oh wait…..

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  69. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “….Clearly the naysayers who have already raised their heads are not worried about how their taxes are spent and more importantly how efficiently they are spent are also part of the crowd who think money grows on trees or they have shares in the companies producing printing presses….”

    What crap!

    Ross the reality is this – either National can see wastage in government – or it can’t. It can do something about it – or it can’t. It can decrease the size of government – or it can’t.

    All the Taxpayers Union is simply about ‘is being seen to do at least something’. It’s pathetic.

    Like I said at Harriet 9:03 am :

    “…. I think money would be better well spent if Married women who were pregnant worked at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs – than the current lesbians, feminists, and others who suffer from identity disorders!
    Simply because children who are bought up in an ordinary orthodox family become PRODUCTIVE TAXPAYERS!…”

    The Taxpayers Union is NOT EVER going to see taxpayers money is BETTER SPENT!

    It’s just a National affiliated PR move – fucken bullshit really.

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  70. Manolo (12,639 comments) says:

    I applaud the idea of hassling the government on wasteful spending but wouldn’t this be far more effective if it was done from a political standpoint?

    A thousand times more effective.

    Moreover, hassling cannot be expected from those who are members of today’s left-wing National Party.

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  71. RJL (122 comments) says:

    Is it 1 April?

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  72. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Well said Manolo.

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  73. Dennis Horne (2,059 comments) says:

    You can have leadership and government in the true sense of the meaning of the word or you can have democracy – a lucky dip that bottoms out.

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  74. berend (1,602 comments) says:

    “The page cannot be displayed because an internal server error has occurred.”

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  75. berend (1,602 comments) says:

    Site doesn’t accept AMEX cards, tells me only at the end, and doesn’t let me try with a different card.

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  76. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    Wise spending of taxpayer money seems to be unpopular with some:

    The anti-democrats NZ tea party

    From the ranks of those working in the murky depths of dirty, disgusting and despicable politics, comes a piss take of a “union” of “taxpayers”, to lobby against a fair, democratic, caring and inclusive state and for the already greedy and powerful.

    But, given the track record of the this tea party piss take of a “union”, I’m not expecting them to get a big membership, but just to add to the ranks and PR of lobbyists for the already wealthy and powerful.

    This piss-take “union”, is as much about spin and propaganda, as it is about “lobbying”. It’s brought to us by people at the forefront of right wing spin, smears and anti-democratic diversions.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/the-anti-democrats-nz-tea-party/

    That was brought to you from people at the forefront of ledt wing spin, smears and anti-democratic diversions.

    What do they have to fear from a spending watchdog?

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  77. thePeoplesFlag (102 comments) says:

    What are the legislative requirements of being a union anyway? Does David Farrar plan to have open meetings, call votes for actions, conduct open, free and fair elections of his officials and have all the other transparency of his union he demands of the left’s unions? Or is democratic transparency of organisations called “unions” something only for the left? Is his use of the word “union” simply the stunt of a cynical right wing lobbyist?

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  78. emmess (1,334 comments) says:

    I note the website states interest free student loans will be a target, but not interest free loans to buy shares in power companies.

    Idiot.
    Have you never seen a Harvey Norman ad? Or should they be targeted too?

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  79. emmess (1,334 comments) says:

    What are the legislative requirements of being a union anyway?

    Good question.
    You better watch out because the Taxpayer Union thugs will threaten you with violence if you don’t tow the line.
    That’s how unions work.

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  80. OTGO (457 comments) says:

    Admission from DPF that Labour/Green government is inevitable in 2014

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  81. Ross12 (930 comments) says:

    Harriet says

    ” What crap!

    Ross the reality is this – either National can see wastage in government – or it can’t. It can do something about it – or it can’t. It can decrease the size of government – or it can’t.”

    If David and co. are successful then they will be holding all Govts to account as much as they can , no matter who is in power.
    By your line of logic there is no need for Forest and Bird because the Greens are their to promote that line of interest, their is no need for Labour unions because Labour will look after workers when in Govt. etc In fact you seem to being arguing there is no need for any lobby groups . ( Maybe that is a good idea !!)

