It’s always exciting when a group of people get together to create something new. This week we learned about the creation of a new organisation with very leftist ideals and aspirations, and with a set of governing rules bound to bring tears of nostalgia to any old-time socialist.
This week we welcomed the arrival of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union (NZTU). A brand new union at a time when unions are struggling to survive. And what a union! They are doing it old-school.
And you can join this union for only a few bucks.
So what makes these guys so special? Let me tell you. Most unions give members the right to vote. The rules differ from union to union, but most union officers derive their positions through the support of the membership. But the NZTU does it differently. The only way to be appointed to the board of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union to be appointed by the board of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. It’s gloriously undemocratic.
And yet they want to be our largest union. A union in which the governing body has all the power, and where members have none.
You know which other large union this reminds me of?
But to be fair, the NZTU’s membership rules are slightly more progressive than communist Russia’s. Unlike the old Soviet one, people are actually allowed to leave this union. Some may even end up fleeing in horror. So perhaps it’s not so unlike the USSR after all.
Transparency! Openness! Accountability! Just not for us!
The NZTU want to see more transparency, openness and accountability in government. They also want your money. What will they do with that money? I’m sure members will hold the NZTU board to account if there isn’t sufficient disclosure.
Who could object to those aims?
The objects and aims of the NZTU are set out in its constitution. The objects are:
To give taxpayers a voice in the corridors of power
Oh, so they’re lobbyists.
To educate New Zealanders against excessive and wasteful government spending
I also think excessive and wasteful government spending is a terrible thing. I look forward to reading the NZTU’s press releases attacking National’s extravagant spending on roads, and its ridiculous generosity towards the consultants and merchant bankers involved in the Mighty River Power and Meridian share floats, not to mention what are effectively interest-free loans given to purchasers of Meridian shares.
To publicise government waste
Nobody likes government waste. I support this, Comrades. Tell everyone about that ridiculous spending! How about the $5 million the government just chucked to Team New Zealand?
To promote an efficient tax system
Nobody wants inefficiency. Again, I’m sure all good socialists will support this object.
To promote discussion on the balance of activities best undertaken by the private sector and the public sector
Certainly. Let’s discuss this. I have some views on the topic.
To promote public policies to advance New Zealanders’ prosperity
That’s what everyone in the politics game says they want. Even Hone Harawira says this kind of thing. Does this mean they’re just like Hone Harawira?
To identify, research and monitor issues affecting these objects
Sure, let’s do that.
To co-operate or join with other associations or bodies having similar objects
The Greens? The EPMU? Socialist Aotearoa?
Generally to do all such things as would help to attain or further the Taxpayers’ Union’s objects
These guys should definitely talk to Hone Harawira. They seem to have have a lot in common.
The aims of the Taxpayers’ Union are also set out in its constitution. They are:
To reduce wasteful spending by central and local government
Agreed. Let’s start by calling for a stop to the wasteful and expensive asset sales programme.
To increase transparency and accountability of government spending
Sounds good to me. I want to know exactly what my government is doing. Let’s start with a line by line breakdown of all GCSB spending. What, too far?
To increase institutional checks on government spending
If we can put in place procedures to prevent extravagant spending on things like motorways, then I’m all for it.
To enable New Zealanders to easily scrutinise government spending
Sounds suspiciously like the second aim. But sure, why not? Sounds like a good idea.
To lower the tax burden on New Zealanders
I agree. Let’s start by increasing the tax rate paid by the highest income earners. It doesn’t say “all New Zealanders”, does it? I figure that if we tax the shit out a small group of wealthy people, the rest of us can then pay less. I’m sure that’s what this aim must be all about.
To promote evidence based public policy
And about time too. Let’s have no more of that blathering by right-wing think-tanks who take it for granted that the market is always the best, and that the government is always a problem. Let’s see some real hard evidence for a change.
Notwithstanding the suspiciously bourgeois title of the organisation, it seems clear that the NZTU are all about looking after the little guy, and finally sticking it to those capitalist fat-cats.
If a global proletarian revolution is your true heart’s desire, then you need to get on board. You won’t have a voice in this union, and your leaders will almost certainly end up betraying the cause. But that’s what always happens.
So do your socialist duty and join now!