Taxpayers’ Union denies white feathers

Jordan Williams has emphatically denied the Taxpayers’ Union having anything to do with emailing white feathers or sticking them on councillors doors.

It’s not the sort of story someone is likely to dream up, so there’s some explaining to be done – in the first instance by The Spinoff who made the claim on a story.

The Spinoff has been threatened with defamation action.


The Taxpayers’ Union, its founders Jordan Williams and David Farrar, the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, and its spokesperson Jo Holmes, totally reject the allegation made on the Spinoff website today that they have sent ‘white feathers’ (either physically or electronically) to Auckland Councillors or have acted in any unethical way in relation to the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance “Ratepayer Protection Pledge” signed by approximately a dozen Auckland Councillors, prior to last year’s elections.

The Spinoff’s publisher and the article’s author have been sent a letter putting them on notice of the defamatory allegation, and unless an apology and full retraction is received prior to 5pm today, advice in relation to filing defamation proceedings will be sought.

Fair enough asking for a retraction and apology, but that’s very heavy handed.

So it’s up to The Spinoff to substantiate or retract.



The Spinoff has added at the top of their story:

NB: An earlier version of this story attributed the distribution of white feathers to The Taxpayers’ Union, a charge the organisation has since vigourously denied. The Spinoff has since been told that the feathers were in fact distributed anonymously, and accepts that The Taxpayers’ Union had no role in the distribution of the feathers. The story has now been updated to reflect this. The Spinoff apologises to the Taxpayers’ Union, Jordan Williams, David Farrar and Jo Holmes for the error.

And they have updated their story:

First, how nasty can council politics get? Right now, it’s this nasty: councillors who didn’t vote for public consultation on the rates rises have been sent a white feather – as a mark of their “cowardice”.

The Spinoff understands white feathers were anonymously emailed to nine councillors in the form of a certificate, though at least two are said to have received a real feather at their homes.

The strategy comes straight from the playbook of the Tea Party in the US: they don’t bother much with left-leaning politicians, except to abuse them, but prefer to target the centre-right. And it’s predominantly centre-right aligned councillors who are alleged to have received these feathers.

There must be some reason why Simon Wilson at The Spinoff linked the Taxpayers’ Union to the feathers, either in error or he was incorrectly informed. I think an explanation is in order here.

Leave a comment


  1. Good on them. If it’s wrong then spinoff should face the music. Got everyone very excited ( including me) here.

  2. Forgot to add, it’s a prime example of FAKE NEWS

  3. Tipene

     /  29th May 2017


    Williams wants to engage in “defamatory” threats? – what with – [Deleted unsubstantiated claim about financial status. PG]

    • Surely the only “tossers” here are the ones disseminating fake news Tipene?

      How would you like a major online news agency posting an article about you pinnng feathers on doors?

      I wonder what Penny think of all this!

    • Richard

       /  29th May 2017

      Tipene, what on earth are you on about? Williams is loaded – he has his Tax Union donors pay his salary (off the books) and doesn’t claim anything from the organisation itself so it looks a lot leaner than it actually is. [Deleted – I’ve allowed a response but deleted an unsubstantiated claim. PG]

      • Tipene

         /  29th May 2017

        Oh, all above board then (rolls eyes and sighs deeply).

  4. Seeking important answers:

  5. PDB

     /  29th May 2017

    Did a random nutty anti-Auckland Council old woman send the feathers perhaps……..

    • Blazer

       /  29th May 2017

      the big question is….where did they get the…feathers?

  6. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  30th May 2017

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