Taxpayers’ Union – Government subsidy more pressing than ideological purity

This is an interesting decision from the Taxpayers’ Union:  Statement On COVID-19 Wage Subsidy

As confirmed by the Government today, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is one of the many employers that have accepted the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy. This decision was made on the basis of our ethical obligations to staff during the government-mandated economic shutdown.

The decision to accept this subsidy was not as simple for us as for most organisations. Prior to COVID-19, we have stated on the record that we would never accept taxpayer funding. That commitment was, of course, made in a time few New Zealanders could possibly have anticipated COVID-19 and the ensuing economic situation.

After brief deliberation, the Taxpayers’ Union board determined the welfare of our employees to be a more pressing immediate concern than ideological purity.

Moreover, we support the Government’s strategy helping employers through the current crisis and we have not criticised any employer for taking this subsidy. It is important to distinguish between targeted corporate welfare, which we oppose, and across-the-board compensation for the effects of a government-mandated economic shutdown.

They are presumably as entitled to claim the subsidy as any other employer affected by the lockdown.

But they are using the wage subsidy so they can keep holding the Government to account and “to expose excessive and wasteful government spending”.

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49 Comments

  1. Not surprisingly they are getting some feedback:

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  10th April 2020

      Is Dave in the poo too?

      Given he’s a playwright, how’s that business these days?

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  10th April 2020

        The TU staff cant work from home ?

        I bet they are and are getting free money for their coffers ..expecting a big drop in donations

        Reply
        • The first two lines don’t scan, he should have left ‘deepest’ out.

          The Taxpayers’ Union flag is blue,
          But now, alas, we’re in the poo;

          Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  10th April 2020

    I would have thought it is a straight forward libertarian principle that the Government must pay full compensation for taking private property rights – in this instance the right to conduct your business. I can’t see why that would be a difficult decision.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th April 2020

      why should business have the right to spread a contagious virus?

      The TU is a flimsy front for faux outrage and its main actor is an untrustworthy…hypocrite.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  10th April 2020

        Because the Govt created the problem and exercised the same right in allowing hundreds of infected travellers to enter the country and because many selected businesses are permitted to operate discriminating against those who are not.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  10th April 2020

          The [use proper names here] raises funding from donors …how is the shutdown affected their revenue stream …do they have a shop?
          They are a not for profit incorporated society so how have they become a business overnight
          Williams, who lives in Auckland, has an offshoot here wholly owned by him.
          AUCKLAND RATEPAYERS’ ALLIANCE LIMITED

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  10th April 2020

            I don’t know the answer to that either, Duker, but presumably they must justify a cashflow loss to qualify.

            Reply
    • Kim Kwok

       /  10th April 2020

      But in the absence of a civil court ruling and/or private mediation and a negotiated settlement, the government isn’t giving, and the Tax Payers Union is not claiming the funds on the basis of breach of property rights. Hence the TU is not getting “full compensation”.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  10th April 2020

        That seems a semantic conclusion devoid of practical reality.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  10th April 2020

          I always knew you were anti-semantic Al…..

          Reply
        • Kim Kwok

           /  10th April 2020

          Just as that seems like a moving of goal posts as “breach of property rights” is a practical reality…based on, defined and administered according to legal semantic precision,

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  10th April 2020

            It wasn’t defined when the US constitution provided for rights to life, liberty and property. We don’t leave such basic principles to judges’ definitions. If we were bothering with such things there would be no need to discuss this as the TU has presumably complied with the law. The discussion is what they should be doing as a matter of consistent primciple.

            Reply
  3. Pink David

     /  10th April 2020

    “But they are using the wage subsidy so they can keep holding the Government to account and “to expose excessive and wasteful government spending”.”

    How about not shutting down the entire country and reducing most companies to being dependent on government handouts (of taxpayers money) to survive.

    That might be a good idea.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th April 2020

      how robust are these companies that cannot survive a few weeks without taxpayer ..handouts?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  10th April 2020

        Not very but small businesses employ 30% of nz workers and generate 27% of our GDP. You are complaining because they don’t have enough wealth to survive and pay staff for months?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  10th April 2020

          put in a claim for the housemaids wages yet?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  10th April 2020

            I haven’t put in any claims, B, nor do I have a housemaid or your over-compensated inferiority complex.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  10th April 2020

              Presumeably if you are in the accommodation business you have maintenance costs.
              If you have free labour ,you are very fortunate.

