corporate welfare

Is Steve Joyce all steam and no hangi?

via ZDNet

via ZDNet

…there is a suspicion among some in the Beehive that Mr Joyce is all press statement.

Even the Prime Minister recently seemed to enjoy repeating a Radio host’s comment that Joyce was the Minister of everything while Bill English did everything.

So it was with some anticipation among MPs that Mr Joyce last Thursday fronted up before the Commerce Committee for its annual interrogation of him on the activities of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

There is something that Steve is good at, and that’s giving away our hard-earned money, mostly to businesses that are already profitable. Where the money is really needed, like the regions, is getting further scrutiny.  Read more »

Seymour on budget waste and corporate welfare

David Seymour has used his Sunday Star-Times column to highlight some of Steve Joyce’s wasteful corporate welfare.

It’s Budget week and the message from National is the same as the past six years: no tax cuts.  Labour, meanwhile, want tax increases.

So, what better time to look at some government spending and simply ask: “Why?”  Surely, some of this money would be better spent on health, or education – or simply given back to people, so they can invest in businesses, their families, their communities, and themselves.

First up is the $56 million-a-year Marsden Fund, which bankrolls select ‘academic’ research.  Some of the science topics look kind of interesting, but what do New Zealand taxpayers really gain from funding research on Cultivating chamber music in Beethoven’s Vienna: a study in socio-musicology ($580,000); or anti-trade activist Jane Kelsey’s Transcending embedded neoliberalism in international economic regulation ($600,000); or Missing narratives of modern Chinese intellectual history: modernity and writings on art, 1900-1930 ($495,000)?

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Budget continues Steve Joyce’s corporate welfare regime

It is hard to get away form the impression that today’s budget was more about corporate welfare than anything else.

ACT’s press release says:

Funding for $761 million in corporate welfare via ‘Innovative New Zealand’ is an insult to taxpayers, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Bill English needs to ‘just say no’ to Steven Joyce’s corporate welfare addiction,” says Mr Seymour.

“There is no public appetite for hand-outs to businesses. There is no pressure from the opposition or the media. So who’s been pouring poison into Steven Joyce’s ear?

“The Government could have simply used these funds to drop the company tax rate. This would help all New Zealand businesses – not just those that are politically trendy.

“This spending comes on top of the Government’s existing $1.3 billion annual corporate welfare spend.”

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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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