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  82. publicwatchdog (1,840 comments) says:

    The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union (and any other group / organisation / political party) is welcome to help help themselves to any of the following:

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ANTI-CORRUPTION-WHITE-COLLAR-CRIME-CORPORATE-WELFARE-ACTION-PLAN-Ak-Mayoral-campaign-19-July-2013-2.pdf

    Some of us have been ‘blowing the whistle’ long and hard for some time on these issues.

    http://www.pennybright4epsom.org.nz
    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com
    http://www.stopthesupercity.org.nz

    I guess that the Auckland Council Mayoral result has proved that increasing numbers of the voting public are ‘getting it’, regarding the lack of transparency and democratic accountability, particularly in the Auckland region?

    In my considered opinion, in some cases the legislation is already there, but it is simply not being implemented.

    eg: the Public Records Act 2005

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2005/0040/latest/DLM345729.html

    Part 2
    Recordkeeping requirements
    Subpart 1—Key duties

    17 Requirement to create and maintain records

    (1) Every public office and local authority must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs, in accordance with normal, prudent business practice, including the records of any matter that is contracted out to an independent contractor.

    (2)Every public office must maintain in an accessible form, so as to be able to be used for subsequent reference, all public records that are in its control, until their disposal is authorised by or under this Act or required by or under another Act.

    (3)Every local authority must maintain in an accessible form, so as to be able to be used for subsequent reference, all protected records that are in its control, until their disposal is authorised by or under this Act.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2005/0040/latest/DLM345536.html

    3 Purposes of Act
    The purposes of this Act are—

    (a)to provide for the continuation of the repository of public archives called the National Archives with the name Archives New Zealand (Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga); and

    (b)to provide for the role of the Chief Archivist in developing and supporting government recordkeeping, including making independent determinations on the disposal of public records and certain local authority archives; and

    (c)to enable the Government to be held accountable by—

    (i)ensuring that full and accurate records of the affairs of central and local government are created and maintained; and
    (ii)providing for the preservation of, and public access to, records of long-term value; and

    (d)to enhance public confidence in the integrity of public records and local authority records; and

    (e)to provide an appropriate framework within which public offices and local authorities create and maintain public records and local authority records, as the case may be; and

    (f)through the systematic creation and preservation of public archives and local authority archives, to enhance the accessibility of records that are relevant to the historical and cultural heritage of New Zealand and to New Zealanders’ sense of their national identity; and

    (g)to encourage the spirit of partnership and goodwill envisaged by the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi), as provided for by section 7; and

    (h)to support the safekeeping of private records.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2005/0040/latest/DLM345537.html

    public office—

    (a)means the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Government of New Zealand; and
    (b)means the agencies or instruments of those branches of government; and
    (c)includes (without limiting the agencies or instruments)—

    (i)departments as defined in section 2 of the State Sector Act 1988; and
    (ii)Offices of Parliament as defined in section 2(1) of the Public Finance Act 1989; and
    (iii)State enterprises as defined in section 2 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986; and
    (iv)Crown entities as defined in section 7(1) of the Crown Entities Act 2004; and
    (v)the Parliamentary Counsel Office; and
    (vi)the Parliamentary Service; and
    (vii)the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives; and
    (viii)the New Zealand Police; and
    (ix)the New Zealand Defence Force; and
    (x)the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service; and
    (xi)any person or class of persons declared by an Order in Council made under section 5(1)(a)(i) to be a public office for the purposes of this Act

    public record—

    (a)means a record or a class of records, in any form, in whole or in part, created or received (whether before or after the commencement of this Act) by a public office in the conduct of its affairs; and

    (b)includes—

    (i)a record or a class of records declared under section 5(1)(a)(ii) to be a public record for the purposes of this Act; and
    (ii)estray records; but

    (c)does not include—
    (i)a special collection; or
    (ii)records created by the academic staff or students of a tertiary education institution, unless the records have become
    part of the records of that institution

    record means information, whether in its original form or otherwise, including (without limitation) a document, a signature, a seal, text, images, sound, speech, or data compiled, recorded, or stored, as the case may be,—

    (a)in written form on any material; or
    (b)on film, negative, tape, or other medium so as to be capable of being reproduced; or
    (c)by means of any recording device or process, computer, or other electronic device or process

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    How can you have transparency without proper written records?

