Where’s there’s a swill there’s a way in – or how to deal with rejection, expose bias and secure $17,000 for book reviews

Newsroom has alerted the Point of Order Trough Monitor to happenings involving a trough from which the swill – according to an aggrieved applicant – has not been impartially distributed.

The Newsroom report is headed Writer wins ‘bias’ complaint and says a writer’s complaint against Creative New Zealand funding has been upheld.

This should give cause for  a thorough examination of the trough’s  administration, because Creative NZ seems to have acknowledged there was a bias in the way some oinkers were favoured and others nudged to the back of he queue.

Furthermore, Newsroom draws attention to state funding bypassing the people who create books in favour of organisations that talk about the people who create books.

But Creative NZ should already be the subject of a thorough examination by a government which claims to be careful with its fiscal management after the Taxpayers’ Union (not for the first time) early this month exposed bizarre handouts of public money in a report  headed You Funded A Ballet Called ‘The Sl*Tcracker’

This showed taxpayers are forking out for sex worker exhibitions, ‘dismantling e-waste for fun’, pictionary, queer and trans drawing classes, interpretive dance, music courses for womxn and femmes, a ballet called ‘The Sl*tcracker’, and a literal clown show. Continue reading “Where’s there’s a swill there’s a way in – or how to deal with rejection, expose bias and secure $17,000 for book reviews”

Whoa there, Minister – a majority of Kiwis will be disappointed if govt spending is not curbed in this year’s Budget

Uh, oh – it’s probably too late to influence the government on the case for its spending to be curbed  ahead of the Budget Speech to be delivered on Thursday.  The speech and the raft of documents that will accompany it will be ready for the printer – if not already printed – by now.

But the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has ascertained that most New Zealanders oppose increasing Government spending.

A new scientific poll of 1,000 respondents was conducted by Curia Market Research and asked,

Given the current levels of inflation, do you think the Government should continue to increase overall spending in this year’s budget, or keep it about the same? Continue reading “Whoa there, Minister – a majority of Kiwis will be disappointed if govt spending is not curbed in this year’s Budget”

Why the public distrust the news media – it’s a matter of suspecting state subsidies have turned their watchdog into a muted mutt

The BFD blog has posted an article in the name of Family First today headed “Public  not happy with govt funding of media”.

And how did Family First find out about the level of public dissatisfaction?

Not from the mainstream media, you can be sure.

No, they learned it from the Taxpayers’ Union, an organisation which has been admirably informative in telling us how much money has been dispensed to which news media for what purpose.  Its tracking of grants paid from the Public Interest Journalism Fund can be found here.

The Taxpayers’ Union, moreover, can tell us what the public thinks about the consequences because it commissioned a poll to find out.

It then reported the troubling results: Continue reading “Why the public distrust the news media – it’s a matter of suspecting state subsidies have turned their watchdog into a muted mutt”

Democracy in Tauranga down the plug-hole until 2024 – so what can we learn about Mahuta’s intentions for Three Waters?

The Taxpayers’ Union saw the implications for the Three Waters programme.   Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s decision to cancel this year’s elections in Tauranga (spokesman Louis Houlbrooke said) showed she could not be trusted to deliver water services that are accountable to ratepayers.

The Taxpayers’ Union is supporting the Tauranga Ratepayers’ Alliance‘s petition to restore elections at www.restoredemocracy.nz.

Among his objections to Mahuta’s decision, Houlbrooke said the Wellington-appointed, co-governed commission (answerable only to the Minister) had pushed through a 17 per cent rates hike.

“Why should we expect her unelected, co-governed water entities to deliver anything better for ratepayers?”

Fair to say, One News  flushed out support for Mahuta: Continue reading “Democracy in Tauranga down the plug-hole until 2024 – so what can we learn about Mahuta’s intentions for Three Waters?”

