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The Taxpayers’ Union’s identity problem

Written By: - Date published: 2:23 pm, October 3rd, 2018 - 45 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, David Farrar, Dirty Politics, dpf, john key, Media, Politics, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

Gosh.  This is awkward.  Talk about dirty politics.

David Fisher has discovered that the Taxpayer’s Union, the National Party aligned entity whose founders include David Farrar, has been using multiple fictitious identities for its Official Information Act applications.

From Fisher’s article in the Herald:

False identities were used by a right-wing lobby group to make Official Information Act requests of a government agency.

The Herald uncovered evidence showing people seeking information for the NZ Taxpayers’ Union did not actually exist – and that numerous email addresses from its purported members were actually directly linked to its head office.

One single Taxpayers’ Union email address was linked to nine ghost people who filed OIAs seeking information, including details later used by the lobby group to seek publicity.

The Herald approached the Taxpayers’ Union for comment. It refused to talk for two days then issued a statement admitting it used false identities to make OIA requests.

It has claimed it was forced to use pseudonyms because it was being “stonewalled” when seeking information.

I would have to take the claims of “stonewalling” with a certain degree of cynicism.  OIA stonewalling has been endemic for the past decade, especially under the last Government.  John Key admitted doing so for political advantage.

But the dirty politics brigade has again raised bad memories.

What is also interesting is that elements within the National Party are complaining.

I get the impression that just below the calm surface is a seething mass of conflicting ambitions waiting to break out.

Barrister Stephen Price has said that “[t]he whole thing is not a good look for the Taxpayers’ Union.”

You can say that again.

45 comments on “The Taxpayers’ Union’s identity problem ”

  1. ianmac 1

    Sadly it is not illegal to use another name just as long as you are entitled to ask.
    But asking how many clicks of the mouse to work on a spreadsheet seems odd to me.
    And were the multiple requests aimed at undermining The Callaghan Innovation group?
    Taxpayer Union is a nasty group who are intent on damaging the Left.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Funny thing is that Vic Crone, National’s Auckland Mayoral candidate last time is chief executive. There is no love lost between Slater and her. I wonder if this is related?

    • Chuck 1.2

      If you look at the statics (Press releases) you will see they are critical of “wasteful spending” regardless of who is in Government.

      National did not escape the wrath of the taxpayers union while in Government.

      Regardless of who is in Government, a group like the Taxpayers Union is required to shine a light on how the politicians of the day spend public funds.

  2. Pete 2

    It’s the Taxpayer’s Union, Jordan Williams, David Farrar and dirty politics?

    Heck, that’s a surprise.

  3. Muttonbird 3

    They actually used real people’s names too. Without their knowledge or consent. Surely that is against the law.

  4. alwyn 4

    It does seem rather amusing that all the people who are complaining here use pseudonyms for their comments.
    As, I confess openly, do I.

    ps I suppose Muttonbird could even be complaining about the author of the item.
    I’m sure there was a very famous person in New Zealand’s history called Micky Savage. Was he reincarnated or could there be someone here using a real persons name?

    • Muttonbird 4.1


      • alwyn 4.1.1

        Well yes, you are.
        It shouldn’t have needed anyone to point out to you how illogical you were being.
        Someone with sense would have seen it for themselves.

        • arkie

          The old ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue’ eh?

        • Muttonbird

          It’s amusing to see you reduced to playground logic.

          The government hasn’t fallen over despite the most concerted efforts of the opposition, rather it is the opposition which is looking clueless, incoherent, and untrustworthy.

          This leaves you with nothing to write about because those from whom you get your opinions have nothing to write about.

          We are then left with the real alwyn which is a sorry sight indeed.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      It does seem rather amusing that all the people who are complaining here use pseudonyms for their comments.

      The two are not remotely connected. One is official and the other isn’t.

      • In Vino 4.2.1

        +1 DTB. One would think that someone with alwyn’s self-proclaimed perspicuity and intelligence would have seen that in advance.

  5. AsleepWhileWalking 5

    Never was there a more fitting mascot.

