Steve Joyce is on a tax payer money giveaway rampage

Far from being a careful steward with our money, Joyce is being exposed as a bit of a spendthrift

Taxpayers will pay $1.9 million to bankroll the next two New Zealand Open golf tournaments despite the predicted economic return falling well short of the requirement for such a large investment of public money.

The Major Events Development Fund investment requires a return of $4.50 for each dollar handed out. The 2012 and 2013 golf tournaments, which received taxpayer contributions totalling $1.15 million, returned $2.55 for each dollar received, documents obtained by the Herald under the Official Information Act show.

The projected returns for the 2015 and 2016 events are in a briefing for Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce.

But the figures have been blacked out in the version given to the Herald. The report does state that the expected returns “are lower than those that would be expected at the requested level of investment”.

Mr Joyce said the projected return was “just one of the things that is taken into consideration”.

Tax payers shouldn’t be propping up rich people.   What is it with the Government and sports like the America’s Cup and the NZ Golf Open?  Both of these attract extremely wealthy players, syndicates, companies and individuals, yet they think nothing of coming to the tax payer money trough and helping themselves.

The general justification is that there is some “economic benefit” to the tax payer that, it is assumed, exceeds the money we put in.  It is also assumed this “economic benefit” comes back to the tax payers rather than the pockets of the event organisers, their sponsors and the players.

What is it with politicians, and more specifically, Steve Joyce, that causes them to hand out the cash even when the final justification – economic benefit – can’t be made?

It’s a rort, and the message should go to Joyce that voters don’t care about the Golf Open.  Not to the point where we put our hard earned taxes behind people that earn more in a month than most of us do in a year.

Let’s be clear here:  just like Sky City, the NZ Gold Open and the America’s Cup are business.  They are in the business of sport, but they are still business receiving tax payer handouts.

Let them set up a Give A Little campaign and see if they can get the money from their audience.


– Steve Deane, NZ Herald


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  • cows4me

    Sounds like third term rot is setting in, they need to be reminded that a party usually doesn’t win an election the other side loses it.

  • dgrogan

    Excellent. On that basis, it will be a lot harder for the Government to turn down a few more million for ETNZ’s AC35 Challenge.

  • Souvlaki

    It certainly looks like they are on the way out unless they pull their finger out ! I would classify myself as staunchly “right”….if they are burning off supporters such as myself….they wont need a focus group to tell them they’re heading down the gurgler !

  • Alright

    This is pocket money compared to the $9 million MFAT (taxpayer) bill we have had to pay for hosting a UN conference for delegates earlier this year. It included chartering a cruise ship for four days! The Taxpayers Union has blown the whistle on this rort.

  • Don W

    Maybe it is time that politicians keen to spend other peoples money should have to put up their own assets as collateral so they have to lose if they make bad decisions when spending taxpayers money. But then I suppose they would just put their assets into a trust, But they already do that don’t they.

  • JAFA Gazza

    Fail to see why we, as tax payers, should prop up the financials t allow rich people to enjoy a day out at the golf. Exactly what do we – the average Joe get in return? What do I get in return? “Economic Benefit” is a catch call dump bucket that the government uses when they feel they cant – or wont- justify their investment decisions. Its basicaly mates of mates helping out with the return being free tickets and a snout in the hospitality tent trough.

    • Don W

      And the tax payer is forced to take the risk.

    • Rick H

      Perhaps we tax payers will be allowed free entry and as much as we can drink in the hospitality tents. – – – -NOT

  • Steve (North Shore)

    I wish I could play Golf, actually I wish I had the time to play Golf. Nah, I wish I had the time to even learn to play Golf, unfortunately I am too busy working and paying Taxes

  • Platinum Fox

    The fundamental reason that the NZ Golf Open needs a grant is that the governing body has been seduced by Mr M Hill to play the tournament on his course where there is a huge (not) population interested in attending! It scarcely rates as a spectator event due to its location. I recall that large crowds thronged the course each of the most recent times it was held in the Auckland region, many of them club golfers with their children.
    If NZ Golf is serious about promoting golf as a participation sport it needs to bring the open to the largest market on a regular basis. Otherwise, golf clubs will continue down the path of falling membership and straitened times that bowling clubs are experiencing.

  • LabTested

    I was passing through Queenstown during the 2014 golf open. There was maybe an hour when golfers were trying to hit as BMW sign in the lake, apart from that you would not know it was on.

    .and Q-town was completely full with young European tourists anyway. So who benefits Mr Joyce?

  • Brian of Mt Wellington

    If these organisations can’t afford to put the competition on then just forget it. Stop getting money from the taxpayers. The old saying that we get more back than we put in is old hat. Fund it yourself or get someone else & not the Govt.

  • Michael_l_c

    So Michael Hill is short of $1.9m. Sorry he is a multi millionaire. The people taking part are wealthy. So what is going on?
    JK plays golf, any link?
    Another bad news release just b4 Xmas.
    I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

    • I.M Bach

      It smells a bit like Helen and the arts.

  • viking

    Golf is a dying sport. Grounds are being closed and sold for housing all round the world including in Auckland.

    Why should the taxpayer fund mens play. Now if Obama was playing then maybe it would do NZ some good with the right PR but…..

  • Coffee Connoisseur

    Yes but it could garner them significant a significant donation from Michael Hill nearer the next election.