Right Thinking: Thank God for the Taxpayers’ Union

frankDr. Frank Shizenhausen, New Zealand’s leading libertarian authoritarian commentator, returns with a sizzling new column.

The New Zealand Taxpayers Union has attacked Green MP Mojo Mathers, after she travelled over 800 kilometres to be interviewed on a radio station.

In undertaking this travel she may have cost the taxpayer as much as $550.

I don’t know what you think, but I reckon $550 is a lot to spend on frivolous things like talking about disabilities. Think of all the things we could have done with that money. It could have gone a long way towards paying Paula Rebstock’s $208,907 bill for writing a report into the alleged leaking of MFAT documents, even if that report failed to identify any guilty parties.  A long way. We’re talking over a quarter of a percent of Rebstock’s bill.

Or how about all the money the government has spent so far on selling shares in Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis? Tens of millions have been spent on consultants and PR and ad agencies. That $550 could have come in use when it came time to settling the bills. It might have covered almost half an hour of a top investment banker’s time.

But the $550 is probably only the tip of the iceberg. The Taxpayers’ Union is right to be aggrieved about disability-related spending. Deaf people have no right to expect the taxpayer to fork out cash on their behalf. Many of these people made the choice to be deaf when they were conceived or were growing in their mothers’ wombs. Why should the taxpayer now subsidise their lifestyle decisions? What about all the advantages that go with hearing loss? When I want to block out unwanted noise I have to go to the shops and pay for earplugs. But I don’t expect the government to pay for these, do I?

All this lavish government spending has to stop. No, sorry, I don’t mean all. I just mean any spending that doesn’t end up directly benefiting me or my political allies. The tens of millions given to investment bankers by this government is an example of good spending, because it helps to boost vital sectors, like the market for luxury sports cars. But who benefits when someone spends $500 of government money to talk on the radio? Just some disabled people.

I’m glad the Taxpayers’ Union is looking out for us taxpayers. It’s true that I have managed to structure my affairs so that I don’t actually pay any income tax. But I still pay GST, and I’m also effectively paying duty every time I buy a drink at one of the many expensive wine bars I frequent.  So the Taxpayers’ Union represents me and others fed up with disabled people and all of the privileges they enjoy.

I’m also pleased that the Taxpayers’ Union goes about its business in such a transparent and non-partisan way. The task of beating up on the disabled, the vulnerable, trade unions, opposition parties and the political left in general is an important one, and Jordan Williams and his team do their work in a completely impartial and even-handed way. I just hope John Key gives that young man a pat on the head for all his good work.