The Dim-Post

March 2, 2014

Another question for the Taxpayer Union

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:32 am

The Herald covers another scoop from the Taxpayer Union. Deaf MP Mojo Mathers spent TAXPAYER FUNDS traveling to a radio station to be interviewed because she can’t do interviews over the phone:

Standard Air NZ flexible fares between Christchurch and Wellington are $199 each way. A small rental car from one of the suppliers used by the Parliamentary Service is $148 – so the trip is likely to have cost the taxpayer a little under $550.

The Taxpayers Union questioned whether it was value for money.

“It’s amazing that she has so little to do with her time to actually travel to a community radio that probably has as many listeners as you can count on your hand,” director Jordan Williams said.

Here’s my question for the Taxpayer’s Union and the journalists who run their copy. How much of the revenue of the various companies, consultancies and law firms run by the founders and directors of this ‘union’ is taxpayer funded? Given the individuals involved – eg Jordan Williams, David Farrar – I’d be shocked if the taxpayers were paying less than a million dollars a year to the people involved in this organisation who run around planting attack stories against opposition parties.

34 Comments »

  1. If it were for a 5 minute interview, ok, but the show was an hour. And presumably she did other things there. The message seems to be list MPs should not travel to rural communities — sorry, “the middle of nowhere”, to use Williams’s term.

    Comment by anon — March 2, 2014 @ 10:28 am

  2. … and economy Wellington-Chch is $168 each way for ordinary Jill Bloggs; presumably cheaper for MPs.

    Comment by anon — March 2, 2014 @ 10:31 am

  3. I suspect the bigger interest of the Herald in this is that an MP based in Christchurch did something which didn’t seem directly relevant to Auckland. I don’t know what the listener base is for Arrow FM’s Wheels On Fire programme (podcast of the show here), but don’t many MPs fly up and down and around the country quite frequently to attend community meetings and speak at events?

    Surely it’d be more relevant to consider how much Mojo Mathers has spent on travel compared with other MPs, and then consider it in whatever context of the overall work she’s doing and people she’s representing.

    Comment by izogi — March 2, 2014 @ 10:45 am

  4. Surely it’d be more relevant to consider how much Mojo Mathers has spent on travel compared with other MPs, and then consider it in whatever context of the overall work she’s doing and people she’s representing.

    I don’t think it would. These Nat/ACT lobbyists are attacking Mojo Mathers for the fact that a deaf MP is more expensive than a non-deaf one. The word “scum” springs to mind.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 2, 2014 @ 10:53 am

  5. Masterton isn’t exactly in the “middle of nowhere”. It’s only an hour’s drive from Wellington on State Highway 2. I mean, there are people who live in Masterton and the Wairarapa who commute to Wellington every day – it’s that close!

    But maybe the Taxpayers Union are so out of touch with provincial New Zealand that they genuinely think that Masterton is really remote. In that case, they will freak out when they learn of the existence of Gisborne.

    Comment by Robyn — March 2, 2014 @ 11:03 am

  6. Sheltered gits like these guys have little understanding of value or difference. Let’s see an expose of Tim Groser’s minibar claims – or of their own troughing ways.

    Comment by Sacha — March 2, 2014 @ 11:21 am

  7. Psycho Milt @4: “Nat/ACT lobbyists”

    Apart from Williams and the Penguin, I assume you also mean the Herald editors.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — March 2, 2014 @ 11:31 am

  8. It’s bizarre that the Herald even gave this the time of day, given what a trivial amount has been spent on a reasonably normal political activity. Moreover, it shows the Taxpayers Union coming across as mean spirited, petty and discriminatory, which makes one wonder why they even seeded the story in the first place.

    Comment by Alex Braae — March 2, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

  9. @Alex – because the Taxpayers Union don’t see themselves as others see them.

    Comment by MikeG — March 2, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

  10. There is a legitimate question here considering she works in Wellington 3 days a week so she could have thought a bit more about her carbon footprint. Questioning if she has enough to do is a bit harsh.
    Not sure what the relevance is about who funds what and if they have government contracts, taxpayer union has rightly kicked the government in the head over various issues so you can hardly call them partisan. It is a bit unusual for the Greens to face a bit of scrutiny in the media.

    Comment by David — March 2, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

  11. Does anybody have a link to the interview with Mojo? I found Arrow FM but no search function..

    Comment by Z — March 2, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

  12. The Taxpayer’s Union is a “union” in name only. You’re welcome to join and contribute money, but the founders have no intent to share power with their membership.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 2, 2014 @ 1:05 pm

  13. If true, it would go a long way to understanding the underlying right wing justification for different treatment of public and private sector in this regard. Public sector organisations are working on “our hard earned tax dollars” for the public benefit, so should be staffed by people in rags who should hitchhike to work, and survive on busking for taxpayer dollars on the street and eating gruel. Though some queries about spending worth consideration, even the smallest, most trivial matter like this case can be treated as a rort against “hard working taxpayers”/ lobbyists. Because private companies only serve to profit the private good, they would justify receiving funding from public sector organisations solely as a market exchange between buyer and seller. Hypothetically, if the funding was for a trivial cause, they’d probably consider the onus on the state for making a bad funding decision.