            • Blazer

               /  10th April 2020

              You and Trump are my heroes Al…its all your fault.

            • Gezza

               /  10th April 2020

              Al IS the housekeeper, B.

            • Blazer

               /  10th April 2020

              @G…Al is a businessman…he knows how to claim,how to minimise tax.

              You can be sure it is not unpaid work.

      • Pink David

         /  10th April 2020

        “how robust are these companies that cannot survive a few weeks without taxpayer ..handouts?”

        They have no business. Businesses cannot carry on without some actual business. This is not a difficult concept. Are you really so ignorant to think businesses are sitting on huge piles of cash that they can keep paying wages, rent, costs without any revenue?

        As I have stated before, we are laying off in NZ, we are cutting wages, rent, and all other costs as hard as we can. That is just to survive the next month. If the shutdown carries on, more people will be laid off. Without revenue, companies die. Our revenue in NZ is around $25m, it will drop to $15m this year at best. The majority of that is spend on wages, can you explain where the difference in those numbers come from if it’s not from our clients?

        It’t not a ‘few weeks’ either. There is no return to where we were, tourism for example is completely destroyed. That has huge impacts across the board.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  10th April 2020

          ‘ Are you really so ignorant to think businesses are sitting on huge piles of cash that they can keep paying wages, rent, costs without any revenue?

          heard of dividends?

          SMB surely need a hand…multi nationals…not so much!

          Reply
          • David

             /  10th April 2020

            The tax system actively discourages retaining earnings for a rainy day. Business keeps a certain amount for a rainy day but this is a situation no one could plan for and lets just hold on to see how many people get laid off.
            I know a number of people, myself included, who are shelling out thousands each week, for the vast bulk of businesses looking after their staff is a huge priority. Landlords cutting rent so businesses survive etc. You would be surprised at what is going on that doesnt fit your narrative, it should make you happy B.

            Reply
          • Pink David

             /  10th April 2020

            “heard of dividends?”

            Are you for fucking real? If the revenue for a company drops from $25m to $15m where the hell does a dividend come from? In a good year our NZ operation would pay a dividend of about $1.5m How do you fill a $10m hole then?

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  10th April 2020

              B really is that bad. Thinks a maybe 5% dividend should have paid for a 40-100% loss of turnover. And been predicted necessary.

            • Blazer

               /  10th April 2020

              big drop in 2 weeks.Has your company had any share buy backs in the last 5 years?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  10th April 2020

              It won’t be two weeks.

            • Pink David

               /  10th April 2020

              Answer the question.

            • Blazer

               /  10th April 2020

              @PD…’How do you fill a $10m hole then?…ask Steven Joyce,but the reality is you are guessing ,how would you know after 2 weeks!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  10th April 2020

              They’re doing end of month accounts and the shortfalls are clear. Staff are getting pay cuts, redundancies are coming, suppliers aren’t going to be paid and companies will go bust.

    • duperez

       /  10th April 2020

      Which parts of the country would you have not shut down? In those circumstances how would you have mitigated any risks?

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  10th April 2020

        “Which parts of the country would you have not shut down? In those circumstances how would you have mitigated any risks?”

        I would not shut any of it down. If people have a risk profile, isolation that can be supported by the majority who are still able to work and carry on normally. Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Sweden are all following this and will come out of this far less damaged with less deaths.

        There is no evidence, of any form, that supports the lockdown as being in anyway effective and a significant amount that shows it is actively harmful.

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  10th April 2020

          I’m obviously too simple to understand.

          Your claim is, “If people have a risk profile, isolation that can be supported by the majority who are still able to work and carry on normally. Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Sweden are all following this and will come out of this far less damaged with less deaths.”

          “Unlike other European countries with widespread shelter-in-place orders, Sweden has not enforced a nationwide lockdown and instead aims to isolate and treat confirmed coronavirus cases—with many businesses, gyms, restaurants, bars and schools remaining open.
          On Thursday, there were nearly 10,000 cases nationwide, with 719 Swedes in intensive care. More than 100 Swedes have died per day for two days in a row, according to the Swedish Public Health Agency, bringing the total death count to 782.”
          (Death total today 793.)

