I arrived late Monday night in Wellington, New Zealand. The following morning, I awoke to the view of a sunny hillside littered with picturesque white cottages. I was further delighted on the walk to the office to learn of the proximity of the city centre to the quiet leafy suburb where I am staying.
That morning the office was a buzz with excitement; this excitement had been created by growing media interest about a certain mayoral expense. The Taxpayers’ Union had received a tip-off that a past Wellington City Mayor had requested a tattoo as a leaving gift. The story continued to grow throughout the day, as it was revealed the tattoo requested was one of a hand drawn lizard. Later in the day, the past Mayor released a statement explaining she was particular fond of lizards, in particular, Geckos.
On my first day, I was thrown into the deep end. The Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, another member of staff and myself took to the streets. Our mission was to create a short video highlighting public disgust for the 7.7 million the New Zealand Government had donated to the Clinton Foundation between 2014 and 2016. Jordan approached members of the public by first rattling a tin labeled ‘donate to the Clinton Foundation’. He then asked if they would like to donate? Upon refusal, Jordan asked them how they felt about the taxpayer having already given 7.7 million to the foundation. The video will be used to persuade New Zealanders to sign a petition calling on Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully to veto the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s decision to donate a further 5.5 million this year.
Amid investigation of the Clinton Foundation, the Australian government has pulled their support and ceased further donations.
This week Wellington has thrown some interesting ‘summer’ weather at me. Gusts of up to 160 km/h on the walk home from work on Wednesday provided an insight as to why Wellington is known as ‘The Windy City’.
I am starting to get the impression that a large amount of people here are engaged with the political system. This means there is never a shortage of excitement inside the Taxpayers’ Union office. I look forward to the next big tip-off we receive and the media buzz that may bring!