Source: Taxpayers Union
7 SEPTEMBER 2020FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThe Taxpayers’ Union retracts and apologises for earlier criticism of the New Plymouth District Council for being a funding ‘partner’ for the Green School project. The Council’s Chief Executive Craig Stevenson has clarified that contrary to James Shaw’s claim that the Council was a ‘funding partner’ the Council has no involvement in the ‘Green School’ funding. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams said: “Many of our members were concerned that this special interest funding rort extended down to the local government level. We took Shaw’s claim at face value. It turns out Mr Shaw was not correct, and we apologise for relying on his statement.” In relation to the Mayor’s advocacy for the project, Mr Williams said: “It’s only natural for discretionary political slush funds to be subject to lobbying, both from those wanting funding dollops, and the local politicians trying to carve out graft for their community. This episode shows the problems with politicians making individual funding decisions rather than just setting objective criteria and letting officials make the decisions.” The Taxpayers’ Union has previously called on the major political parties to return New Zealand to a tradition of separating policy decisions from funding decisions and commit to abolishing discretionary pools of funding where MPs, rather than officials, make individual grant decisions.