    Why aren’t citizens and ratepayers, and taxpayers being given the ‘devilish detail’ and been shown EXACTLY where public monies are being spent on consultants and private contractors?

    ie: The NAMES of the consultants/contractors; the SCOPE; TERM and VALUE of these private contracts?

    (The next issue is the ‘cost-effectiveness’ of the privatisation of public services which were once provided ‘in-house’ at central and local government….. )

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation campaigner’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

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  83. RightNow (6,348 comments) says:

    hahaha imagine how much spit Martin Bradbury & co must be wiping off their monitors.

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  84. Samuel Smith (266 comments) says:

    Is the Taxpayers’ Union a registered union?

    Can I suggest an alternative name? – The Tea Party of New Zealand.

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  85. RightNow (6,348 comments) says:

    For the stupid out there (yes you^), taxpayers unions “are formal nonprofit or informal advocacy groups that promote lower taxation, reductions in government spending, and limits to government debt.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxpayer_groups

    And the equivalent in the USA is not the Tea Party, it is the National Taxpayers Union, established in 1969

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Taxpayers_Union

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  86. srylands (301 comments) says:

    “Is the Taxpayers’ Union a registered union?

    Can I suggest an alternative name? – The Tea Party of New Zealand.”

    Unbelievable. I might include you in my forthcoming essay of The Standard dwellers’ belief systems.

    Your comment demonstrates why EVERYONE should pay tax. Having 12% of residents paying most of the tax take means the other 88% will vote for people who promise to tax the other 12% even more.

    Your belief system, and the translation of that belief system into politcial decisions is what creates Greece.

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  87. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    ..thats because amex cards are so yesterday…

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  88. unpcnzcougar (51 comments) says:

    Thanks David. I have joined and donated. Look forward to being involved.

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  89. dime (8,778 comments) says:

    So, the goal is to hit 50,000 members?

    At that point momentum takes over and it just “makes sense” to form a political party as well? Stand them in epsom or the new electorate.

    DPF – are you prepared for the abuse? The media will do their best to turn this into a joke.

    I can already see it “the tax payer union facebook page only managed 500 likes in its first day, compared to 4000 achieved by anna guys new “i love shoes” page” etc etc

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  90. Ross12 (930 comments) says:

    Hi Penny

    I’m still waiting for a reply to my question to you from a few days ago — do you approve of the Auckland City Council paid spin merchants working on defending Brown’s problems in Council time? That is , rate payers money used to defend what they are calling a “private matter”.

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  91. Fentex (664 comments) says:

    the Taxpayer’s Union is independent of political affiliation or leaning

    It will be a constant tension to maintain independence. If at all successful such a union will attract attention, it’s opinions on candidates for office would be sought, a tendency to recommend one party over another (and that seems likely given political campaigns) would undermine independence.

    I would think for it’s own good such a union should take as policy from the start a refusal to recommend candidates or support for declared political policy – and stick to recommending efficient institutions and practices.

    But it won’t be able to avoid comment on specific laws, not and attempt it’s ambitions – so it will find itself in conflict with politicians – and if that ever leads to debate removed from simple and clear principles of efficient use of funds, if it ever leads into debate over philosophy and ideology and the purpose of the law or regulation in dispute any impression of independence will waft away.

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  92. Samuel Smith (266 comments) says:

    @Fentex – Well said.

    Take the Genesis share offer v interest free student loans for example.

    I think it is safe to assume that this group will support interest free loans to buy the Government’s share offer in Genesis but not interest free student loans?

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  93. hj (5,705 comments) says:

    Why do we fund academic disciplines which have become closet political pressure groups (Diversity Studies, Maori Studies)?

