corporate welfare

Steve Joyce just loves giving money to rich people

No sooner have the public scuttled Grant Dalton’s bid for our tax dollars, and Steve Joyce gives a stack load to a company that almost exclusively contracts for Oracle’s America’s Cup racing program.

They say in comedy timing is everything, and after the revelation Oracle Team USA’s Warkworth based boat builders are receiving a government hand out all you can do is laugh.

The punch line is that it comes just days after John Key reiterated that he isn’t prepared to continue his government’s investment in Emirates Team New Zealand, leaving their future in doubt.

The headlines for the original story may have been a little misleading – the funding is not directly for Oracle – but it’s definitely not a good look to be aiding the opposition when the home team is struggling.

Core Builders Composites have built Oracle’s America’s Cup boats since their 2003 challenge and has received the grant for research and development.

That R&D will either be to create a better boat for Oracle to defend the America’s Cup in 2017, or maybe one of Core Builders other big projects like disco balls.

It might not be the only work Core Builders does, but some say 80 percent of the work done in Warkworth is for Oracle.

The company has been described as Larry Ellison’s plaything. Read more »

We’d have a surplus if Key and Joyce didn’t keep splurging on corporate welfare

John Key has announced in a pre-budget speech $80 million more of corporate welfare.

The Taxpayers’ Union is predictably upset.

The Taxpayers’ Union is shocked that the Government is wasting the last $80 million of the ‘Future Investment Fund’ on corporate welfare through Callaghan Innovation’s ‘R&D grants’.

“This is corporate welfare under the guise of ‘innovation’,” says Taxpayers’ UnionExecutive Director, Jordan Williams. “The fund was meant for health, education and infrastructure, not hand outs to private business.”

“Callaghan Innovation gives money to private businesses that pocket the returns. As Sam Morgan has previously pointed out, the main “R&D” component of the grants is the creation of a whole industry who write proposals so companies can cash in.”  Read more »

Team New Zealand AND Auckland Council? What could possibly go wrong?

Team New Zealand’s bid to host the America’s Cup qualifiers has hit a further snag, with crisis meetings held yesterday over problems with the proposed locations for the team bases.

An announcement confirming Auckland had secured the qualifying regatta in early 2017 was originally planned for yesterday but has been pushed back to next week as Team NZ try to put some distance between the fallout over Dean Barker’s axing.

In the meantime, Auckland Council bodies are struggling to agree on the waterfront locations to house the team bases after the preferred site at Westhaven Marina was found to be unsuitable within the short timeframe.

Plans to build a causeway between the end of Westhaven Drive and a seawall in two stages have encountered geotechnical and practical problems.

The first stage of building the causeway and starting repairs on the seawall is sufficient to accommodate two syndicate bases, but completing the second stage to accommodate three more syndicate bases is estimated to cost an unbudgeted $10 million to $15 million.

Team New Zealand manage to suck more money out of the tax (rate) payers after all.  On the good side, this is only for Auckland victims.  Until Steve Joyce figures out how to repackage his corporate welfare deal.   Read more »

ATEED now funding tickets to exclusive golf tournaments

Len Brown’s council and subsidiaries are out of control, but none more so than ATEED which is facing several scandals at once.

Their plans to create mini embassies around the world has met with strong opposition but now it seems they are adding corporate welfare for rich golfers to their ambit.

The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that Auckland Council’s economic development agency, ATEED, has gifted $50,000 of ratepayer money to the Remuera Golf Club for the Holden PGANZ Championship. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“Auckland Council claims to have no money, but finds $50,000 spare to give a hand-out to Auckland’s richest golf club. They might label it ‘economic development’ but how is this a priority over roads, rail and housing?”

The Taxpayers’ Union was alerted to the funding through a Council social media competition offering ratepayers ten tickets to the event.

“The ten tickets are probably all ratepayers are ever going to see of the $50,000,” says Mr Williams.

In responding to questions put by the Taxpayers’ Union, ATEED, the Council’s economic development agency, has indicated that a project sharing agreement is in place whereby the Council receive 50% of any profits over and above $150,000 generated by the event.

“Officials are trying to have it both ways by claiming that the grant is not a hand-out to sport, rather an ‘investment’. When it flops, they’ll no doubt then call it a tourism expense.”

“If anyone really thinks this is a genuine investment that will make a good return to ratepayers, we’ve got a bridge to sell you.”

The documentation released by ATEED to the Taxpayers’ Union is available at taxpayers.org.nz

Read more »

Government caught providing more corporate welfare

There is a bit of a beat-up about it from the Herald based on a Tax Payers’ Union press release because the company that received free taxpayer money also folded, but that’s not relevant.  Why did they get it at all?

New Zealand’s biggest off-site housing manufacturer, which owes creditors $17.5 million, received a $287,500 Government grant before Prime Minister John Key opened its Kumeu factory.

