Taxpayers’ Union surrogate election campaigning

A Taxpayers’ Union surrogate has mass mailed letters trying to stop people from voting for the Green party.

The TU claims to “represent the common interests of all taxpayers and to provide them with a voice in corridors of power”, but obviously they don’t represent the interests of all taxpayers. This campaign they are looking to me increasingly like political activists, and little more than a surrogate for the Act Party.

Connections between the TU and Act and National were detailed here: A web of connections between the ACT Party, Taxpayers’ Union and National Party

The TU recently a surrogate surrogate campaign directly targeting the Green Party – Taxpayers’ Union Launches Major Direct Mail Campaign Against Green Party’s Proposed Asset Tax

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is today launching the Campaign for Affordable Home Ownership to fight against the Green Party’s proposal to implement an asset tax.

Campaign for Affordable Home Ownership spokesperson Islay Aitchison says…

The website does have an authorisation statement:

Authorised by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union – for the Campaign for Affordable Home Ownership 

Islay Aitchison is listed on the TU ‘Our Team’ web page as “our part-time research officer”.

A letter from with Campaign for Affordable Home Ownership and with her signature has been mass mailed:

But there is no sign of the TU nor an authorisation statement on the letter, even though the letter would appear to be a form of (deceptive) election advertising.

From the Electoral Commission: What is election advertising?

An ‘election advertisement’ is an advertisement in any medium that may reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to vote or not vote for a:

– candidate
– party
– type of candidate or party the advertisement describes by referencing views they do or don’t hold.

All election advertisements must include a promoter statement. This rule applies at all times, not just during the regulated period.

Promoter statements must be clearly displayed in election advertisements. For audible election advertisements, the promoter statement must be as easy to hear as the rest of the advertisement.

Not including a promoter statement is an offence which could lead to a fine of up to $40,000.

If you put out advertising about a candidate, party or election issue, but are not a candidate or party yourself, you’re a third party promoter.

The Taxpayers’ Union is registered as a promoter for the 2020 General Election and Referendums, but not their surrogate campaign for home ownership.

I expect that someone will have brought the letter to the attention of the Electoral Commission.

There is also questions being asked about the mailing list used for the letter. The TU membership database is not likely to contain many potential Green voters.

From Martin @dannedaerd

Can confirm. And they’ve got the mailing list improperly – looks like they pulled a list from LINZ data, where you have to confirm you won’t use it for DM purposes.

The address I got mine from isn’t an address I’ve lived at and will not appear on any list – apart from ownership

I guess that will be checked out too, but nothing is likely to happen until well after the election.

Deterring people from voting for the Greens would potentially benefit National and ACT – if the Greens don’t make the 5% threshold (and Chloe Swarbrick doesn’t pull of a surprise win in Auckland Central) then the left loses a lot of votes, and forming a government would come down to Labour versus National+Act.

The TU has properly put an authorisation statement on this:

The TU are clearly ‘pay less tax’ activists, and that would obviously align them with National and in particular Act.

David Farrar is a founder of the Taxpayer’s Union. It’s been interesting to see his posts at Kiwiblog this campaign. He has been targeting Labour in a series of posts, the last one being Labour’s Failures Part 11 – Renewable Electricity.

Kiwiblog has also featured promotions for both the Taxpayers’ Union and the Act Party. Three consecutive posts on 5 and 6 October:

Also on Tuesday was a post promoting the Taxpayers’ Union Scorecard: Taxpayer Scorecard

This omitted the authorisation statement from the graphic:

So it looks like Farrar is advertising for the Taxpayers’ Union who are effectively advertising for ACT.

Yesterday on Kiwblog: Huge tax cuts in Australia with a comment from Farrar:

“Sadly we have a Government here that believes the only acceptable fiscal stimulus is them deciding to spend more money, not giving taxpayers more of their own money to spend.”

Curiously Farrar, who has had close connections to National, is hardly posting any sort of party promotions – since Saturday the only National directed posts are on specific candidates:

Auckland Central – it doesn’t matter whether the Labour or National candidate win, but it does matter to National and Act if Swarbrick wins for the Greens.

Also curiously, there are only two posts at Kiwiblog in August tagged with Judith Collins, one in September and none so far in October:

Farrar and the Taxpayers’ Union seem to be most interested in keeping the Greens out and getting Act in, but the way things are looking they are likely to be unsuccessful.

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37 Comments

  1. John J Harrison

     /  8th October 2020

    I am proud to be a financial supporter of the Taxpayers Union.
    I do so as I don’t believe in “ big government “ but believe taxpayers know best when it comes to rejuvenating the economy with their own spending.
    Trade Unions have a 100 year history of actively supporting Labour , not only with votes but with $millions in direct funding – despite their members not necessarily agreeing to same.
    The Daily Blog and The Standard are continually urging their readers to vote Green or Labour.
    I regularly read their ranting and supporting comments for the humor they provide.
    No one has a monopoly on being virtuous in their fight for votes.
    I hope the Greens are destroyed this election but I’m not prepared to bet the ranch on that occurring.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  8th October 2020

      TU is the bogan spawn of ACT.