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/carlieporterfield/2020/04/09/after-rejecting-a-coronavirus-lockdown-sweden-sees-rise-in-deaths/#3b7acadf3dfe

          https://www.vox.com/2020/4/9/21213472/coronavirus-sweden-herd-immunity-cases-death

          Sweden population = 10.36 million

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  10th April 2020

            Compare to Belgium about a mill more people that Sweden, their death toll is around 3-4 times greater than Sweden, over 2000.
            They have had a strong lockdown for just over 3 weeks and its extended another 8 weeks

            Reply
          • Pink David

             /  10th April 2020

            “I’m obviously too simple to understand.”

            People die. This might be a surprise to you. We have a way of calculation how much we spend to save people which is run by the health service. Roughly, $2m per life is a decent rule of thumb.

            NZ is going to be hit by a bill in the range of $50-100bn over the next few years as a direct result of the policy run in reaction to Covid-19. NZ spends just $16bn or so on it’s entire health service per year.

            How many lives did this policy save? How many lives will it cost? Could we have used that money to save more lives in another way?

            Assume we have saved 500 lives at a cost of $50bn, that is at a cost of $100m per life. Is that worth it? Then factor that almost everyone who dies with Covid is 65+ and in poor health. Is it worth $100m to get someone, perhaps, an extra year?

            How many lives could you save with $100m?

            Reply
            • duperez

               /  10th April 2020

              I don’t know. You said you wouldn’t have shut down the entire country. When asked which parts of the country you wouldn’t have shut down, one country you quoted as a good example was Sweden.

              We could have gone the way they did. At the similar rate that would have meant 400 deaths here.

              I suppose the choice was made that dispensables would be saved at financial expense. Decisions around life and death are made like that all the time.

              There are extremes. Subjective decisions have to be made between them. Those making the critical calls will always be wrong.

            • Pink David

               /  10th April 2020

              “We could have gone the way they did. At the similar rate that would have meant 400 deaths here.”

              What makes you think the lives have actually been saved? It’s entirely possible it’s just delayed. What about the lives that will be lost as a result of the impact of the shutdown?

              Where are they in your calculation?

              “Decisions around life and death are made like that all the time.”

              Correct. These are made every day. You make one every time you get into a car.

              “Those making the critical calls will always be wrong.”

              If that is the case, they should not be making the critical calls.

            • “What makes you think the lives have actually been saved? It’s entirely possible it’s just delayed.”

              That sounds callous. In any case everyone’s death is just delayed. Most of us want to delay it for as long as possible. That’s why most people, especially elderly people, don’t want to catch the Covid-19 virus and support drastic measures to prevent catching it.

            • Pink David

               /  10th April 2020

              “That sounds callous”

              This is the reality. How on earth do you think the health system operates? Pharmac does this with every single drug.

              “That’s why most people, especially elderly people, don’t want to catch the Covid-19 virus and support drastic measures to prevent catching it.”

              They have not yet understood the cost.

  4. Conspiratoor

     /  10th April 2020

    Will trade unions with members paying their fees by direct debit be refunding fees while their members have been stood down or on reduced wages?

    My advice to those members, don’t hold your breath

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  10th April 2020

      Hell, no!

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th April 2020

      Their unions are still actively working for them.
      Ask Fletchers.

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  10th April 2020

        Yes Blazer, just as Jordan and David and friends have been working tirelessly on your behalf (as a taxpayer) to date without one cent of your hard earned moola. You should be grateful

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  10th April 2020

          That was then , “never” means what used to.
          “Prior to COVID-19, we have stated on the record that we would never accept taxpayer funding. ”
          Mae West said ” I used to be Snow White until I drifted”

          Reply
        • Blazer

           /  11th April 2020

          I will assume you are being sarcastic.

          Reply
  5. PartisanZ

     /  12th April 2020

    Wallypedia – The Taxpayers Union – one of the more peculiar branches of the Charitocracy – a Right Royal Rogering (Triple R ‘brand’) phenomena – The self-proclaimed, mock-community, quasi-solidarity, psuedo-academic, ‘flake’ NGO, would-be ‘Think Tank’ disguised as a wannabe Lobby Group, who personally insults the very word “Union” (in all its senses) he uses in “their” own name …

    Happy Easter Righties!!! I hope you’re receiving the socialist spirit of sharing Easter eggs and treasure hunts over the Holy Day period … “Once Were Villagers” …

    “Swept Home!”

    PartisanZ

    “Opportunity Locks!” …. The opportunity of a civilization-time, if not a species-time?

    Reply

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