Taxpayers’ Union Has Attacked National More Often Than Any Other Party

September 3rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

John Bishop, The Taxpayers Union Chair has blogged:

Since the Taxpayers’ Union launched a number of left wing critics have claimed that we are just a front for the National Party, and are biased in its favour. The critics are wrong and their politically motivated criticisms are just nonsense.

We have always maintained that our stand is against waste and inefficiency and against bad policy wherever we find it, and that has always included the current government.

As Chairman I ensure that our Board and staff know that we are our own vehicle, with our own purposes, and don’t do other people’s bidding. Of course, we work with other groups (for example we partnered with Age Concern, Consumer NZ and the Financial Services Council for the Fair Tax for Savers campaign) where our objectives align.

An analysis of our media releases shows that we have criticised the National led government more often than any other party or entity.

Of the 192 media releases made by the Taxpayers’ Union since we started operations in October 2013, 121 media statements have been about central government of which 67 have criticised some aspect of the National Government’s policy and just 12 statements have supported a policy stance.    

The figures for Labour are 9 statements against and one in favour; for the Greens it is four against and two in favour.

So 67 statements criticising National, 9 criticising Labour, and four criticising the Greens. Hardly a pro-National front!

I’ve said a number of times that the Taxpayers Union will generally be most annoying to the Government of the Day, no matter which party that is. And I think it is vital there is at least one voice arguing for less spending to balance the thousands of lobby groups (most taxpayer funded) that argue for more.

We backed Winston Peters on the Interislander issue, and criticised a NZF candidate for double dipping and commended another NZF candidate, Ron Mark, for promising not to do so. We have issued only three statements about the Mana Party all critical of some aspect of their policy. …

We have criticised the current government on nine separate occasions for its continued use of taxpayers’ money in grants and handouts to so called growth companies. We called these ‘corporate welfare’ and in turn we have been attacked by Minister Stephen Joyce for doing so.

And we went after government Minister Todd McLay for getting a government grant to back a tourism project in his own electorate. The “stench of pork barrel politics in Rotorua” was our headline.

We have upset Business New Zealand as well as the Council of Trade Unions for revealing government funding to a joint venture those two bodies had for health and safety training. The ACC’s audit of the training labelled it a waste of time, and the government withdrew the funding.

We have also campaigned against the government’s decision to make passports valid for only five years, and we claim some credit in forcing a rethink which has put ten year passports back on the agenda.

Pleased to see Labour now backing a ten year passport also.

We have been genuine in our efforts to hold the government to account and to promote better policy and more effective spending.  We will continue to do that regardless of the outcome of the election.

The Taxpayers Union is a fiscally conservative organisation that believes in taxpayers getting to keep more of their own money, and that spending shouldn’t grow faster than the economy as a whole. They are (generally but not exclusively) centre-right values, but the Union is independent of all political parties, and will continue to be a strong voice for its beliefs.

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27 Responses to “Taxpayers’ Union Has Attacked National More Often Than Any Other Party”

  1. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    They are (generally but not exclusively) centre-right values, but the Union is independent of all political parties, and will continue to be a strong voice for its beliefs.

    And will its Executive Director continue to recycle the Taxpayer Union’s “independent” material in attack lines on the leader of the Labour Party on WhaleOil, without identifying himself as doing so?

    (Dirty Politics, pp. 104-105)

    [DPF: No]

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  2. dime (9,799 comments) says:

    I suspect when we finally get a left govt (or a diff left govt if youre red :D ), the union will attack them more. simply because they will waste a shit ton more money

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  3. DJP6-25 (1,355 comments) says:

    No surprise there then. After all, National are actually running an administration. The ‘further left of centre’ are releasing wish lists.

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  4. Grendel (991 comments) says:

    isnt it cute that Geddis, a supposedly intelligent academic, not only revels in reading stolen material, but thinks that everything printed by Hager was 100% the truth and in the correct context of how it was portrayed.

    nice to see that the left will betray any ethics they claim to have if they can attack an opponent, and will ignore all manner of inconvenient facts to maintain their belief in the narrative.

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  5. alloytoo (525 comments) says:

    Pay attention Penny – This is how public watchdogs are supposed to work.

