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Source: Taxpayers Union

A $13 million research grant for Te Reo voice recognition technology is a poor use of taxpayer money, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. The project is hoped to allow people to ask Siri or Alexa things like how to “find a choice as kai of panipopo”. This will “ensure a New Zealand identity is firmly embedded in the digital world”. Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “This is a classic case of taxpayer money being poured into a shiny, fashionable IT project that is a nice-to-have at best. These projects should be left to private companies who have an incentive to keep costs under control and develop technology that people actually use.” “Someone on the median wage would have to pay income tax for 1,500 years to cover the cost of this project. This money could have been used to provide more much-needed measles vaccines, or even tax relief.” “The entire Strategic Science Investment Fund appears to be rife with fuzzy spending initiatives and corporate welfare. This is the same fund that last year allocated $5.4 million for research into shoe leather. The fact Minister Megan Woods is proudly putting out press releases about this kind of spending leads us to wonder whether she has taxpayers’ interests at heart.”