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.”

And Kiwirail is one of the biggest corporate bludgers getting even more cash for their failed business model:

“Another Budget another huge cheque from the taxpayer for KiwiRail”, saysTaxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams reacting to today’s $190.2 million capital injection into KiwiRail announced in Budget 2016.

“When National was elected they developed a ‘turn round plan’ so KiwiRail would stop coming cap in hand for hundreds of millions every year.  That plan failed, and the Government now has no plan whatsoever for KiwiRail to stand on its own two feet.”

“The amount spent on and written off by KiwiRail amounts to $3.4 billion since this Government was elected in 2008.  That is enough to have paid for return flights to London for every New Zealander.”

“Only politicians would throw good money after bad trying to breath life into a 19th century technology, when driverless cars and trucks are on the horizon.”

The welfare just keeps on flowing to Maori too:

The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the Government’s “Innovate New Zealand” initiative, as announced in Budget 2016, as growing the Government’s regime of corporate welfare.

Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, Jordan Williams, says “While we all applaud the extra money for core science research and education, ‘Innovate New Zealand’ includes more than one hundred million dollars of new corporate welfare grants schemes covering regional, IT and digital start-ups.  It’s the definition of governments trying to pick winners.”

The Union is particularly scathing about the announced $4 million “Maori Innovation Fund”. Mr Williams says, “It is bad enough that the Government is using taxpayer money for corporate welfare but it’s now spending that money based on the skin colour of shareholders.”

It is also raising concerns with a new focus on small business and regional economic corporate welfare, “Taxpayers will be alarmed that National are now expanding corporate welfare from big business into the small businesses backbone of the economy.”

“There is nothing innovative about corporate welfare, no matter what the politicians label it.”

David Seymour is right, if we didn’t have all this corporate welfare, and axed Kiwirail every taxpayer would receive a substantial reduction int heir taxes.

I’m not comfortable with all of this but that said it certainly would be better than under Labour, who will no doubt oppose every budget measure and want to spend even more.


– Act Party, Taxpayers Union


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  • cows4me

    Corporate welfare can do more harm than good. Just like farm subsidies it just lessens the productive potential for bussiness because the said business rides on the back of the taxpayer. Of course the government are in many ways stuck between a rock and a hard place when we have the insane political system of MMP, where the sane have to dance to the tune of the insane, Kiwi rail being a good example . I wonder how many houses for the poor could be built for 3 billion but of course the socialist loons, the sharing and caring sort, just love their choo cho trains.

  • Andy

    David Seymour is being quite canny here, and appealing to my US style of conservatism that, I believe, can draw people in from the left who have felt they are being betrayed at the expense of big business