WTA Chairman’s Update #1

Section: Letter from the Chairman / WTA Blog
3 June 2019


Dear WTA members, observers and friends:

It is a great privilege to write my first message to you as the new Chairman and President of the World Taxpayers Associations. After a fantastic meeting in Sydney, I take over the role from Troy Lanigan, who you will all know or be aware of.

I approach the role with great excitement. It’s an honour to have been selected to head the WTA by voting members. But I admit that I also approach it with a little trepidation; Troy has been – and still is – a giant in the taxpayer movement and I would be happy to achieve half of what he has. Fortunately for me, Troy stays on with us, sitting on the executive committee. His advice and friendship will continue to be invaluable, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for 26 years of tireless service to the taxpayer movement both in Canada and across the world.

I’d like to also thank Troy’s predecessor, Staffan Wennberg, who has been a source of constant support to the WTA and more recently to me specifically.

Present and Former Chairs of WTA: John O’Connell, Staffan Wennberg and Troy Lanigan

Of course, eternal thanks must go to our founders Bjorn Tarras-Wahlberg, Rolf von Hohenhau and the late David Stanley for getting the WTA started in the first place.

I was delighted to meet so many of you in Sydney, as well as reconnect with old friends. It is inspiring to hear about the work you are doing in your home countries and we will continue to support that work over the next few years.

I want to make sure we reach every continent – and with recent events in Asia and South America, we’re very keen to host a regional forum in Africa, when we can. If you are from an African group and might be interested in hosting something, do get in touch.

In the meantime, there is one event that we definitely know is happening. During the Sydney meeting, it was decided that the 18th World Taxpayers Conference will be in Paris, France. That event will be in 2021, so we will send more details in due course. Thank you to Eudes Baufreton and his team at Contribuables Associés for volunteering to host – and many congratulations.

Some other housekeeping notes from the Sydney meeting – we welcome three new members of the Board:

  • Scott Hennig, President and CEO, Canadian Taxpayers Federation (Canada)
  • David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance (USA)
  • Jordan Williams, Executive Director, Taxpayers’ Union (New Zealand)

Furthermore, Staffan Wennberg joins the Advisory Council, as does Tim Andrews. Tim set up the Australian Taxpayers Alliance and hosted us in Sydney for a truly stunning event. Thank you to Tim and his team for all of their help in Sydney.

So with that, I would like to say hello to you all – please do get in touch with me if you have any thoughts, questions or advice. Our wonderful Secretary General, Cristina Berechet, is the best point of contact for practical matters, and you can message her on: cristinaberechet@worldtaxpayers.org
I’ll be in touch again soon and hope to update you on how we intend to build on Tory’s strategic plan and continue growing this truly global network.

Best wishes,
John O’Connell
Chair, World Taxpayers Associations
Chief Executive, TaxPayers’ Alliance
E-mail | john.oconnell@worldtaxpayers.org