It sounded highly laudable, when The Boss announced it.
The Government is co-investing in two new projects as part of the Tourism Growth Partnership.
The press statement from his office explains that the Tourism Growth Partnership is a $32 million contestable Government fund which aims to support innovation and productivity in the tourism sector.
Let’s call it a trough.
For each project approved for investment, the Government provides up to 50 per cent of the required funding.
And [drum roll please] the latest winners are….
Sorry, that’s not the official way of announcing it.
No, The Boss would prefer we say the successful applicants in the second round of funding are Christchurch International Airport’s Welcome China Project, which will receive $270,000 in funding, and Southern World Vacation’s Limited which will receive $112,950.
When it comes to answering any awkward questions about this, The Boss can’t duck by saying he wasn’t the Prime Minister or the Tourism Minister when he named the oinkers who will get their snouts into thbis rich swill.
Just look at the first para:
Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key today announced the Government is co-investing in two new projects as part of the Tourism Growth Partnership.
But we Nats don’t go tossing money at any old Joe Blow who turns up for a handout, especially on a day when it seems the budget deficit thing has deteriorated or some such.
So – what’s in it for us (besides the votes of the grateful recipients and maybe a contribution or two to the party)?
“These are two great initiatives which will help increase visitor numbers,” says Mr Key.
“Christchurch International Airport’s Welcome China programme will improve visitor flows, support visitor recovery and therefore increase financial contributions to the Canterbury region and the tourism industry.
“Southern World has partnered with an established North American-based safari company to lift New Zealand’s profile and attract more high value sports hunters and fishing enthusiasts.”
Obviously, there’s plenty more in the swill bucket to be thrown into the trough for the next sitting, notwithstanding The Boss conceding it could be hard to meet the Budget surplus target that has been so important for the past several years.
Alf supposes this because…
Mr Key says applications are now open for the third round of Tourism Growth Partnership funding.
“Investing in a wide range of innovative tourism projects will help New Zealand tourism as a whole and help create more jobs in New Zealand,” says Mr Key.
Applications for the third funding round close on December 1, 2014.
But Alf is now braced to be grilled about this in the Eketahuna Club tonight, because some of his mates are great admirers of Jordan Williams, and Williams has lambasted The Boss in a statement headed…
Prime Minister’s Corporate Welfare: Safari Company Hits the Jackpot
In this statement, Williams says the Taxpayers’ Union is labelling this latest example of tourism corporate welfare as ridiculous and impossible to justify.
“It isn’t a loan, it isn’t R&D research; it’s not even tourism promotion. This is a $112,950 of taxpayer money given to a company to do what it does anyway.”
“Our recent report on corporate welfare is aptly titled Monopoly Money. This tour company just landed on chance and won first prize in a beauty contest. They’ve picked up a $112,950 taxpayer funded pat on the back.”
Williams has taken the opportunity to promote Monopoly Money, by Jim Rose, a former principal advisor at the Treasury.
Ross found the Key Government is spending between six and eight hundred dollars per household a year in corporate welfare.
“In contrast to today’s media reports of people in pain waiting to get onto elective surgery waiting lists, how is this grant to assist a majority-owned foreign travel company a fiscal priority?”
The Boss is bound to have a good answer.
Alf hopes he can hear it before he faces his mates in the club.