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  6. Hugh Pavletich (157 comments) says:

    The Taxpayer Union team is to be congratulated for its outstanding work !

    The Report this year on Local Government Financial Performance was outstanding … and in how they worked in with Fairfax Media.

    The root cause of the housing problem is Local Authorities costs out of control.

    Do encourage people to support this great team !

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  7. mjw (390 comments) says:

    When are the taxpayers union going to start demanding that the National party refund Jason Ede’s salary to Parliamentary Services? I mean, how is that any different from the pledge card refunds?

    National should stop using other people’s money for their own purposes.

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  8. thePeoplesFlag (242 comments) says:

    The game is up Mr. Farrar; As long as you insist on pretending it is business as usual in your cosy little Farrar-Williams-Lusk-Ede-Slater dirt machine the deeper into the hole you’ve dug you are all going.

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  9. Psycho Milt (2,404 comments) says:

    isnt it cute that Geddis, a supposedly intelligent academic, not only revels in reading stolen material, but thinks that everything printed by Hager was 100% the truth and in the correct context of how it was portrayed.

    Here is the piece referred to (I think – Kindle version lacks page numbers):

    “[Jordan Williams] sent [a piece quoting his own NZTU attack on Labour] to Slater, saying, ‘Just emailed you a blog post (assuming you’re no fan of David Clark). I’m happy to do more over the break if you’re wanting them.’ Slater replied, ‘Sure, chuck them thru.’ The post appeared under Cameron Slater’s name a couple of hours later.”

    The truth of it hasn’t been denied by the participants, and the context is clear.

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  10. publicwatchdog (2,516 comments) says:

    The question still remains – what are the political affiliations of the key members /Spokespeople of the Tax Payers’ Union, including their Board?

    Penny Bright

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  11. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    What does Nicky Hager say about the Taxpayers Union? “the NZ Taxpayers Union is an example of a supposedly independent organisation designed to back up the work of a political party .. it is a rerun of the anti MMP campaign, with Jordan Williams once again as frontperson and Farrar as founder and main strategist”. Maybe mentioning this somewhere might help with the Kiwiblogs brave new world of ethical behaviour!

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  12. publicwatchdog (2,516 comments) says:

    It seems to me that the Tax Payers’ Union is focused on the small stuff.

    What attempts have the Tax Payers’ Union made to find out how is Auckland Council indebted, and to whom?

    What is the view of the Tax Payers’ Union on the FACT that Auckland Council is now exposed to $5.8 BILLION in derivatives?

    What is the view of the Tax Payers’ Union on the FACT that Auckland Council is not complying with the Public Records Act 2005, and citizens and ratepayers are not being given the devilish details of where EXACTLY public rates monies are being spent on private consultants and contractors?

    Penny Bright

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  13. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    [DPF: No]

    I’m genuinely glad to hear that.

    it’s not my organisation, and I’m obviously not going to be a fan of it (hey – lefty academic – what a surprise), but it does seem to me that some sort of post-election public mea culpa is going to be needed if you want it to do its job properly. And by that, I mean be a respected (even if disagreed with) voice for your aims.

    But like I say, it’s not my organisation to tell what to do.

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  14. srylands (404 comments) says:

    “The question still remains – what are the political affiliations of the key members /Spokespeople of the Tax Payers’ Union, including their Board?”

    Probably communists who refuse to pay their rates :-)

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  15. freemark (556 comments) says:

    Hey Penny, can you find out EXACTLY where beneficiaries are spending public Tax monies? There is no accountability or transparency, and I’m sure you would want to know.
    I don’t like it, so should I just refuse to pay my tax until we get the answers from all these people?

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  16. daniel carter (31 comments) says:

    Sorry, you’re not fooling anyone. Everyone involved are National apparatchiks.

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  17. Grendel (991 comments) says:

    So again milt is assuming that hager is as pure as the driven snow and becuase Slater has not sat down and done a line by line refutation of everything wrong (like you would beleive him anyway), you have decided that if Hager put it in the book it must be true?

    since Rodney Hide, Stephen Franks and others have pointed out areas that are demonstrably false regarding them, why would everything else be true.