    Good on the Herald for publicising the sleeze fest. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12133419

    The revelation of an organised cluster of false identities is considered by Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier to be the first such occurrence in the Official Information Act’s 36-year history.

  6. David Mac 6

    Given the relentless pursuit of Dotcom by Warner Bros it’s got to be double stupid to create a mascot that is an exact replica of one of Warner’s much loved characters and then give it exactly the same name as their character.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    The Herald approached the Taxpayers’ Union for comment. It refused to talk for two days then issued a statement admitting it used false identities to make OIA requests.

    That should be fraud and come with jail terms.

    In fact, I could be persuaded to make it so that only people on the electoral role can make an OIA request.

    • Chris T 7.1

      “That should be fraud and come with jail terms.”


    • Chuck 7.2

      “That should be fraud and come with jail terms.”

      You do understand why when making an OIA request you can do so with not having to divulge your details?

      Luckily we are not in a Draco controlled despotic.

      • Muttonbird 7.2.1

        According to Williams and Farrar you don’t even need to be a real person. Even ghosts can make OIA requests!

        • AsleepWhileWalking

          There is protection against vexatious requests…like the number of mouse clicks ffs.

      • Grant 7.2.2

        *despotic is not a noun

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.3

        You do understand why when making an OIA request you can do so with not having to divulge your details?

        But should it be that way considering that we’ve just had an organisation admitting to fraud to try and bypass the proper process?

  8. Jum 8

    Yet David Farrar was on Radio NZ today. I still have to wash my hands after hearing his weasily words.

    Read Hager’s Dirty Politics again. FFS, why don’t NZers learn?

    • Sanctuary 8.1


      Jim Mora basically gave David Farrar ten minutes of state funded airtime to spin the PR line for the taxpayers union, complete with softly softly questions.

      If only moron Mora extended such a courtesy to other subjects of discussion on his usually ill-informed panel of bourgeois drongos.

  9. Hmmmm… so the ‘Taxpayers Union’ is at it again, eh ?


    If they need to use ‘false identity’s’ to achieve what others do above board, surely that shows a devious motive and that something just isn’t right about it. Oh well ,… all these wheedlers and deceivers need to take some honesty pills or something… but here’s something completely unrelated but a bit more uplifting than a bunch of pallid, sweaty little right wing schemers.

    Hank Williams III- Troopers Hollar – YouTube

  10. Radio nz interview train week – not sure how Jordon will get out the studio his Pinocchio nose must be about 3 metres long now. Scum imo.

    • Tiger Mountain 10.1

      even though Mr Espiner did not have great enthusiasm for the task, he could not avoid nailing the Taxpayers Union–Jordan Williams was wriggling and squiggling and in the end there were long pauses…

      the Nats never abandoned their “two track” strategy and the sooner the new govt. realises that the better

  11. Delia 11

    How is the Taxpayer Union funded?

  12. Pete 12

    The Taxpayers Union man is good with being straight up:

    “It was Jordan Williams who was shown to have launched a subterranean campaign to disgrace and destroy Colin Craig. (Judge Katz: “For all intents and purposes he mounted a campaign in the following weeks to remove Mr Craig as Conservative Party leader.”) It was Williams who (um, how can I put this?) exaggerated a great deal; about what he knew, what he had seen, what Craig had supposedly done, said, paid, and ‘sexted’.

    According to evidence presented at the trial, it was choirboy/lawyer Jordan Williams who repeatedly deceived Ms MacGregor (see Katz’s blistering summary in para 56 below). He ignored her requests and his promised assurances of confidentiality (remember, he told her he would treat her information as if he was her lawyer – gah!) before he then calculatedly copied and passed on her copies of Craig’s foolish, idiotic, but personal and private communications, which Williams had stored in his office safe for her – and then (according to Judge Katz) lied to Ms MacGregor about his actions.”


  13. ALEX SHAW 13

    Has anyone been able to find out how many letters to the editor in THE NZ HERALD are written by the Nats under false names?

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