      Their ‘principles’ change like the…weather.

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  8th October 2020

      Good stuff, John. The Greens are a toxic commodity for NZ economics. They belong in the East German era.

      What annoys me about the Greens is their refusal to accept farmers are changing the way they operate. Many are replanting natives and protecting the environment as best they can. The Greens would prefer to concentrate on cowboy farmers who don’t give a stuff, and tar the whole industry with that brush.

      Go the TU.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  8th October 2020

        Best they can ?
        Thats not what the regional councils are finding when they do spot checks, only the worst
        worst are prosecuted and the rest of them get a wet bus ticket to ‘keep calm and carry on’

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  8th October 2020

          ”Thats not what the regional councils are finding when they do spot checks, only the worst.”

          Is that the regional councils who will have to measure the depth of mud in a paddock if Labour comes to power again? What would you know about farming. Ever docked a lamb?

          ”Worst are prosecuted and the rest of them get a wet bus ticket to ‘keep calm and carry on’’

          Maybe a week without milk and meat and grains may clear your sinuses and muddled Lefty mind.

          Reply
        • FarmerPete

           /  8th October 2020

          Doc and Fonterra started a 10 year living waters partnership to help ‘refresh’ NZ waterways. As a part of that initiative farmers have planted a significant number of the riparian boundaries running through their properties. So your claim of ‘that’s not what councils are finding’ is total bollocks!

          Reply
      • Fight4nz

         /  9th October 2020

        The Greens are a dilemma. General environmental protection, tick. Progress with at at least trying alternative solutions to social issues but I remain unconvinced they would get the balance right between carrot and stick.
        But, while I am not a climate change denier, I see no point in undermining our economy particularly in recovery mode, to make emissions cuts which can only be generously described as token in the global scheme of things. Agriculture is and always has been our most critical industry.

        Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  8th October 2020

      Im proud to have unsubscribed from the taxpayers union…national lite

      Reply
    • Fight4nz

       /  9th October 2020

      So you believe that the tax is currently more than enough to bring back the schools and hospitals to a functional level, solve transport issues, pay down record debt and pay for tax cuts?
      I don’t tend to give alot of credence to those who seem to be unable to do simple maths, or just can’t see beyond their own bank account, the core MO of the TU and the like.

      Reply
  2. Duker

     /  8th October 2020

    More shenanigans
    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/gun-advocacy-group-apologises-after-vote-email-includes-act-authorisation-statement

    It seems it was ‘organised by ACT’ but they forgot to cover it up and only use the proxy name CLFO, who was headed by a now ACT candidate

    Reply
    • Read it properly. The authorisation statement was about something else and was included in error.

      It was NOT organised by ACT; that is a direct lie.

      Don’t include links if you want to be believed !

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  8th October 2020

        Template came from ACT…… thats why it was in ‘error’
        Why would COLFO be using ACT templates ?
        Thats because the ACT office staff would have provided the ‘draft’ version

        They are an ACT proxy now like other front websites , like fairandreasonable

        Reply
  3. Sunny

     /  8th October 2020

    How is this different to the NGO’s that promote the green party through various campaigns. Or the living wage campaigns run by the Unions. Shrug.

    Reply
    • You do realise that this was a joke, don’t you ? People don’t stand in one place for a week. They should, perhaps, have labelled it as one for the benefit of the gullible who’d take it literally.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  8th October 2020

        hehehehehe ..explaining is losing

        Reply
        • Not always; in this case, an obvious satire was misunderstood and taken to be a real story. There is always that danger, that those lacking in a sense of humour witll take things literally and believe them.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  8th October 2020

            Who was saying ‘they misunderstood” …quote the words used to show misunderstanding ….
            Wearing your panic pants today are you

            Reply
  4. Corky

     /  8th October 2020

    Dave Armstrong
    @malosilima

    DomPost columnist and playwright.Satirical tweets not in lockdown.

    ”Satirical tweets?” Just a nasty Lefty in my opinion.

    Reply
  5. Sunny

     /  8th October 2020

    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2010/S00083/greens-kauri-policy-welcome.htm
    Oh here’s one. Who are the Tree council sponsoring Green party policy. Hint the chair spokesperson is an ex-parliamentary staffer, issues assistant for a left mp, and now owner of a lobbying firm that has no contact details or name on their website. They are spokesperson on a number of political issues under the guise of a number of charities or societies.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  8th October 2020

      Are you the diversion squad from the National-ACT- TU Axis…… not on the Collins walkabout duties for today ?

