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.? ??

Regarding the trade-off between lower company tax rates and the Government?s favoured corporate welfare schemes, Jordan Williams, Executive Director of Taxpayers? Union?says:

?Mr Joyce points to a mass of literature on the merits of lower company taxes versus targeted business incentives. He fails to acknowledge that the bulk of that literature finds lower company tax rates to be?superior to the government picking winners and bailing out losers?.

?If Mr Joyce is to claim that his corporate welfare is creating a ?stronger, more resilient, more diversified and more internationally connected New Zealand economy?, he must front up with evidence of real success, rather than rely on rhetoric about the good things he hopes to do. Claiming that there are untapped opportunities out there, somewhere,?is not evidence that the Government has the capacity to seize these opportunities?in a cost-effective manner.

?We repeat our call for the Productively Commission to emulate the good work its Australian equivalent in producing annual reports that track corporate welfare spending.?

In my opinion you can get away with blaming a previous government for about one and half terms. Once you get past two terms it is intellectually lazy to blame the ills of your government on the actions of a government from three elections ago.

Kiwirail should have been ditched long ago.

Now that Simon Bridges is looking at driverless vehicles perhaps we could ditch the rail lines and run driverless trucks in?the?corridor instead.


– Taxpayers’ Union