Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

$80 million handout “well-deserved”?!


$80 million handout “well-deserved”?!

Wed, Jan 23 2013

The National Business Review trumpeted Government’s announcement of a $80 million commitment to irrigation schemes in the next Budget with this headline:

‘Well-deserved’ $80m for irrigation

The “well-deserved” quote was from Irrigation NZ chairman, John Donkers. The article continued: “The money will pave the way for dams on main rivers in Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay, Tasman, and Otago.”

And here all this time we thought a rather important resource consent still needed to be submitted and approved for the CHB dam to proceed. Of course the decision on whether or not to approve will be made by a Government (i.e., politically)-appointed Board of Inquiry. Perhaps the Board won’t yet have heard that Hawke’s Bay is already on the approved Government subsidy list.

The HBRC’s shonky process throughout its dam advocacy is a story that builds by the day. Indeed, the word today in Hawke’s Bay was that HBRC senior players were huddling to come up with a way to force farmers in CHB to take up the dam scheme. It gets increasingly embarrassing to HBRC when ungrateful CHB farmers don’t see the wisdom in the scheme.

But I digress.

In this post, I merely want to challenge the presumption that an irrigation subsidy to farmers is “well-deserved”.

Why do they say “well-deserved”? Presumably because it will magically create jobs (mostly for Filipinos; Maori job creation as promised by HBRC is a myth) and economic growth in Hawke’s Bay.
This is the claim governments — large and small, national and local, all over the world — make whenever they want to justify a corporate hand-out. But the hand-outs fail to deliver more often than not. The claimed pay-offs are always inflated, and the political/bureaucratic perpetrators are long gone by the time the day of reckoning arrives.

So, why a water subsidy for farmers?

Why not subsidise electricity for Watties or PanPac or Cranford or Bay Espresso?

Why not subsidise aluminium and plastic for Furnware or bottles for Wineworks?

Why not subsidise free shipping through the port of Napier?

Why not subsidise fertiliser for farmers while we’re at it? How about canvas for artists?

Why not subsidise fuel for all of us so we can drive more cheaply to our jobs, be in a better mood when we got there, and work more productively as a result? Or give petrol to Nimon’s so they can lower fares to achieve the same benefit?
All of these would reduce the costs of doing business in Hawke’s Bay, paving the way for incalculable prosperity. Why not get everyone — everyone who says they will create jobs, that is — on the government subsidy teat?

Most businesses and sectors must survive after paying for all of their inputs — from their paper clips to their labour, from their energy and other raw materials to their transport costs. But apparently not farmers.

Nevertheless, business leaders generally keep damn quiet about subsidies outside their sector … sort of a brotherhood of silence. Why? They fear that some day their need for the subsidy teat will come. The subsidy wheel turns … rolling over the taxpayer and ratepayer.

Incidentally, the same NBR article today reported that 42% of farmers in Canterbury have not installed water meters to measure their use of irrigation water, as required by law.

How does that behaviour support a “well-deserved” handout?!

The irrigation lobby could at least pretend to earn its subsidy by backing tough environmental measures to curb the polluting effects of irrigation-intensified farming. But that won’t happen. Certainly not here in Hawke’s Bay as long as the current regime of councillors handles the spigot.

Let’s be honest about this dam.

As it stands, it’s an outright subsidy for a small group of farmers, many of whom think it’s not worth their own investment.

Meanwhile, the claimed ‘public good’ — improving water quality — used to justify any possible public subsidy has been steadily diluted by HBRC managers.

That’s collaboration … HBRC-style.

Tom Belford

Related Stories
Do the headlines say it all?
CHB dam moves to next stage
Why the dam(n) hurry, Tim?

If you have something to say about this article, You can place a comment on the BayBuzz website

More Recent Articles
“Chaos” or merely “tough nut”?
Yule should ponder options
Gun fever
More from the Jan/Feb Baybuzz Magazine
Jan/Feb BayBuzz Now Online



ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Budget

It may seem like Oliver to be so bold as to ask the Finance Minister for more gruel – but what the Dickens, Steven Joyce… is this Budget really as good as it gets?

Supposedly, the public was going to receive significant rewards – an election year lolly scramble no less – for the eight years of belt tightening that they’ve endured, and for the rundown of essential public services.

Well, what Budget 2017 delivered instead in Education and in Health were allocations barely sufficient to maintain the current levels of service delivery More>>

Scoop Full Coverage: of Budget Announcements & Reaction
Latest: Scoop Search

 
 

Carer Settlement: Threat Of Staff Exodus In Mental Health

As a result of the recent pay rise awarded to their aged care and disability sector colleagues, many staff in non-government mental health and addiction organisations are considering leaving to join these workforces. More>>

ALSO:

Climate Policy: New Zealand Set To Blow Its Carbon Budget By 27%

The Government’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows New Zealand is set to release 647.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions between 2013 and 2020 – 137 million tonnes more than we are allowed under the Kyoto Protocol. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Christchurch Considers Cathedral, Stadium: Cathedral Working Group Report Released

“About half of Christchurch wants to see the cathedral reinstated, the other half wants something new and more modern, but really, everyone just needs a decision." More>>

ALSO:

Auditor-General Stands Down For Investigation: Gordon Campbell On (Not) Taking Responsibility

So Martin Matthews, our current Auditor-General wishes he could have detected “earlier” the fraud that occurred on his watch at the Ministry of Transport. Hmmm. But he could have detected it earlier, surely? That’s the point. More>>

ALSO:

NGOs Pleased: Govt To Halt Collection Of Client Data

Brenda Pilott, the chair of ComVoices and national manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, congratulates the government on its decision to call a halt to the collection of individual client data until the concerns of not-for-profit service providers have been worked through. More>>

ALSO:

Gosh: Blasphemy Law Repeal Struck Down

Chris Hipkins, the MP who tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to add our Blasphemy Law to the Statutes Repeal Bill, said this was a "sad day for freedom of speech, tolerance, and leadership". More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 

Opening The Election Supporters

 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election