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Jobs Machine "Triumph" Turns to Dust

Jobs Machine "Triumph" Turns to Dust

Friday 22 Nov 2002 Rodney Hide Press Releases -- Economy

ACT Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide said today that Helen Clark and Jim Anderton owe taxpayers and the country an apology for the debacle of the Hobsonville Airbase land sale and the Sovereign Yachts building venture.

"Taxpayers are down millions of dollars and Auckland has lost the huge opportunities that the land at Hobsonville Airbase presented. The Government has rushed in with a state housing plan to block Sovereign Yachts from exercising the botched deal that less than two years ago Mr Anderton crowed as having facilitated."

Mr Anderton's "Job Machine" fast-tracked the sale of four hectares of land to Sovereign Yachts for just $523,125 when Defence officials advised the land was worth between $7.5 million and $10 million. Mr Anderton's agency paid $306,237 to have the land subdivided, it fast-tracked all planning consents, and enabled Sovereign Yachts to secure options over a further 63 hectares of the base for a Marine Precinct.

On February 4, 2001, Mr Anderton hailed the development as a "triumph for the Jobs Machine and the partnership approach" and Helen Clark declared the project to be "like a dream come true". Jim Anderton's promise was "hundreds of new jobs and export earnings of more than a hundred million dollars a year". Sovereign Yacht boss Bill Lloyd said there would be jobs "initially for 150 people and this will increase to 300 people when the complex is fully operational".

A May 2002 report commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development revealed just 46 persons employed by Sovereign Yachts (NZ) Ltd with an additional 15 - 20 subcontractors employed on boat building.

"The government's announcement last week of state housing through the area where Sovereign Yachts was planning its housing and marine development has scuttled Sovereign's plans. Mr Lloyd has accused the Government "of stabbing him in the back" over the state housing plan. He has been reported in the National Business Review as considering "jumping ship" and heading back to Vancouver.

"So much for Jim Anderon's "Triumph" and Helen Clark's "Dream". They hailed this as a success. It's failed. The Government's economic strategy of "hands on" and "picking winners" is in tatters.

"It's time for Clark and Anderton to apologise for the debacle and move to help all businesses equally by cutting taxes and ridding the country of red tape," Mr Hide said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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