    Now no one but the hacker and the accused know whats true or not, but at least i am prepared to admit that. Milt and geddis of couse are so blinded by ideology, they will believe anything it it fits their desired narrative.

    one thing this election has shown up, is not ‘dirty politics’ its actually how transitory morals and ethics are on the left, where they will let anything pass (even outright hypocrisy, as evidenced by not one of them pointing out the role the standard plays in labour and the greens) just as long as it attacks their enemies and supports their friends.

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  18. Ross12 (1,377 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt

    What is wrong with the bit you quoted? So Cam Slater sends a copy of one of his posts to the TPU –so what ?? I’m sure the TPU get information from all sorts of sources. Oh I forgot this is from Cameron Slater so it all wrong. What rubbish !!!

    By that logic if the EPMU sends a press release to Fairfax it is also wrong.

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  19. gump (1,615 comments) says:

    @Ross12

    You got it the wrong way round.

    The TPU sent material to Slater who then published it under his own name on the WO blog.

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  20. gump (1,615 comments) says:

    I personally lost interest in the TPU when they refused to comment on Parliament spending over $1.5 million on the valedictory speeches for retiring MPs.

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  21. adze (2,062 comments) says:

    So what’s clear is that – regardless of the personal voting preferences of the TPU membership – is that they are more balanced in their releases than Forest & Bird? I wonder how many organisations like the latter pass material to left wing blogs? Would the left consider that a problem, and if not why not?

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  22. Ross12 (1,377 comments) says:

    Thanks Gump -I stand corrected.

    But I still do not see anything wrong even going the other way. It is still like the EPMU sending it to Fairfax –if Williams had sent it to Fairfax would it still be a problem ?

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  23. OneTrack (2,970 comments) says:

    gump – “The TPU sent material to Slater who then published it under his own name on the WO blog.”

    The question remains. So what?

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  24. Milk Me (153 comments) says:

    ^ Well obviously it should have been published under TPUs name and been open about it rather than posting it dishonestly and fraudulently under Slaters name

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  25. CharlieBrown (987 comments) says:


    dime:

    I suspect when we finally get a left govt (or a diff left govt if youre red :D ), the union will attack them more. simply because they will waste a shit ton more money

    We already have a left government, National under John Key has espoused the same policies that labour did under Helen Clark. But the point you are making is valid in that the union will most likely attack an even more left wing (than the current socialists in power) government even more.

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  26. Psycho Milt (2,404 comments) says:

    …Rodney Hide, Stephen Franks and others have pointed out areas that are demonstrably false…

    They have not.

    What is wrong with the bit you quoted?

    It depends on your ethical standards. Prof Geddis clearly doesn’t think “its Executive Director … recycl[ing] the Taxpayer Union’s “independent” material in attack lines on the leader of the Labour Party on WhaleOil, without identifying himself as doing so” comes up to his ethical standards, and it certainly doesn’t come up to mine. Maybe it does meet your and other right-wingers’ ethical standards, but that’s your own affair.

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  27. GregG (1 comment) says:

    David, I’ve meant to sign up for a while to make the point at no. 4 below. But this post deserves some comment:

    1. You pitch the taxpayers union as “non-partisan”. The “chairman” is a long-standing National party activist. And his son (who I know, and who is extremely talented), will be a national list M.P after the election. That may be worthy of disclosure, to enhance supporting the non-partisan basis of the organisation?

    2. Your Executive Director (Mr Williams) has some serious questions swirling regarding his private conduct. You don’t address that; yet promote the Taxpayers’ Union as independent and mostly critical of the current Government?

    3. The taxpayers union does not disclose its funding arrangements. Other (reputable) unions do (membership fees etc). Why not?

    4. Putting aside the above, I’ve been saddened by the way you have been drawn into the “dirty politics” kerfuffle. While I don’t share your politics, I deeply admire what you have created with kiwiblog, and the essential decency that come through about you as a person on this blog. Just sayin”…

    [DPF: The political affiliations of all board members are disclosed. We publish our annual accounts as all other NGOs do, and in fact have been more transparent about our financing than most - for example disclosing the size of our largest donation.]

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