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Why are taxpayers paying to design an electric ferry?


“Callaghan Innovation’s $440,000 grant for an electric ferry design is pure corporate welfare,” says New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke.

“If EV Maritime’s ferries present such good value, then why didn’t it get private investors to cover its R&D bill? Callaghan Innovation has pre-empted this possibility by volunteering a taxpayer handout. The grant doesn’t even come with any requirement to be paid back, regardless of how much profit EV Maritime makes off the taxpayer’s investment.”

“There’s no reason for New Zealand to be a world leader in electric ferries. Why not wait to see what works in other countries, and eventually purchase ferries proven to work internationally? Instead, Callaghan Innovation is risking taxpayer funds on a bespoke option, seemingly for the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting a local business, regardless of the taxpayer’s interest.”

The 2017 Taxpayers’ Union report Socialism for the Rich found that corporate welfare payments cost $931 per New Zealand Household. This is likely to be even higher now thanks to the advent of the Provincial Growth Fund.

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