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  94. RightNow (6,348 comments) says:

    “I think it is safe to assume that this group will support interest free loans to buy the Government’s share offer in Genesis”

    Bollocks. What interest free loan to buy Genesis shares? You’re making shit up.

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  95. RRM (8,994 comments) says:

    Redbaiter:
    I am sorry but I do not really understand the objectives of the Taxpayers Union. Nor do I understand its methods.

    I don’t see what the Union is trying to achieve and what results it is expecting.

    Yes but that’s a problem with your reading comprehension not DPF’s site. The following should answer your questions:

    http://taxpayers.org.nz/pages/what-we-stand-for

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  96. duggledog (1,117 comments) says:

    ‘Yoza, the People’s Flag’

    I call you: ‘Yoza, The People’s Fag’

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  97. Colville (1,780 comments) says:

    I can already see it “the tax payer union facebook page only managed 500 likes in its first day, compared to 4000 achieved by anna guys new “i love shoes” page” etc etc

    I think the sum of the IQ points of the 500 would match or better the sum of the IQ points of the 4000 :-)

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  98. Manolo (12,639 comments) says:

    Why do we fund academic disciplines which have become closet political pressure groups (Diversity Studies, Maori Studies)?

    Because academia is full of progressives prepared to advance their cause. And mainly because politicians have neither the desire nor the will to fight them.

    Labour Lite is the best example of such pathetic attitude. By definition it should take the axe to these programs. In reality, it does not.

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  99. RRM (8,994 comments) says:

    I think the sum of the IQ points of the 500 would match or better the sum of the IQ points of the 4000 :-)

    Their voting power doesn’t though, that’s the problem.

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  100. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Ross12#

    “…..If David and co. are successful then they will be holding all Govts to account as much as they can , no matter who is in power.
    By your line of logic there is no need for Forest and Bird because the Greens are their to promote that line of interest, their is no need for Labour unions because Labour will look after workers when in Govt. etc In fact you seem to being arguing there is no need for any lobby groups . ( Maybe that is a good idea !!)….”

    National has said long before they were ever elected and during their government reign ”…..we’ll save money….” ect. ect.

    So what savings can DPF see that Bill English can’t see?

    I said in my first post:

    Harriet (2,812) Says:
    October 30th, 2013 at 8:44 am

    SOoooooooooo then………Bill English is now dumb and useless?

    Why then doesn’t DPF just say so? ……Like I said Ross…..it’s just all National PR bullshit!

    We’ll HANG Bill English EVERYTIME that DPF sees savings! :cool:

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  101. NK (919 comments) says:

    Sorry, DPF, but I’ll never donate to a cause where Jordan Williams is involved.

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  102. Samuel Smith (266 comments) says:

    Is it just me, or is everyone on the board ex Prebble’s Rebels?

    Act folk in Young Knats clothing.

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  103. MT_Tinman (2,793 comments) says:

    Just you.

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  104. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    The following should answer your questions:

    It doesn’t really.

    Taxpayer’s Union to Labour govt- “We don’t like that you’re spending on this issue. We think it is extravagant and wasteful and the money could be spent better elsewhere.”

    Labour govt to Taxpayer’s Union- “Go fuck yourself”.

    So what happens next?

    As I said above, I applaud the sentiment, and the effort is heroic too, but what do they really expect to achieve? Especially when they say they are apolitical.

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  105. itstricky (1,146 comments) says:

    Wow.

    Headline:

    KB redefines the meaning of ‘union’ from ‘scumsuckers’ to ‘group of related individuals banded together to advance their collective cause’, bringing it in line with the rest of humanity.

    Read all about it!

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  106. lofty (1,295 comments) says:

    I get it David…well done….respect.

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  107. lofty (1,295 comments) says:

    Anything or anybody that holds govt’s both local and national’s feet to the fire, has to be a good thing.
    The equivalent body in the UK is a power to be reckoned with.
    Strategically & logistically very very clever, even if the concept is not particularly original.

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  108. itstricky (1,146 comments) says:

    Opp got another one.

