Taxpayers Union

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Speaker Trevor Mallard’s backdown on the restricted Budget Day lockup.

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “The Government’s plan to limit Budget briefing access to press gallery journalists would have reduced the breadth of analysis available to taxpayers, and helped the Finance Minister to dominate the public messaging.”

“On Thursday we called on the Speaker to produce a contingency plan, allowing for more open access should Budget Day fall in Alert Level 2. Today Treasury confirmed he has agreed to do just that, with spaces for 25 financial analysts and economists being made available should we enter Alert Level 2.”

“While this year’s Budget will still be subject to less scrutiny than previous ones, we’re glad to see the Speaker moved by reason. Taxpayers deserve to hear the perspectives of bank economists, unions, and sector groups alongside the Government’s spin at 2 pm on Thursday.”

Applicants will be informed at 10 am tomorrow whether they have been accepted into the briefing, should it fall under Alert Level 2. The Taxpayers’ Union expects Treasury to publicise the names of successful applicants at this time.