    Comment by finetoothcolumn — March 2, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

  14. How is Skype not a better option than choosing between a phone interview and turning up in person? The Herald should have at least asked that.

    Comment by Adze — March 2, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

  15. Never tried lipreading over Skype, have you.

    And how would Mojo possibly know what works best for her – we must ask some jumped-up little pinstriper what he reckons.

    Comment by Sacha — March 2, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

  16. There’s nothing I’d put beneath the “Taxpayers’ Union” That evil little penguin condoned one of his own trolls stalking the pre-adolesent children of a friend of mine for daring to criticise him.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — March 2, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

  17. … she later attempted suicide by the way, and Farrar thinks that child murder is a joke. http://thestandard.org.nz/sick-3/

    Comment by Rhinocrates — March 2, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

  18. Sacha – no I haven’t, have you? It is an obvious question to ask, however. And do keep your snide little prejudices to yourself, you probably earn more than I do.

    Comment by Adze — March 2, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

  19. Classic kick the crip stuff from a bunch of chortling Thatcher fetishists.

    Comment by Joe W — March 2, 2014 @ 2:18 pm

  20. “And do keep your snide little prejudices to yourself, you probably earn more than I do.”

    Irony?

    Comment by Rhinocrates — March 2, 2014 @ 2:21 pm

  21. Rhino, what does “probably” mean? I earn less than the median wage. Will happily withdraw if Sacha indicates otherwise.

    Comment by Adze — March 2, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

  22. I earn less than the median wage. Will happily withdraw if Sacha indicates otherwise.

    A pissing down the wall contest.

    Comment by Joe W — March 2, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

  23. @21 You think that prejudicial suppositions about income apparently indicate the value of a statement while complaining about supposed prejudice. Do I need to draw diagrams? No, I don’t. Grow a skin.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — March 2, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

  24. Funny how some take a crticism of Jordan and his out-of-touch ilk so personally – nobody said anything about income of commenters.

    Comment by Sacha — March 2, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

  25. Ah, sorry that may have been unclear – by “jumped-up little pinstriper” I was referring to Jordan whose media statement says he took it upon himself to decide what was and was not disability-related need, despite clearly knowing feck-all about the matter.

    Others of us have specialised professionally and/or personally in accessible comms for many years, hence the annoyed tone.

    Comment by Sacha — March 2, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

  26. Rhino, is that what I said? Funny, I thought I was referring to being called a “jumped-up pinstripe” because of a mild objection to the prevailing narrative here.
    But from @24 that was apparently in reference to Jordan, so withdrawn.

    Comment by Adze — March 2, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

  27. Hi Sacha. ” nobody said anything about income of commenters.” Adze did, and moreover he/she/it depended on an imagined or insinuated income. I can’t say that I’m offended, but petulant idiots do need correction.

    My own objection is with that disgust sack of shit, Farrar and his front organisations, who is not simply a slick political operator, but someone who has facilitated the stalking of children, resulting in a near-suicide. Excusing him or diverting from that in any way is beyond the pale.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — March 2, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

  28. It should read “disgusting sack of shit”. Blame autocorrect.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — March 2, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

  29. @Z, if it helps I linked to the podcast of the interview from my earlier comment. Here it is again.

    Comment by izogi — March 2, 2014 @ 4:31 pm

  30. Jordan’s the real victim here, OK http://www.3news.co.nz/Taxpayers-Union-upset-over-Mojo-story/tabid/1607/articleID/334272/Default.aspx

    Comment by Sacha — March 2, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

  31. Great post. Mojo bus ticket yep just fuck off. Given that its all about economics not accounting had worked out tax payer union were bog standard Statist turds on the make from the start.

    Comment by Simon — March 2, 2014 @ 5:09 pm

  32. @30

    So the Penguin and Williams are now pretending to be the “real” victims now. Are you noticing and learning anything from this Adze?

    Comment by Rhinocrates — March 2, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

  33. Mr Williams says his comments have been reported in a poor light.

    Really? The guy said “It’s amazing that she has so little to do with her time to actually travel to a community radio that probably has as many listeners as you can count on your hand,” about a deaf MP guesting on a radio show for disabled people. What would he consider a “good” light to portray that in?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 2, 2014 @ 5:54 pm

  34. Key and his cohorts don’t even see the irony in their suggestion that something underhanded went on. It’s a human rights issue. They have deprived Kiwis of their human rights all throughout their reign, suggesting such outlandish policies as abolishing tea breaks, which violates health and safety regulations; paid out lump sums to hospital patients they gave hep C to because of no blood screening at the time and kept that hush-hush; made it legal for a dodgy agency to spy on New Zealanders; brought in contraception for beneficiaries to stereotype them further; and gave huge tax cuts to the rich and increased funding for private schools whilst screwing over everyone else. Now Mojo Mathers is doing nothing more than getting her human right and the shit has hit the fan. If you have a disability which requires you to go to an interview because you can’t have the interview over the phone, and you’re an MP, well, that’s what that allocation of the tax money is there for. If your disability is that you’re a fuckwit, then well, you should probably not be using taxpayer money to fly down to Queenstown for another golf game, you may have a personal fortune of $50million minimum, for example, and you may have played and watched more than your fair share of golf games this years already.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — March 7, 2014 @ 4:12 pm


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