The PGF pours more millions into the regions (and corporate welfare) – and Seymour is unlikely to stop the flow

Praising NZ First for pulling its support for next year’s tobacco tax hike, Act leader David Seymour suggests Winston Peters’ party should consider opposing a range of other Labour policies.

He also suggests Peters should veto “Shane Jones’ corporate welfare machine”.

“Governments have seldom spent money better than the people who earned it, especially when giving it to businesses. Add in a series of questionable conflicts of interests with Jones’ Provincial Growth Fund, and Peters would be smart to lance the boil before it engulfs him.”

Good luck with that.

The Point of Order Trough Monitor struggles to keep up with the outflow from the PGF, which was mentioned today in a statement from Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage to mark the official opening of the Paparoa Track in Blackball.

The 55km Great Walk is a dual mountain-biking and walking track. Work began under the former government.

It has been enabled by a $12 million government investment to build 41 km of new track to join up 14 km of existing track, two new 20 bunk huts (Moonlight Tops and Pororari) and four major suspension bridges.

The Paparoa Track has been built in conjunction with the Pike29 Memorial Track, which will be opened once the Pike River Recovery Agency has completed efforts to re-enter the Pike River Mine. The site then will be handed back to DOC and work will start to build a memorial to tell the story of mine safety in New Zealand and honour the miners who lost their lives in the 2010 Pike River Mine Disaster.

Sage’s press statement mentions two troughs:

“As well as work done by DOC, the Provincial Growth Fund has funded the Greymouth District Council $3.5m to undertake work to widen the Blackball Road, which leads to the track entrance west of Blackball. The road is being widened from single lane to enable the increase in traffic expected as a result of the new Great Walk.

“The Council has also received more than $600k from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund to develop new public toilets and a public carpark, alongside work to widen roads and improve drainage which the council have funded in the township.

Continue reading “The PGF pours more millions into the regions (and corporate welfare) – and Seymour is unlikely to stop the flow”

Humming Herb Farm business gets $216,000 of nurturing from taxpayers through the PGF

The Herb Farm, a family owned and operated business in the Manawatu, was established in 1993 and – according to its website –  “has grown into a humming business that works in harmony with the environment”.

A Stuff report quotes founder Lynn Kirkland’s daughter Sarah Cowan, who is now the  managing director, with her mother as research and development manager.

The industry might be highly competitive, but Cowan said the company was thriving.

This reiterated mention of the company’s robust corporate health earlier in the report:

A business built on a remedy for a bronchial chest is about to celebrate its 25th year.

When herbalist and founder of the Herb Farm in Ashhurst Lynn Kirkland was looking for natural remedies to keep her family healthy, little did she imagine that a quarter of a century later, the company would be expanding its New Zealand markets, exporting to countries in Asia and eyeing opportunities in Australia and Europe.

Nor (we are sure at Point of Order) would she have imagined being able to borrow money from taxpayers, rather than the bank, to expand her blooming business.

But as we learned this week from Shane Jones, NZ’s Minister of Munificence, the Provincial Growth Fund is giving The Herb Farm a $261,000 helping hand. Continue reading “Humming Herb Farm business gets $216,000 of nurturing from taxpayers through the PGF”

Breaking news: Trump’s economic policies are inconsistent (also Pope admits catholicism)

Amidst the hurly-burly of impeachment, America’s economic policy seems almost a diversion.  A recent assessment by Canadian economist David Henderson provides a pithy summary of Trump’s successes and failures, and in the process raises some interesting questions on how right-of-centre political parties might need to adapt their policies. Continue reading “Breaking news: Trump’s economic policies are inconsistent (also Pope admits catholicism)”

Just in case you missed the Beehive’s news of another PGF handout, a New Zealand First MP announced it, too

The Point of Order Trough Monitor, programmed to alert us to ministerial handouts, nevertheless sounded the alarm when the latest Provincial Growth Fund spending was announced by a politician further down in the pecking order.

