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

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news