The $162 million subsidy for one of the world’s richest companies proves Amazon has New Zealand taxpayers over a barrel, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “Treasury has previously warned that our uncapped film subsidies pose a significant fiscal risk for taxpayers. And now we learn that for this gold-plated deal, the Minister didn’t even check to see what Treasury had to say. There is no guarantee that taxpayers will see the value promised for this $162 corporate welfare payment.”
“The Minister argues subsidies are part and parcel of the international film industry. That’s politician-speak for ‘we’re fighting a bidding war with taxpayer money’. Amazon is infamous for using its near-endless lobbying resources to play different governments off one another.”
“What happens in a couple of years when Amazon threatens to send the production of future television seasons overseas? The Government will have to choose between facing humiliation, or forking out even higher taxpayer subsidies. This game does not end well for taxpayers. The only way to win is to not play.”
“This handout is emblematic of a clunky, ad hoc approach to attracting international business. We should be attracting business on the basis of our economic merits: that would involve lower taxes, flexible employment laws, and minimal red tape, not just for one company or sector, but for all.”