      Reply
  6. NOEL

     /  8th October 2020

    I love their title Taxpayer Union.
    Act proxy of the far right known for distain for employee unions.

    Reply
  7. NOEL

     /  8th October 2020

    Opps “dislike”

    Reply
  8. Sunny

     /  8th October 2020

    And what about the Kate Catalinac Diary which was promoted by mainstream media. No promoter statement. Was that really not advertising. Kate Catalinac who is communications director at a major ad agency arrives arrives in nz and does a daily diary of her quarantine on facebook and insta. She just hapeens to bump into the prime minister at the airport. And then professional photos and copy of her lying on her bed in quarantine looking at her laptop screen which features ardern’s vogue photos with a cupcake on the keyboard saying looking at a goodess and eating brownies. And then coincidentally meets her hero Jacinda at the airport when leaving as well. And her post said “I thanked her and SHE THANKED ME. She walked away with my heart in her backpack, showing absolutely no sign that she was also carrying the weight of our nation’s fears and the world’s admiration on her shoulders. Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, you are truly the sweetest slice of the day.” Hahahaha. Sure that wasn’t advertising at all. https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/ardern-picks-up-sweet-treat-made-popular-kiwi-blogged-quarantine-gratitude

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  8th October 2020

      Where is it being put into letterboxes in an electorate to tell people not to vote for a party….and the campaign uses some astroturf local group thats a front for the Act-TU-National Axis .

      Are you stopping so low to trawl through news items to pick out any that favour Ardern ? news media has a blanket exemption for news from promoter statements

      Reply
      • Sunny

         /  8th October 2020

        Not all advertising arrives in your letterbox Duker. . An ad campaign running on facebook is still advertising and still deserves transparency about who funded it, whose behind it, and a promoters statement. In fact advertising masquerading as some sort of organic post can even be more insidious as they are designed to look authentic – hence where the term astroturfing came from.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  8th October 2020

          newspapers and TV have ads too…which must have promoter statements….

          What about this ‘news item, when its clearly a big plug for National and its leader
          https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/national/sir-john-key-praises-confident-and-strong-judith-collins/ar-BB19NxPP

          “”The reality is – I think she’s been campaigning really really well. She’s had good debates, she’s looked confident and strong, she’s known her policies, she’s on the right issues, I think, in terms of the economy.”
          Go on JK pump those pillows , and one more for extra effect
          ‘He also reiterated comments he made last week about National Auckland Central candidate Emma Mellow, telling Newstalk ZB she was a “phenomenal candidate” and “the perfect fit”.

          is this on your gripe list for ‘advertising’ ?

          Reply
          • Sunny

             /  8th October 2020

            Are you kidding? It’s quite obviously a newspaper article. It doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  8th October 2020

              Exactly what the earlier ‘home mad slices’ story was ….
              I think we will be hearing a LOT from ‘ former PM with ax to grind’ over the next week . Clearly hes wearing his panic pants

  9. Duker

     /  8th October 2020

    Collins being mobbed by adoring fans……
    well those students at the Taieri College of performing arts seem a little on the old side to … umm get up out of the seats.
    And whats with the crazy attempt to create a ‘lectern’…. as Ive previously said shes ‘Muldoon like diminutive’ and has cankles

    Reply
    • John J Harrison

       /  8th October 2020

      Duker, you are such a sad , pathetic creature with your gratuitous personal attacks on anyone who you will never agree with.
      Get a life.
      Instead of lurking over computer 24/7, go for a 5K walk, listen to the wonderful birdsong, have a cup of coffee – you may meet a friend!

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  8th October 2020

        Cry me a river …dont you have debtors to chase up ?…
        are you on street duty for Seymour when he hits the town…we may be connected via the
        HB Belcher family …. yes it is … all adds up , the names are familar to my family

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  8th October 2020

        Go for a 5K walk ?? You must be joking, John. Duker only leaves his computer for a coffee.
        Activity is for people who do stuff. Like your typical RIGHTY. He said some horrible stuff when I suggested he buy a Kettle Bell and pump out a set of KB swings.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  8th October 2020

          [Deleted]

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  8th October 2020

            ” Wrinkled and shrivelled bark of a certain tree for your moniker tells us all about your health.”

            What are you on about? Lol

            Reply
  10. Duker

     /  8th October 2020

    cant organise a piss up in a brewery

    “Workers at a Mosgiel cafe told to specially prepare cheese rolls for National leader Judith Collins were a little cheesed off when she failed to show up.
    Media were told by the National Party to show up at Blend Espresso cafe for a photo opportunity where Collins would try the southern delicacy.”

    Snubs the Southern delicacy , that will go down badly with Voters, maybe the rent-a-crowd was needed elsewhere

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=12371635

    Reply

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