From Jordan Williams <[email protected]>
Subject Taxpayer Update: Exclusive: Greens "New Steal" exposed💰 | Shocking Three Waters salaries🚰 | DOC's te reo bonuses 🗣️💵 | Election Debates 📣📊
Date August 2, 2023 3:27 AM
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Dear Friend,

Exposed: Green Party misused taxpayer money for local body electioneering! 🗳️

An investigation by the Taxpayers' Union has exposed that the Green Party used money meant for MPs' constituency activities to pay for election ads for their local council candidates.

Our Investigations Co-ordinator, Oliver Bryan, uncovered that the Greens used taxpayer-funded Parliamentary resources to boost Facebook advertisements linking to a political website advertising Green Party candidates across the country – hitting 10,000 New Zealanders on one day alone.

The rules are clear: Parliamentary Service resources are not to be used for electioneering. While sometimes there are grey areas between what is party political and Parliamentary advertising, this is a clear breach that is a violation of the rules. 

The Greens even wasted our money on candidates that didn't exist! 🤯

One of the many adverts we have uncovered, was this:

But there is one small problem: the Greens didn't have any council candidates in Christchurch!

If they have not done so already, we say the Greens need to pay back back these misused taxpayer dollars. Parliamentary funding should not be used as a backdoor means for taxpayer funding of political parties. We've given the Party until the end of the week to confirm they've refunded the full amounts before we head to the Auditor General.

You can watch Ollie talk about this story to Scoop here. <[link removed]>

Update: Moments before this newsletter was sent, we got a response from the Greens – they claim that despite the "paid for" statement (meaning that the Parliamentary Service Facebook "Ad Account" and Business Manager were used), they still deny any inappropriate spending. More to come next week...

Shocking salaries for CEOs of non-existent Three Waters entities💰🚰

Just when you thought Labour's Three Waters 'reforms' couldn't get any worse, yet another painful fact turns up. This time it is the revelation that the Chief Executive Officers for the original four water service entities are being paid between $602,500 to $815,500 per year – a big jump up from what the Chief Executives of Watercare and Wellington Water were being paid. 

The Department of Internal Affairs refused the NZ Herald's Official Information Requests on the grounds that revealing the salaries of the CEOs would breach privacy. But, once the entities have been created the information will be required to be disclosed – it is just officials trying to avoid political embarrassment.

Hate to say we told you so... 👀

Nanaia Mahuta sold Three Waters as a way to save money. But taking control away from local communities allows faceless bureaucrats to snub transparency and accountability with taxpayers paying more. This example is case in point.

Speaking of Three Waters, stay tuned for a big announcement from the Taxpayers' Union. We've been working on something for a while, and I can't wait to tell you all about it...

Broke Department of Conservation must scrap te reo bonuses 🗣️💵

The Department of Conservation is paying staff bonuses of up to $3,500 a year for participation in Māori language courses. <[link removed]> But when asked whether any of the roles in the Department required te reo proficiency, DoC admitted that it had no such roles.

At a time when DoC is scrambling around trying to find ways to dig itself out of a multi-million dollar black hole, we say it shouldn't be spending taxpayers’ money on skills that are not practical requirements of the job.

Coincidentally, since Callum arrived in New Zealand he's been attending te reo classes outside of work hours and for no bonus payment – why should it be any different for DoC staff? You can watch my comments on Te Ao Māori news here (skip to 27:16). <[link removed]>

Government Censorship: far-reaching regulation regime proposed 💬❌

The Department of Internal Affairs recently closed its consultation on its so-called 'Safer Online Services and Media Platforms' discussion paper. In short, they want to 'protect you' from this newsletter.

I'm not kidding. The proposals are so far reaching, an undemocratic and unaccountable regulator would have the power to censor content that it deems to be 'harmful' or 'unsafe'. Even these newsletter updates from your humble Taxpayers' Union would be subject to the proposed suppression regulatory regime.

The Government argues that these proposals are necessary to reduce and remove harmful and unsafe content from the internet. But claiming words and political arguments are 'harmful' or 'unsafe' is a slippery slope that would likely lead to unpopular or contrarian opinions being silenced. 

Our Economist Ray Deacon made a robust response to the consultation, which you can read here. <[link removed]>

Pub Politics: Taxpayers' Union announces Election Debates Series 📣📊🍻

The Taxpayers’ Union is hosting a series of debates in key electorates and on finance and party policies in the run up to this year’s election. The debates will give candidates and parties the opportunity to set out their stall to voters in advance of the election.

We are teaming up again with our friends at The Working Group podcast. Hosts Martyn Bradbury and Damien Grant will moderate the debates. Like The Working Group, the debates will be streamed live on The Daily Blog <[link removed]>, the Taxpayers’ Union website <[link removed]>, Facebook, and Freeview Channel 200. 

Prior to the electorate and finance debates, we will be releasing exclusive Taxpayers’ Union – Curia polling.

Rather than stuffy town halls, we're hosting the debates at pubs across the country. We hope to see many of you there. 🍻

More information will be released in the coming weeks at <[link removed]>

Taxpayer Talk: Chris Bishop MP on RMA replacement and National's alternative 🎙️

This week on Taxpayer Talk,Taxpayers' Union I sat down with National Party MP, Chris Bishop, to discuss the Government's proposed replacement to the Resource Management Act (RMA) and what National would do with resource management if elected. 

Chris Bishop is National's spokesperson for RMA reform, Infrastructure and Housing and has been leading National's opposition to the contentious RMA reforms. In the podcast, Chris Bishop commits the National Party to repealing the Government's RMA replacement bills prior to Christmas if National is able to form a Government after the election. Chris makes the point that although the current RMA is bad, the proposed replacement is even worse and will make it even more difficult to build and develop.

As well as what's wrong with the proposed reforms, Chris discusses the principles National's alternative would be based on. They also cover a number of other policy areas, including indexation of tax brackets, the policies National would scrap are covered, plus, as campaign chair, how Chris believes National can win the election. 

Listen to the episode <[link removed]> | Apple <[link removed]> | Spotify <[link removed]> | Google Podcasts <[link removed]> |iHeart Radio <[link removed]>

Thank you for your support.

Jordan Williams

Executive Director

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. 

<[link removed]>

Media coverage:

The Platform Hipkins betrays Three Waters promise <[link removed]>

The Platform Jim Rose on the threat the Greens' wealth tax poses to NZ <[link removed]>Te Ao Māori NewsDOC's te reo Māori proficiency bonuses <[link removed]> (27:16)

Crux New Māori advisor for QLDC, but the salary is secret <[link removed]>Otago Daily TimesUniversity’s consultancy cost increase ‘exorbitant’ <[link removed]> [paywalled]

Kiwiblog One in eight cigarettes now come from the black market <[link removed]>Te Ao Māori News National's proposed Minister for Hunting and Fishing <[link removed]> (22:29)

Democracy Project Bryce Edwards: How NZ First might “take back our country” <[link removed]>RNZLatest political polling, campaign finances, social media targeting and more <[link removed]>

ScoopElection Podcast: Greens use parliamentary funds for local campaigns <[link removed]>

The Post Government should invest $500 million in startup companies, report says <[link removed]>The Daily BlogThe Liberal Agenda: The Working Group announces 7 live-streamed TV simulcast Election Debates for 2023 Election <[link removed]>


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