Alf admires the aplomb with which his good mate Steven Joyce brushes off any suggestion a Tory Government should not be dishing out a rich swill for corporate oinkers.
If business benefactors find we Tories won’t reward them with a bit of corporate welfare now and again, the bloody economy would grind to a halt because we can be damned sure a pinko government won’t be helping them.
ACT’s David Seymour, who is new to this sort of thing, has a lot to learn because he was putting Parliamentary questions to Joyce yesterday on this subject. Obviously he disapproves of our generosity to Big Business.
He wanted to know if Steven was concerned at the scale of corporate welfare in New Zealand under this Government and if not, why not?
Actually it’s Seymour’s government too, because we gave him an under-secretaryship in exchange for his support, so it’s a bit rich of the tosser to be banging on about corporate welfare.
But Joyce can always be relied on to handle questions like this, and he said he was always concerned about the scale and effectiveness of Government expenditure that he was involved in as a Minister, and in ensuring it was well spent.
However, I do reject the rather pejorative term that was used in the member’s question.
This was news to Alf. He had not appreciated that corporate welfare is best described as something else.
He will be chatting with Steven later today, as it happens, about how to get some of these business handouts for a few of his constituents. He will ask how they should best be described.
But Seymour wasn’t finished and asked:
Given that the Government has, among other things, invested in research and development, rugby games, railways, and yacht races, can he define anything that is outside the role of Government, or does he agree with former Prime Minister Helen Clark that the role of Government is whatever the Government defines it to be?
Joyce handled this deftly:
Well, there are a lot of things in life that the Government would prefer not to be involved in, but, nevertheless, the Government does have to balance economic and social considerations and so on.
One of the examples that the member raises is the issue of research and development. I should think that that is a very important issue for New Zealand.
Other members in this House spend quite a lot of time talking about the need to diversify the New Zealand economy. I happen to agree, and, as a result, this Government invests hugely alongside firms in building research and development innovation to ensure that businesses do diversify and that we get strong new industries like information and communications technology and high-tech manufacturing, which are actually growing very strongly in New Zealand now.
Seymour had further questions to ask, obviously, but when he sought permission to ask another one he was told he was on short rations: he had two supplementary questions that day, and he had used them already.
Obviously this is because Seymour is the only ACT MP in the House, a consequence of failing to win enough votes for more seats at the recent general election.
He doesn’t have more seats because business people would rather have National running the show. They know they can rely on we Nats to pour a generous supply of swill into the
corporate welfare trough for desperately needy businesses. And they know that if they keep on the right side of beneficent Ministers like our Steven, they will do nicely thank you when he is throwing his largesse around .