Taxpayers’ Union objects to government grants for churches


The New Zealand Taxpayer Union objects to grants “from the provincial growth fund” being spent on renovating Pasifika churches.”

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says 27 churches will benefit, as part a 10 million dollar in grants from the Covid-19 response and recovery plan.

“This kind of hyper-targeted spending can only be read as vote-buying. With a growing Debt Monster, now is not the time to fork out millions for church renos,” New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:

“At least previous Provincial Growth Fund recipients have been taxpaying businesses. Churches, however, don’t pay taxes,” Houlbrooke said.

“This is technically a business-as-usual Government announcement but it reads like pure election politics.

In the week that postal voting opens for the election, this is the Government exploiting taxpayer money for the sake of its re-election campaign.”

Former Massey University religious historian Dr Peter Lineham told Chris Lynch on NewstalkZB that he’s never seen anything like it.

“I’ve never before seen government money directly used for renovations to church buildings.”

Lineham says these churches do provide a lot of social care.

“They tend to be strongly connected to particular Pacific nations – effectively becoming a New Zealand-based village.”

On it’s Facebook page the Taxpayers’ Union describes itself as “an independent activist group dedicated to being the voice for Kiwi taxpayers in the corridors of power.”

The  Taxpayers’ Union founding documents with the Register of Incorporated Societies show a blend of Act Party and National Party people.

It was founded by David Farrar and Jordan Williams.

It claims to be politically independent and not aligned to, or intended to develop into a political party.

But becasue the Taxpayers’ Union has ties to a number of right-wing figures from the New Zealand political scene it is regarded  by many as a right-wing pressure group.


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