What a good sport Robertson can be – if the demand for free handouts of money is too big, he will find some more
Bob Edlin November 7, 2020 2 Minutes

  • IN the last crisis the National Government ‘bailed out finance company investors’ and invested in fibreoptic broadband and the tourist bike trails. 

  • Bailing out finance companies was necessary to keep the economy afloat, much like the necessary wage subsidy.

  • Both National Party investments still produce returns for NZers.

  • Grant Robertson has continued the provincial growth fund method of allocating  taxpayer money,

  • There is no criteria for Robertson’s spending to produce a return

  • There is no criteria to invest the money in high priority economic and or social projects.

  • ‘Shovel Ready’ is all the criteria Mr Robertson needs to borrow and spend billions

The ministerial slate has been cleared. There was nothing on The Beehive home page when we went looking for the latest news this morning.

But the Point of Order Trough Monitor has been alerted by other sources of information to more bizarre examples of oinkers being fattened at the taxpayers’ expense.

The nature of the feeding frenzy has been recorded in a background document which itemises the final amounts awarded through the Community Resilience Fund – Phase Two (CRF 2).

The document was “proactively released” on Sport NZ’s website on October 14.

This tells us it came into the ministerial domain not of Shane Jones (we wonder what he is up to today?) but of Sports and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson.

It further tells us Robertson was or is doling out around $15 million to more than 2,000 sporting organisations as part of phase 2 of the aforementioned fund.

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesperson Louis Houlbrooke is appropriately bemused:

“How this helps fight the pandemic is not explained anywhere in the 48-page Cabinet document.”

The fund and its replenishment gives us a glaring example of what happens when too many oinkers queue to slurp into free money.

Yes, the Government responded by finding more even more money to enrich the swill.

We suppose that Robertson – as Minister of Finance – was only too aware this money would be borrowed, to be repaid by a future generation of taxpayers.

In the upshot, 2250 applications were received and only 180 were turned away.

The average tuck-in for successful applicants cost taxpayers $7,225 per serving.

Houlbrooke (understandably) is somewhat gobsmacked.

He says the rationale for increasing the funding from $10 million to $15 million ‘due to the demand for the fund in the initial three weeks’ is simply terrible public policy because

“ … there will always be demand for free money.”

To the extent the beneficiary organisations contribute to the economy, Houlbrooke pointed out, they’ll have been eligible for the wage subsidy.

“Why is the sports sector getting extra special treatment?

“New Zealanders who are losing their jobs or having their hours cut must wonder why they are less worthy of Government support than the Whitby Bowling Club ($10,012), Wanganui Croquet Club ($3,390.00), the Auckland Table Tennis Association ($19,694.78), Taiaotea Air Scout Group ($4,819.05), or Rolleston Softball Club ($17,362.00).

“In addition, there are literally hundreds of grants to scouts, sea scouts, and air scouts, organisations the Union was previously unaware of, far less their sporting credentials.”

Houlbrooke contends that this package is not an effective use of taxpayers money in a pandemic.

He further says we can only be relieved that Underwater Hockey New Zealand and the World Kabaddi Council of NZ were among the few to be turned down.

It seems curiously discriminatory to specify those two organisations.

But we confess to knowing precious little about kapaddi.

We had to check it out and learned it is a contact team sport played between two teams of seven players each. The objective is for a single player on offense, referred to as a “raider”, to run into the opposing team’s half of a court, tag out as many of their defenders as possible, and return to their own half of the court, all without being tackled by the defenders, and in a single breath.

We wonder if they were holding their breath for a favourable response when they filed their application for free money.

  • It is Labour voters who will bear the inevitable economic cost of Robertson’s flagrant / amateur borrowing and spending.

  • How can this madness be stopped?