Back in the bad old days of Rob Muldoon, industries would clamour for a subsidy or a tariff or import quota, to protect them, promote exports or help “encourage jobs and innovation”. Those days were largely gone after the fourth Labour government, which ruthlessly purged corporate welfare partly to save taxpayers’ money, but also to ensure a “level playing field” with the government not “picking winners”.
After an initial shock, most businesses accepted that with the government out of the game of dishing out subsidies and protectionism there was no longer the need to lobby for such things and business could get on with producing and selling.
However, this started to be eroded with Jim Anderton converting the largely policy advisory Ministry of Commerce into the more interventionist subsidy Ministry of Economic Development. The “winners” picked by Jim Anderton’s subsidy machine – NZ Trade and
Now according to the NZ Herald Labour is throwing $700 million of your money away on the food and pastoral sectors to promote innovation. Business NZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly responds to this by saying “This is an excellent model for commercialising research, based on research-industry collaboration”.
Commercialising? Since when it is commercial to use taxpayers’ money, which might otherwise have been used by OTHER businesses for their innovation?
Nobody would argue with innovation by business, but wouldn’t it be simpler to just forget subsidies and cut company tax some more? For starters, how about a company tax rate of 15% (half that of
Um, how about letting businesses keep more of their own money? "knock knock" any policy innovation at the National Party?