Vic Crone dumber than bag of hammers

The Taxpayers’ Union has published another of their annual ‘corporate welfare’ post-budget reports, “Socialism for the Rich”.  It finds that corporate welfare now costs taxpayers $1.6 per year (or $931 per household).

As usual, Callaghan Innovation is cited as an example of ‘picking winners’ with other people’s money.  But let’s be honest, with Callaghan Innovation’s CEO being the hopeless former Auckland Mayoral candidate, Vic Crone, and her giving money to Oracle racing, better to admit that they “pick losers”.

“Instead of rewarding profitable businesses with an across the board tax cut, these subsidies pick winners by directing subsidies to businesses that cannot keep afloat on their own.”

“Budget 2017 has allocated $294 million to commercialising science and innovation. In the past, the Government has directed investment at ‘public good’ science – research and development that has low commercial viability. Now, funding is going towards trying to commercialise technologies in the private sector. It’s socialised costs for privatised profits.”

“A further $148 million is going towards subsidising the film industry, $12 million less than the last budget. Since 2008, $997 million of taxpayer funds have been spent trying to attract the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.”

“The largest recipient of taxpayer funded corporate welfare is KiwiRail. The latest budget has allocated $396 million to KiwiRail, a 50% increase on the previous year. KiwiRail has now received more than $4 billion in taxpayer handouts since 2008 despite being valued as a $1.5 billion liability.”

I’m not convinced that Kiwirail is corporate welfare, but with no plan to stop it bleeding money, and annual ‘bail outs’ in the hundreds of millions, the union has a point in calling it all into question.

“Corporate welfare is not only a waste of taxpayer money but also counterproductive. Look at Emirates Team New Zealand. Removing the direct corporate welfare saw Team New Zealand bring home the Auld Mug. Forcing private businesses to compete on their own footing, rather than rely on government handouts, will inspire competition and innovation. On the other hand, corporate welfare slows down the boat.”

It wasn’t the lack of taxpayer money which helped ETNZ in Bermuda, it was not having the whole National Party caucus popping over for visits, like in San Francisco.

Showing all the political judgment of a dropped pie, yesterday Vic Crone jumped in and did an NBR radio interview to try and discredit the Taxpayer Union.  Only trouble is she admitted twice in the interview, that she hadn’t even bothered to read the report she’d agreed to be interviewed about.

No doubt theCallaghan comms team are running around like headless chooks with their CEO getting into a political scrap less than three months out from an election  – a clear breach of the duties of political neutrality.  Remember that ACT and Labour have basically pledged to scrap Callaghan.  Vic will no doubt have had a call to pull her head in if she wants to keep the job.

Imagine the delight at the Taxpayer Union offices listening to Vic Crone’s cluserf**k of an interview:

Vic Crone “responds” to report she has not read

29 JUNE 2017

Callaghan Innovation’s head, Vic Crone, would be more authoritative in defending her corporate welfare empire if she bothered to actually read the reports she is giving interviews on in the media.

Earlier today, the Taxpayers’ Union released its fourth annual report tracking corporate welfare, but Vic Crone is so desperate to defend her patch she told NBR radio twice that she hadn’t even read the report to which she was “responding” to.

Mac Mckenna, an economist at the Taxpayers’ Union, says, “What a totally arrogant approach by Callaghan Innovation. They take our money, throw it at hand-picked businesses, and don’t even read the reports they want to criticise in the media.”

“When media call the Taxpayers’ Union asking for comment on a report, we at least take the time to read it. Apparently, that’s not necessary at Callaghan Innovation.”

“If Ms Crone won’t read our report, maybe she should read the recent report by Paula Rebstock, which concluded Callaghan Innovation is suffering from ‘weak management’ and is ‘struggling internally’.”


“Vic Crone says that Callaghan Innovation doesn’t ‘pick winners’ because it applies ‘set criteria’ in their grant giving. These bureaucrats pretend their criteria are from some Archimedean point, that they possess some holy insights markets lack.”

All of the Taxpayers’ Union reports on corporate welfare are available at Hard copies will be delivered to Ms Crone’s office today.

As much as I’ve mocked the Taxpayer Union for some of their silly campaigns, I’ve got to take my hat off to them for getting a supposed ‘leader’ in the civil service to take the bait. With this sort of judgement, thank God she didn’t make it to Mayor.  Now let’s see how long the State Services Commissioner takes to make an example of her for letting her politics into her job.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.