Jordan Williams, executive director of lobby group the Taxpayers Union, discovered the money was paid three years ago to eHome Global (NZ), now eHome NZ, in receivership.

He wants to know more about why that grant was given and how it was used.

The money came from the Ministry of Science and Innovation on December 5, 2012, because eHome had “a manufacturing process and construction techniques for conventional homes using panelised components”, the ministry said.

The ministry’s functions have now been taken over by Callaghan Innovation and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Key opened eHome’s big factory in 2013.

Kumeu is of course rather close to home for John Key.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it doesn’t help the look.   Read more »

Why is Steve Joyce so keen to keep giving taxpayer money to businesses?

via ZDNet

via ZDNet

Here we go again.  Team New Zealand appear to have stuck out their hand and were told to not be so bloody greedy and were sent back to ensure they gave Joyce something he could squeeze past Bill English and the population in general.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce refused to confirm the funding yesterday, but repeated his claim that if New Zealand was confirmed as a venue for the qualifiers “that would make us much more interested in sponsoring the team”.

America’s Cup organisers reportedly made that decision this week, telling teams but waiting until next month to make an official announcement. The delay is understood to be for the Government to finalise its funding. Team NZ has said it would struggle to mount a challenge without it. Read more »

Why are we giving a hand out to a profitable company?

The worst welfare bludgers of all are corporate welfare bludgers.

They should know better, and if they can’t make money without the government hand-outs they should close.

It is even more ridiculous when the bludgers are extremely profitable companies like SkyCity.

They made a truck load of money in the last six months, yet are still wandering around sticking their hand out.

SkyCity Entertainment Group has increased its December half-yearly profit slightly, making $66.6 million normalised net profit after tax, up on its previous $66.4 million.

Read more »

Government clamping down on wrong sort of bludgers

The other day the DomPost ran a piece on corporate welfare.

I’ve only just now had time to blog about it.

Spongers and parasites the lot of them. While decent Kiwi battlers get stuck in and work hard to earn their keep, this bunch are always on the take for someone else’s tax dollars.

Government programmes are supposed to be there to help the less fortunate – a safety net for the needy. But there are always a few who think they can play the system and take the rest of us for mugs. Millions of dollars goes to waste on these buggers while kids go hungry. It’s a bloody disgrace.

Chalkie reckons it’s time we stopped pussyfooting around with these companies and gave them a short, sharp shock.

You want examples? Chalkie will give you examples.

Chalkie does give examples, loads of them and lots of detail in the piece but below is the conclusion.    Read more »

Taxpayers’ Union slams Joyce for his expanded corporate welfare programme

Since the opposition is asleep at the wheel the job of holding a spendthrift government to account falls upon the shoulders of the Taxpayers’ Union.

They are holding Steven Joyce to account for his expanded corporate welfare programme.

Responding to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce’s defence of corporate welfare, Jim Rose, the author of Monopoly Money, a Taxpayers Union report on corporate welfare since 2008, says:

“Mr Joyce defends over $3 billion in subsidies to KiwiRail and Solid Energy under his watch by saying that they are state owned. Bailouts are not the role of ministers as shareholders. Since 1986, state-owned enterprises have had a statutory duty to operate as a successful business and to be as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses not owned by the Crown. The whole idea of the State Owned Enterprises Act 1986 was to bring an end to bailouts and permanent deficits.”

“Instead of putting a failed business in the hands of receivers, Mr Joyce defends throwing good money after bad by blaming the previous government for buying KiwiRail. That was three elections ago. Elections are supposed to count for something. $3 billion in taxpayers’ money cannot be handed out in subsidies with ministers bobbing and weaving about responsibility for the amount and wisdom involved. The Treasury Benches come with a full ministerial responsibility for every single dollar of taxpayers’ money spent under your watch.”    Read more »

For once I agree with Sam Morgan, but he’s a bludging hypocrite himself

Sam Morgan has taken a swipe at the Government’s ongoing corporate welfare via the Callaghan Fund and sparked a stoush with Steven Joyce the minister responsible for handing out the welfare.

TradeMe founder Sam Morgan has called the Government’s research and development policy a “subsidy for private investors” during a cut-and-thrust social media exchange with Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

The Government yesterday announced its Callaghan Innovation had awarded a further $32 million over three years to 22 high tech companies under the Research and Development Growth Grants scheme.

The latest companies come from a wide range of industries from aviation to horticulture and include two companies that floated in the past year – online travel software company Serko and software company GeoOp.

News of the grants prompted Morgan, an entrepreneur who has been involved with a number of grant recipients in the past, to take to social networking site Twitter and say taxpayers were “giving free money to publicly listed tech companies to benefit wealthy tech investors”.

“Serko. Good company. Just raised lots of money on NZX. No constraint on raising more capital. Successful grant recipient. Unnecessary,” Morgan said.    Read more »