Graham Adams: Ardern on the hook over Three Waters

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Jacinda Ardern was very happy to front the Three Waters campaign in its early stages. But after a disastrous $3.5 million PR ad campaign, vocal opposition from most councils, and a $2.5 billion sweetener thrown back in her face as a “bribe” in mid-July, she exited stage left, leaving the heavy lifting to her ninth-ranked Cabinet minister, Nanaia Mahuta.

Now, in the wake of Mahuta’s announcement on October 27 that all of the nation’s 67 councils will be forced into the new arrangement, Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon and other mayors want a meeting with Jacinda Ardern to discuss their concerns.

Having been told repeatedly by Mahuta that joining Three Waters would be a choice, the councils have not exactly been reassured by her promise that further consultation would be undertaken with local government to ensure adequate governance, representation and accountability of the new water entities to the communities they serve.

Gordon made his feelings clear in a radio interview last week: Continue reading “Graham Adams: Ardern on the hook over Three Waters”

Creative NZ support for propaganda adds up to $222,000 that won’t go to artists

The Taxpayers’ Union has joined Point of Order in raising questions about Creative NZ’s funding of articles on The Spinoff to pressure the Government “to remove direct democracy from local government wards”.

For good measure, it has inquired into the cost of this funding and tells us $222,000 in grants has gone the way of The Spinoff since 2016.

As Point of Order reported at the weekend, one Creative NZ-sponsored article on The Spinoff has the headline, ‘Why Nanaia Mahuta is right to repeal racist Māori wards legislation’.

A follow up is titled, ‘Want to petition council to veto your local Māori ward? Bad news – you can!’.

The Taxpayers Union dipped into The Spinoff’s files and found other opinion pieces in this series which profile Ihumātao protestors, make commentary on Twitter controversies, and praise Hon Nanaia Mahuta’s appointment as Foreign Minister.

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “Many New Zealanders would be appalled to know their hard-earned taxes are being used to promote political stances they disagree with. When government agencies engage in propaganda they undermine the neutrality of the public sector and the fairness of democracy.”   

search of Creative NZ’s website reveals $222,000 given in grants to The Spinoff since 2016.  

“It seems Creative NZ is keen on funding left-wing propaganda, but we doubt they’d give money for us to provide the counterargument. Regardless, political opinion pieces do not support the creative sector. Creative NZ should stick to its knitting or shut down and return its funds to the taxpayer.”   

A few weeks ago the Taxpayers’ Union revealed  how Creative NZ’s COVID-19 response grants have dished out taxpayer money to ‘compositions inspired by emotions felt during the Covid-19 lockdown, ‘an indigenised hypno-soundscape’, ‘a novel about male affection in hypermasculine spaces’, and other bizarre projects.”

Its press statement today concludes:

Of course some art will be edgy or political. But we’re yet to see Creative NZ fund a single project that doesn’t fit their politically-correct, Wellington-centric, left-wing world view. That is not good enough

What a good sport Robertson can be – if the demand for free handouts of money is too big, he will find some more

The ministerial slate has been cleared. There was nothing on The Beehive home page when we went looking for the latest news this morning.  

But the Point of Order Trough Monitor has been alerted by other sources of information to more bizarre examples of oinkers being fattened at the taxpayers’ expense.

The nature of the feeding frenzy has been recorded in a background document which itemises the final amounts awarded through the Community Resilience Fund – Phase Two (CRF 2).

The document was “proactively released” on Sport NZ’s website on October 14. 

This tells us it came into the ministerial domain not of Shane Jones (we wonder what he is up to today?) but of Sports and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson.

It further tells us Robertson was or is doling out around $15 million to more than 2,000 sporting organisations as part of phase 2 of the aforementioned fund. Continue reading “What a good sport Robertson can be – if the demand for free handouts of money is too big, he will find some more”

Creativity blossoms in the shadow of the virus (with seed money from taxpayers who may not be aware of their generosity)

We have acknowledged on previous occasions that the Point of Order Trough Monitor was not calibrated to pick up every example of dubiously spent public money.

