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 Northland By-Election

Supposedly, Winston Peters’ victory in Northland has exposed the simmering dissatisfaction with the government that exists out in the provinces. Yet it remains to be seen whether this defeat will have much significance – and not simply because if and when Labour resumes business as usual in the Northland seat at the next election, Peters’ hold on it could simply evaporate.

On Saturday, National’s electorate vote declined by 7,000 votes, as the 9,000 majority it won last September turned into a 4,000 vote deficit – mainly because Labour supporters followed the nod and wink given by Labour leader Andrew Little, and voted tactically for Peters. In the process, Labour’s vote went down from nearly 9,000 votes six months ago, to only 1,315 on Saturday. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Myth Of Steven Joyce

Gordon Campbell: The myth of competence that’s been woven around Steven Joyce – the Key government’s “Minister of Everything” and “Mr Fixit” – has been disseminated from high-rises to hamlets, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: No Public Submissions On International Government Procurement Deal

“The government is preparing to assent to the Government Procurement Agreement, a World Trade Organisation Treaty which opens up New Zealand Government contracts to foreign companies and closes the door on local businesses and their workers. However the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee is refusing to take public submissions on the decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Pacific Spying

So New Zealand spied on its friends and allies in the Pacific – and has not only been passing on the results to the NSA, but has apparently passed on the details of the Pacific’s relations with Taiwan to our other best friends, the Chinese. On the side, the Key government has also been using the security services to gauge the chances of Trade Minister Tim Groser landing the top job at the WTO... More>>

ALSO:

State Housing Transfer: Salvation Army Opts Out

The Salvation Army has decided against negotiating with Government for the transfer of Housing New Zealand stock.
More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news