corporate welfare

Professional sports team gets millions in corporate welfare

Steve Joyce’s personal slush fund, Callaghan Innovation, has handed professional sports team TeamNZ potentially millions in corporate welfare.

Team New Zealand has received a handy financial boost through the awarding of a government research and development grant.

The Kiwi syndicate has been selected to receive Callaghan Innovation Growth Grant – the same scheme that has assisted Emirates Team NZ’s key rivals and America’s Cup holders Oracle Team USA. Oracle’s Warkworth-based boat-building operations, Core Builder Composites, was confirmed as a recipient of the grant in August 2014.

The grant gives taxpayer funding of 20 per cent of its R&D spend, up to a maximum of $5m for three years, plus GST. Companies can therefore get theoretical maximum funding of $17.25m.   Read more »

Steve Joyce’s troughing fund wants its money back from Gameloft

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Steve Joyce’s little jaunt with corporate welfare has cost the taxpayer and now they are hoping to claw it back.

The multinational video gaming company that has closed down its Auckland branch, putting 150 people out of work, was receiving $3.5 million in government grants.

Paris company Gameloft grew quickly in New Zealand after setting up in Auckland 10 years ago, to three times the size the industry expected, but has decided to pull out.

The maker of My Little Pony and a Despicable Me video game was capitalised at $700 million dollars and is the biggest single gaming employer in the country.

Crown agency Callaghan Innovation this afternoon suspended its grants.   Read more »

Another corporate welfare bludger disappears with $15 million in taxpayer funding [UPDATED]

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Back in 2013 John Key was waxing lyrical about Gameloft.

It’ll be three years this August since French game development company Gameloft first set up its studio in Auckland. To celebrate the upcoming birthday, along with some impressive user milestones for its major titles, Prime Minister John Key was invited along to a shindig at Gameloft’s loft in Parnell this morning.

Key praised the game studio for its work in the burgeoning game development industry, saying Gameloft and companies like it are helping create a mini-Silicon Valley in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister congratulated Gameloft’s particular success with its three children’s titles Wonder Zoo (6 million players), Littlest Pet Shop (9 million players), and My Little Pony (10 million players). This reporter is unashamed to admit he had himself a good chuckle hearing the PM say “My Little Pony”.

Looking around the room of developers and designers, almost 60 percent of whom are recent immigrants to the country, Key said immigration is important for encouraging the growth of technology companies in New Zealand. Key once again points to the Silicon Valley, where immigration is a common recruitment tool.  He adds that National is a pro-immigration party, encouraging skilled workers to bring their talents to the country.

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What makes farmers so special? Isn’t that what banks are for?

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy will meet with drought-stricken farmers today, to announce an extension of support.

Despite recent rain, many farmers are still struggling and worried about coming conditions.

“The rain is great for boosting moral, it’s great for getting crops started, however it doesn’t take too many days of a warm, dry wind to get us back to ground zero,” says Federated Farmers Otago president Phill Hunt.

Farmers are now having to make some difficult decisions, he says.

“A number of farmers that I’ve spoken to are beginning to sell capital stock just in preparation of the coming winter. They’ve used their reserves over the last 12 months and realised now it’s too late to build anything up.”

Mr Hunt says if they don’t get more rain, the next few months will be particularly difficult. Read more »

Another of Steve Joyce’s chosen corporate bludgers goes under costing the taxpayer

Steve Joyce loves corporate welfare, thankfully one of his chosen recipients didn’t seem to like it that much, but still managed to burn $1.4 million of taxpayer cash.

After Mako collapsed, owing Spark $26 million and a total $30 million in debt, one minor shareholder asked NBR, “How do you lose $30 million?”

He wondered, darkly, what had become of a $4.3 million research and development grant from the Ministry of Science and Innovation (later absorbed into Callaghan Innovation) in 2011

The surprising answer: not much.

“Mako drew down only $1.4 million of the available funding,” Callaghan chief financial officer told NBR on Friday afternoon.    Read more »

Why is the tax payer picking up part of this private company’s bill?

Nick for Nelson

The Port of Nelson has revenues of $46 million, and a net profit after taxation of $7.6 million. On top of that it paid a dividend to its shareholders of $4.2 million.

Yet for some reason this corporate bludger has its hand out for government cash.

The Government is to give $200,000 towards a study on how to clean up an area at Port Nelson which is considered one of New Zealand’s most toxic sites.

Minister for the Environment Nick Smith says the Calwell Slip, which is contaminated from chemicals used in ship maintenance since the 1970s, ranks among the Government’s top clean-up priorities.   Read more »

Good money after bad on Kiwirail

The government was thinking about shutting down major chunks of the rail network in a bid to stop bleeding cash on a failed rail system.

For some reason though government ministers Bill English, Simon Bridges and Todd McClay all showed they are closet socialists arguing for continued funding of Kiwirail despite a continuation of their sea of red ink.

Closure of the entire KiwiRail freight network was an option if the company didn’t get more public funding earlier this year.

Bill English, Simon Bridges and Todd McClay presented a paper to Cabinet earlier this year arguing for continued financial support of KiwiRail, but outlined big challenges KiwiRail faced.

The finance, transport and state-owned enterprises ministers said a nine-month KiwiRail review showed the rail business faced two main options.

One was to retain most of the network and cut back unprofitable services on the network fringes.

The second option was to “close most or all of the freight network” with the option of retaining the upper North Island section only.

The northern section, Auckland to Hamilton to Tauranga, carried the biggest freight volumes and covered most of the network’s costs.

Passenger rail services in Auckland and Wellington were never in doubt.

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One of Steve Joyce’s corporate welfare darlings is making headlines

Rocket Lab is a US company, but in all publicity here in New Zealand, especially when it is about their corporate welfare they are described as a Auckland based company.

The reality is different, even Bloomberg knows they are a US company.

New Zealand, known for breathtaking scenery and fine wine, will add one more claim to fame when it becomes home to the world’s first commercial space-launch site later this year.

A U.S. company, Rocket Lab plans to build a base on New Zealand’s South Island from which to loft small satellites into low orbit. The goal is to increase the pace and affordability of sending up imaging and communication gear used for services including weather monitoring, natural disaster management and crop surveillance.

“Creating and operating our own launch site is a necessity to meet the demands of our growing customer manifest,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Beck said Wednesday. “With the launch frequency possible from this site, Rocket Lab is one major step closer to its goal of making space commercially accessible.”    Read more »

John Key’s government addicted to corporate welfare

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A government grant for a spa pool on Rotorua’s lakefront is being described as corporate welfare of the worst kind.

Prime Minister John Key announced the $350,000 grant on Wednesday, saying it would help meet the cost of the World Spa complex.

The money is coming from the tourism growth fund.

Spending watchdog the Taxpayers’ Union says the grant will be given to Pukeroa Lakefront Holdings, a commercial arm of Ngati Whakaue.

“This is taxpayer money going to build a spa in Rotorua,” said executive director Jordan Williams.

“That’s not innovation, it’s corporate welfare of the worst kind.”

Free money.  The government has  a little $8m slush fund that companies in Tourism can apply to have their share of.   Here are the list of project that have succeeded in getting no-strings-attached free taxpayers’ money to boost their bottom lines:   Read more »

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 »