You couldn’t make it up.
Here is their latest press release.
Biggest cost blowout we’ve seen
Are you sitting down? Good - because you’ll need to brace yourself for what is the biggest cost blowout we’ve seen yet.
Yesterday we discovered that the Government is rolling back a number of changes it made to the child support system in 2013 because of an enormous cost blowout within Inland Revenue. The 2013 reforms were initially forecast to cost $30 million to implement. That’s since increased to a whopping $210 million!
The documents we passed on to the New Zealand Herald show that the Government is rolling back a number of the changes, which officials estimate will still cost taxpayers $164 million to implement. $164 million is incredible – that’s more than $100 per New Zealand household.
The Herald splashes our exposé on the front page. The details and the documents are available on our website.
The other big story today is the Government’s response to calls (including ours) for reform of the way pay is set for members of Parliament.
We welcome the changes announced by the Prime Minister yesterday, but have some reservations with the precedent of MPs reforming their own remuneration framework without any opportunity for public or select committee input. While the proposed change is an improvement on the status quo, we think that taxpayers would be much better served by a simple law change allowing the Remuneration Authority to factor in the public service element of being an MP, and requiring the appointment of a taxpayers’ representative.
See: MPs pay: Reaction from Taxpayers Union (Radio NZ’s morning report)
Interview with Jordan Williams (Bfm)
Our reaction to yesterday’s announcement (press release)
More corporate welfare – politicians just can’t pick winners
The Government forked out $287,000 of taxpayer money to a failed off-site housing manufacturer that is currently in receivership owing $17.5 million to creditors. Even after the New Zealand Herald posed questions, Government officials would not explain why taxpayers were subsidising a private building company in the first place. Other than a nice photo op for the Prime Minster it's not clear how anyone wins from these arrangements.
Attempting to pick winners with taxpayers' money is a poor way to try and bring about more affordable housing. We think that politicians should be looking at the root cause of the problem, not throwing about taxpayer money and hoping for the best.
Auckland’s man in London
Another week, another story on Auckland Council and it’s extravagant ways. In February we were approached by a whistleblower inside New Zealand Trade and Enterprise who suggested we enquire into the circumstances and cost of a highly unusual appointment in London by the Auckland Council’s economic development arm. Our understanding is that Wellington’s diplomatic agencies were hostile to Auckland Council duplicating their international efforts.
Despite the United Kingdom not being a priority market for ATEED, Len Brown is standing by his man and it looks very clear that the agency has set out to create a cushy job in London for one of their former executives, rather than fulfil a need for ratepayers. I joined Duncan Garner to discuss whether there are any benefits of having Council staff overseas -RadioLIVE audio on demand here.
Also: Auckland Council 'taking ratepayers for a ride' with London job (TVNZ)
Why have local councillors when you can ask infants?
Last week Wellingtonians were left scratching their heads with the announcement that Wellington City Council is now a UNICEF ‘Child Friendly City' on the same day it announced an intention to increase rates by almost 5 percent. The pledge includes giving children the rights to "influence decisions about their city" alongside various other rights including the right to "meet friends and play". Our Campaigns Coordinator, Ben Craven, points out that if the pledge was taken literally, ratepayers would be paying to have Council consult with infants!
As far as I know they are the only group to represent taxpayers. We need a similar group to represent ratepayers.
I urge you to donate to the Taxpayers’ Union so they can keep up their work.