Irony abounds. The Taxpayer’s Union has accused another entity of being an astroturf organisation.
From a TPU press release:
Responding to the launch of new campaign to promote Michael Cullen’s capital gains tax, New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:
“This campaign is not a grassroots movement – it’s more like astroturf. The campaign group is a union-funded front for New Zealand’s usual left-wing agitators. They are funded by the same people who bankroll the Labour Party’s campaigns and even include the Labour Party’s recent General Secretary in their steering committee.”
“The group’s key message – claiming that ‘most’ New Zealanders support a capital gains tax – is false. Public polling consistently shows Kiwis want the Government to axe Dr Cullen’s unfair tax.”
Usual left wing agitators?
There is one person, Mike Smith, who has strong links to the Labour Party as well as to this blog. But the others do not.
They include a lecturer, a member of the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, an academic, and someone who lists his interests as including “words, evidence and being outside.”
The appearance is of a group of dedicated enthusiasts wanting to create a better world.
By comparison the Taxpayer’s Union (not a real union) employs eight staff. And there is no sign of who funds such a significant entity although inconveniently news has broken out that it receives funds from British Tobacco.
And apparently it has said that it has lots of others. According to communications officer Louis Holbrook:
We have so many donors, if we started singling out any particular donor that would actually start distorting people’s perspectives of our work and distort people’s perceptions of our funding and distort people’s perceptions of our relationships.”
They are a bit slack with their accounts. The last accounts filed in the societies were from 2016. And strangely there is [only $73,000 of staff costs] although there is a full time communications officer and other staff are said to be “part time” with some said to be interns. Maybe they all work for love.
I applaud the Taxpayer’s union call for openness and transparency. I look forward to it practising what it preaches.