Accordingly we have learned that the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has allocated $3.5 million to develop innovative predator control approaches which will reduce the need for repeated 1080 use.

The news was delivered in an embargoed press release from a New Zealand back-bencher, conservation spokeswoman Jenny Marcroft.

Perhaps she was hoping to draw attention from other matters involving her party.

Perhaps she was hoping the media were less likely to miss the announcement if it was made more than once.

Or perhaps she wanted to give greater emphasis to the role the PGF is playing in finding ways of reducing the use of 1080, the most effective way of eradicating pests such as rats and possums but a poison passionately opposed by some environmentalists.

We muse on the second two possibilities because the news was also announced – the official announcement, you could say – by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau.

This announcement (posted on the Beehive website) says – Continue reading “Just in case you missed the Beehive’s news of another PGF handout, a New Zealand First MP announced it, too”

The govt that wouldn’t intervene in land dispute in July is intervening now (but will taxpayers be consulted?)

The Radio New Zealand headline was emphatic – Ihumātao protest: Govt will not intervene, PM says.

Some four months later we can put this into the same political leadership category as Bill Clinton’s equally emphatic “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

The RNZ headline sat atop a July 24 report about Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern’s response to an appeal by one of the leaders of the land protest at Ihumātao, while hundreds of demonstrators and dozens of police officers were at the site.

Pania Newton, the co-founder of Save our Unique Landscape (SOUL), asked Ardern to reserve Ihumātao as a historic place through the use of the public works act.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government would not intervene.

“Ultimately we are falling on the side of the local iwi [who support the housing development] and their position. They are not the ones leading the protest here and so if we come in over the top, it really would be undermining the local iwi in this case.”

Other bigwigs in the government reinforced this: Continue reading “The govt that wouldn’t intervene in land dispute in July is intervening now (but will taxpayers be consulted?)”

The smart way to stop subsidising hateful Chinese propaganda would be to stop subsidising international films

While the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights Commission are examining  whether New Zealand laws properly balance the issues of freedom of speech and hate speech (whatever that might be), taxpayers are helping to finance  Chinese propaganda.

Hateful propaganda, we suggest.

The Screen Production Grant has handed a $243,000 subsidy to a propaganda film produced by Chinese state-owned enterprises.  

The film’s tagline (reportedly) is ‘Anyone who offends China, no matter how remote, must be exterminated.’

One of Sir Peter Jacksons companies is credited (or discredited) with being a beneficiary of the funding, which has been channelled through the Film Commission.

News of this shameful use of public money did not come to us through the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which is triggered by distributions proudly announced by Ministers of the Crown.

And we confess to missing it when it was reported yesterday in an admirable piece of Stuff reportage.    Continue reading “The smart way to stop subsidising hateful Chinese propaganda would be to stop subsidising international films”

Marae at Parihaka Pa to get better broadband while engineering projects are pampered down south

Fresh from sprinkling fairy dust in Taranaki – or rather, redistributing taxpayers’ hard-earned money – Shane Jones headed south and announced a plethora of handouts and investments in Otago.

The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki were the beneficiaries of the first of the latest handouts from the Provincial Growth Fund.  They have been upgraded to high speed broadband with PGF support *.

It has taken a while, but this much-denounced colonisation thing at last is showing glimpses of having a positive side.

Down south, Jones pumped a much bigger sum – almost $20 million – into re-establishing KiwiRail’s Hillside workshop and  almost $8 million into a raft of engineering projects.

Oh, and with a billion trees in mind presumably, $63,000 will be spent on supporting eight 17 and 18 year olds to enter careers in forestry.

And then there’s a $10 million spend “to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years … ”  ** 

But what does this intervention by central government do for the aspirations of other regions which might hope to become the centre of the country’s creative digital industry?

The announcements were all registered by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which reports: Continue reading “Marae at Parihaka Pa to get better broadband while engineering projects are pampered down south”