Common not to agree

Hamish Rutherford writes in Stuff:

Taxpayers’ Union executive director Jordan Williams said the downgrading of flights by MPs may have inadvertently undermined the reason they claimed to need to fly business class.

“MPs travel business class so they can arrive refreshed and get straight into work,” he said.

“The fact that they are trading that for an economy-class seat so they can take their wife suggests that they’re not in Europe purely for work and even makes the argument for business-class tickets questionable.”

Meanwhile, a split may be forming in that organisation on the issue.

On Thursday David Farrar, a Taxpayers’ Union co-founder and board member, wrote on Kiwiblog that it was “pretty standard practice that if someone is entitled to travel business class, to allow them to choose two lower cost airfares instead”.

This was “often cheaper” than a single business class fare, he said.

Sir Keith Holyoake once said he only agreed with 80% of what his own Government did. Likewise I don’t agree with everything National does, and I don’t personally agree with every single media release put out by the Taxpayers Union. This is no surprise – I will always blog my personal views here.

I helped set up the Taxpayers Union because there was basically 2,000 or so lobby groups calling for more spending, and almost none calling for lower taxes and a restraint on spending. I’ve been delighted with how successful the Taxpayers Union has been in its first 18 months.

But that doesn’t mean I personally agree with every media release, and never will. The Board set priorities, and gets involved in determining policy on major issues. We don’t vet every press release, and even among the Board we sometimes have a diversity of views on what is “justified” spending and what is waste.

The Taxpayers Union is not a Cabinet or Caucus where you have to publicly agree on every issue. It is an organisation that exists to fight against wasteful spending, and support lower taxes.

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