$23 million of the proceeds from the sale of your stuff that you were told would go to kids, sick people and better road instead is going to be used to stop people complaining that their new passports cost too much - and you can thank the "Taxpayers' Union" for that!
Just a quick follow-up to a post from back in June of last year, in which I noted how the "Taxpayer's Union" mounted a successful campaign to get the Government to reintroduce 10-year passports. It was very proud of doing so - here's its Chairman John Bishop in September of 2014:
We have also campaigned against the government’s decision to make passports valid for only five years, and we claim some credit in forcing a rethink which has put ten year passports back on the agenda.
The only problem for an organisation that, ostensibly, exists "to lower the tax burden on New Zealanders" is that these new 10-year passports then received a substantial taxpayer subsidy - more than 50% of the cost - to stop the price for individual applicants from skyrocketing.
So as I noted back then:
Due to returning to a 10-year-valid period, we will go from a system of full cost recovery from applicants to one in which the taxpayer will subsidise the cost of individual applicants. Which seems like something that the ["Taxpayers' Union"] might have a bit of a problem with, I would have thought.
Well, according to Newshub, we now know that this taxpayer subsidy has been sourced from the proceeds of National's partial-sale of the state's energy companies:
Around $23 million from the asset sales proceeds fund -- dubbed The Future Investment Fund -- was diverted to what is called the 'Passports Memorandum Account', which allowed 10-year passports to be give a $185 price tag.
So the loot gained from a policy pursued over the objections of a large plurality of ordinary, hard-working Kiwi Mums and Dads - a policy, remember, that we were promised would deliver more resources for "schools, health, and transport" - instead has gone to provide a substantial public subsidy for the wishes of an astro-turfing lobby group that claims to be opposed to such forms of public subsidy.
So, what says the intrepid "Taxpayers' Union" about this apparent omnishambles brought about by their agitation on the issue? Well, back in April of last year they were solemnly reassuring us that: "We will be keeping a close eye on this issue."
But since then? Not a peep. Not a squeak. Not so much as a tweet.
Mission Accomplished, I guess?