Forget about poverty until the Budget speech is read – for now, let’s wallow in this corporate swill

Dunno what’s in The Budget for the poor people.

But Alf is delighted to learn that the corporate welfare trough has not been emptied in the name of fiscal austerity or in same mad endeavour to produce a surplus.

The Boss dipped into the trough yesterday with his Tourism hat on to dish out lots of lolly to two operators who look sufficiently well-heeled to find their own lolly, but hey – what’s the point of being in government if you can’t steer a bit of taxpayers’ money in the direction of supporters or people who might become supporters if appropriately nourished.

Alf is especially delighted to see that an enterprise run by our indigenous people is being nicely looked after. These people are very special, as readers of this blog know, and if we didn’t give them something like this they would be waving the bloody treaty and demanding it.

A consequence of this largesse is some good publicity from Maori Television:

Just one day out from the release of this year’s Budget for 2015 Prime Minister John Key has announced that the Government will be putting $350,000 towards the development of a new spa complex on Rotorua’s lakefront, and $1.5 million towards a new exhibition at Blenheim’s Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.

“Tourism is a significant part of our economy and a major employer,” says Mr Key.

“The $32 million contestable Tourism Growth Partnership fund aims to boost innovation and productivity in the tourism sector. For each project approved for investment, the Government provides up to 50 per cent of the required funding.”

No doubt there’s more where that comes from and Alf is cheered to see Key tell us our government has now invested $8.1 million in 15 projects, in addition to the applicants’ contributions of $39.2 million, giving a total $47.3 million investment in the tourism industry.

This is a hellava lot smarter than giving the money to poor people, who are likely to spend it on booze and cigarettes and other bad things, including sugary foods which will make them obese and rot their gnashers.

Maori Television quotes The Boss:

“Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre has already established itself as a premier tourism attraction, featuring Sir Peter Jackson’s WWI aviation collection. The centre will be expanded to include a WWII hangar exhibition, which will also serve as a function centre capable of catering of up to 500 guests,” says Mr Key.

“The World Spa project aims to develop an international standard spa and wellness complex on Rotorua’s lakefront. The Rotorua District Council has set a goal of 1.5 million commercial spa visits yearly, and the development of this new spa complex will certainly help with achieving that goal,” says Mr Key.

The Rotorua Lakes Council obviously is as delighted as Alf.

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key announced at TRENZ this morning (20 May) that the government is investing in Rotorua’s World Spa project through its Tourism Growth Partnership fund.

The government is investing $350,000 to support the development of the new spa complex on Rotorua’s lakefront.

The $32 million contestable Tourism Growth Partnership fund aims to boost innovation and productivity in the tourism sector. For each project approved for investment, the government provides up to 50 per cent of the required funding.

Rotorua has a lefite mayor, one Steve Chadwick, but she knows a good thing when she sees one and said the World Spa announcement is great news, fitting with the council’s vision for the district to reclaim its title of ‘Spa Capital of the South Pacific’.

Alf must confess he did not know Rotorua ever held such a title.

He further confesses he does not actually give a toss who holds the title.

But he gets a warm glow when he hears a leftie say the funding will provide a boost towards progressing the work that has been underway for some time and:

“It’s great to have central government endorsing our vision to be a world class spa destination.

“Rotorua has a hot springs heritage that dates back to its earliest Maori residents. We believe the potential for spa and spa-related developments is huge. It could be what takes our tourism industry to the next level and I look forward to further progress.”

Moving south, Alf notes that the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre – because it has already established itself as a premier tourism attraction – perhaps doesn’t desperately need taxpayers’ handouts.

He further notes that it is adept at getting its snout into troughs because the centre says:

We have been successful in obtaining funding from the Lottery Grants Board. This grant is enabling us to commemorate the centenary by introducing new permanent additionsWW100 symbol to the Knights of the Sky exhibition. Work on the exhibits will commence early in the New Year, with the aim to have them completed before our Classic Fighters airshow this Easter, April 3-5.

But inevitably there has been carping about the money The Boss has been dishing out.

It doesn’t come from poor people.

No, it comes from an outfit that likes to make a fuss when public money has been questionably spent.

The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the latest round of corporate welfare announced today by the Prime Minister. One of the grants sees $350,000 of taxpayers’ money being given to Pukeroa Lakefront Holdings Limited, a commercial arm of Ngati Whakaue, to build a spa complex.

Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, says:

“This is taxpayer money going to build a spa in Rotorua. That’s not innovation, it’s corporate welfare at its very worst.”

“The problem with these sorts of grants, is it allocates taxpayer money to the industries and regions favoured by politicians.”

The grant documentation says that the aim of the project is to ‘reclaim Rotorua’s historic role as New Zealand’s Wellness Capital’. “That is code for pulling tourism out of other regions to bolster a favoured business,” says Mr Williams.

But let’s wait for The Budget in an hour or so.

There might be money in it for Jordan and his mob.

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