    Where do I sign up!
    All power to them!
    Can this be used or replicated at a local body level?
    All power to you DPF, my initial donation is on its way.

    Sounds like a whole lot of slogans from a bunch of Greenie voters.

    I pronounce (because I know soooo much about this) that all those who support the Taxpayers Union must go back to living without any public funding what-so-ever – drive around in horse-drawn-carts and so forth, living a self sustaining life, holding up handmade candles for light on All-Hallows-Eve without reliance on public money. I mean, if they did anything else, then they’d just be hypocritical wouldn’t they? Surely? How can they live with themselves using up all this public money if they are standing up to stop public spending…

    B*y Greenies…who do they think they are?

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  109. lofty (1,295 comments) says:

    Itstricky…is that opp as in opportunity or just a wee oops?

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  110. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    An interesting column from Lance Wiggs – Taxpayers Union: Teaparty wingnuts or rational economists?

    Overall I’m willing to wait and see what the Taxpayers Union comes up with, but with a core aim to “lower the tax burden on New Zealanders” and a focus on uncovering scandals it feels like a economically lightweight single cause group. It seems to lack people from parties other than National, accepts anonymous donations (giving instructions as to how) but has a $5 joining fee – which smells potentially of rich people paying for astroturfing. I really hope this is not be the case, but that’s what I’m seeing at the moment. Sorry David Farrar.

    There is already an indication NZTU could be too ideological and not evidence orientated enough with a quick reaction yesterday. Via a tweet from Jordan Williams ‏@JordNZ – Waste Watch blog post: Taxpayers’ Union welcomes Labour Party pledge

    TAXPAYERS’ UNION WELCOMES LABOUR PARTY PLEDGE

    The Taxpayers’ Union has welcomed Labour MP Jacinda Ardern’s announcement that if elected, Labour will scrap the Families Commission quango.

    Government funding for an organisation churning out reports such as ‘Eating Together at Mealtimes’, is better spent on the frontline. We support Labour’s stance.

    The Families Commission was only ever a result of an election deal with a minor party. We are glad Labour realise the need for money to be spent where it will be most effective for taxpayers.

    I asked in reply “Have you researched whether the Families Commission provides good value or not? Or is NZTU just against quangos?”

    No response so far. A common problem with “for the people” initiatives is that it can be hard to resist using them for their own ideologies.

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  111. Dirty Rat (377 comments) says:

    I take it Penny Bright will have free membership

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  112. peterwn (2,939 comments) says:

    “I will be dobbing in the Crown Law Office when a certain trial is finished.”
    Here it is:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/9346948/Mother-not-guilty-of-manslaughter-over-sons-bath-death

    I think that Crown Law was more interested in aiming for a scalp than doing what was in the best interests of the community. The case has cost the taxpayer a significant sum, deprived the jurors of 2 – 3 days income and disrupted their workplaces, and clogged further already overloaded courts.

    “Crown proscutor Sally Carter said by leaving her child in the bath, the woman made a major departure from the reasonable standard of care. ” This was just unctuous claptrap in the light of the evidence given.

    Even if found guilty, if the Sentencing act was properly followed, nothing more than a wet bus ticket could be justified.

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  113. Pete George (21,828 comments) says:

    peterwn – yes, I was surprised they pursued this case. Courts can’t insist on perfection in parents, we all get distracted. The mother had already had about as severe a consequence as was possible.

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  114. Manolo (12,639 comments) says:

    I asked in reply “Have you researched whether the Families Commission provides good value or not?

    C’mon P.G. List one, just one Dunne’s Families Commission achievement that has resulted in a tangible benefit to a single NZ family. You’ll find a unicorn first.

    You know full well it was the price Labour paid for striking a deal with your master. Stop defending the indefensible.

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  115. Stevenz (9 comments) says:

    I look forward to NZTU attacking National for wasting taxpayers funds being spent as election bribes. You know the ones spent by my parents and yours to pay for state assets like electricity companies. The alter of electoral success is appropriate or profligate? I look forward to the dislike of your cynically inbred voters who clearly cannot tolerate anything as subversive as a reasonable argument.

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