But when our monitor misses examples of eyebrow-raising grants, investments, loans and what-have-you, other monitors and watchdogs are on the job.  The Taxpayers’ Union for example.

The other day it drew attention to Creative NZ’s track record for funding some pretty odd art projects.

The Taxpayers’ Union has focused on the value of the Arts Continuity Grant, which it describes as a COVID-19 response fund which has so far paid out $16 million in grants to a variety of questionable short-term arts projects.

Many of the descriptions of the projects funded under this programme are described as “frankly, incomprehensible” and:

“It’s hard to see how bureaucrats in Creative NZ can make an objective judgment on which projects are worthy of funding, and which aren’t.

“The resulting handouts speak for themselves. Creative NZ is fighting COVID-19 by spending taxpayer money on plays about menstrual cycles, Māori ‘healing theatre’, and ‘Indigenised Hypno-soundscapes’. That’s madness and it reflects terribly on the Minister of Arts Culture and Heritage – who happens to be Jacinda Ardern.

“These grants are massively unfair to taxpayers, with the benefits skewed toward politically-connected Wellington weirdos. Handouts for fringe interest groups mean less money is available for tax relief that would reward productive work.”

Point of Order visited the Creative NZ website and learned that this continuity fund

“ … is offered to support a short-term arts project, or the stage of a project, that can be delivered within a changed and evolving environment as a result of COVID-19. Projects can include the creation and/or presentation of new work. Existing projects submitted to our suspended funds can be reframed and resubmitted. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with weekly decision-making.”

Sums up to $50,000 have been on offer. Continue reading “Creativity blossoms in the shadow of the virus (with seed money from taxpayers who may not be aware of their generosity)”

Social Credit and the Taxpayers’ Union’ find common ground – but on an electoral issue rather than monetary reform

Social Credit – yes, we have found signs of life – is braying that the Taxpayers’ Union has started promoting Social Credit policy in the run up to this year’s general election.

It’s a fair bet it is not monetary policy on which common ground has been found.

No, it’s electoral reform.

The Taxpayers’ Union on Friday called for the adoption of Recall, a process that would enable voters to force elected representatives to stand down and face a by-election.

Social Credit is chuffed because Recall has been a central plank of its policy for more than 40   years.

A Recall poll could be invoked in cases where MPs or local body politicians were acting contrary to the promises they made to voters during an election campaign, or where there was a substantial level of disquiet about their performance.

The Taxpayers’ Union announced last Friday it had launched a joint campaign with the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance and Rodney-based Northern Action Group calling for Labour and National to include the introduction of a recall option in their election manifestos’ local government policies.

Its press statement noted that Local Government New Zealand had confirmed recall elections were contained in LGNS’s 2017 “Local Government Manifesto”.  The foreword had been written by the then LGNZ President, Lawrence Yule, now Shadow Local Government Minister. Continue reading “Social Credit and the Taxpayers’ Union’ find common ground – but on an electoral issue rather than monetary reform”

Cannon to left of her, cannon to right of her, cannon in front of her – after Deb blundered

A political sideshow during the media’s continuing examination of Covid-19 and  lockdown issues has brought a Labour backbencher into the headlines.

The Taxpayers’ Union credits her with being one of the smartest MPs in the Labour Party but is demanding an apology from her for comments she made about struggling small business owners.

Left-wing blogger  Martyn Bradbury admires her too – but has admonished her on this occasion.

So has Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

Oops.  How did Deborah Russell – the MP in question – go astray?

Newshub reports she is facing backlash over remarks described by commentators as “offensive”.

Yawn.   Nobody can say anything nowadays without quickly learning that someone has found the remarks offensive,

So what – exactly – did she say? Continue reading “Cannon to left of her, cannon to right of her, cannon in front of her – after Deb blundered”