Tip-line to expose 'waste and extravagance' opens

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 30/10/2013

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A new think-tank is to open a whistleblowers' tip-line for bureaucrats to expose "government waste and extravagance".

The Taxpayers Union starts today, loosely based on the UK's Taxpayers Alliance, as a "grassroots" campaign to lower taxes.

The group says it wants to "give Kiwi taxpayers a stronger voice in the corridors of power".

With its online hotline, it aims to encourage political and government insiders to reveal examples of government waste and extravagance. It vows to guarantee anonymity, but the Public Service Association has advised members to tread carefully.

Taxpayers Union chairman John Bishop said it wanted to promote sensible fiscal management. "Government, politicians and taxpayer-funded groups are on notice that we are looking to expose waste or rorts," he said.

The group says it is politically independent, though Right-wing blogger David Farrar is on its board and National-aligned lawyer Jordan Williams is its executive director.

Mr Williams said the union would "ensure that at least one group is looking after hard-working Kiwis whose taxes pay for politicians' promises."

The pressure group is also lobbying for a US-style "Armchair Auditors" Act, allowing for public scrutiny of government spending through an online database.

It will push for local referendums on rates rises and strengthening the Official Information Act.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie said his agency was "happy to engage with any community group that has a politically non-partisan mission to promote value for money".

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