Hartevelt swipes Nats’ elitism

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 am, March 20th, 2011 - 30 comments
Categories: class war, disaster, national - Tags: , , ,

John Hartevelt is shocked by National’s decision to pay for the rebuilding of AMI Stadium’s turf and financing flights to Auckland for Cantabrians with tickets for the Rugby World Cup games that have been moved:

“It’s not just the people of Christchurch shaken up by the quake. The National Party seems to have lost some of its moral-political bearings too.

First, it’s dishing out cash to rebuild an uninsured part of a debt-laden business. Next, it’s cooking up a subsidy for predominantly well-off rugger fans to enjoy a boozy weekend up north. What happened? Weren’t we supposed to be “tightening the belt” and throwing every last dollar that dropped out towards rebuilding Christchurch’s infrastructure and sheltering those made homeless?”

I don’t think that the National Party has lost any of its moral-political bearings. This is completely in keeping with everything they have done in government and their core, elitist philosophy.

Bailing out anything that is uninsured is not something that a government of any stripe would normally go anywhere near. The reason moral hazard escaped the government’s purview this time was, it seems, politics.

I recall after the last quake we were told that maybe 5% of homes are uninsured, which is about 5,000 damaged in the quake zone. They got no bailout because the government says it would create a moral hazard. But an uninsured business does. Surely, the risk of moral hazard is actually greater with a business.

V-Base was in a $75.2m debt hole before the quake and they were looking towards the Rugby World Cup as a money-spinner. Appreciating what was being taken from Christchurch and with an eye on getting Super Rugby back to the stadium next year, Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully had the multimillion-dollar cheque signed within 48 hours.

But for a government so keen on repeating rhetoric about scrutinising every last cent, it was not an impressive outlay.

V-Base is so far in debt partly because they’ve spent big on new stands for dwindling crowds. It’s a struggling business and a risky government investment.

There is an argument that rugby is important to the local economy, but so are a lot of things that were busted by the quake.

Yup. I wonder how many of the 5,000 jobs lost so far could have been saved if the government had been willing to write a $4.1 million cheque, as it was for AMI Stadium’s grass.

30 comments on “Hartevelt swipes Nats’ elitism”

  1. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1

    Disgraceful, isn’t it. No government of the people would support anything as elitist as rugby.

    http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2011/03/16/on-a-more-ve-note/

    • Marty G 1.1

      it’s a question of priorities. and i think the rwc is hugely elitist. the tickets are out of reach of most people but we are expected to all underwrite the losses of the rwc company.

      • Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1.1.1

        i think the rwc is hugely elitist…

        Unlike the America’s Cup, obviously.

        • Marty G 1.1.1.1

          no, exactly like the America’s Cup.

          • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.1

            I’d say America’s Cup is far worse, because it is a sport that specifically caters to multi-millionaires and billionaires (who don’t need any government subsidy to fund their boats) and generally mostly enjoyed by 40+ males with boats of their own.

            Rugby isn’t as monetised and has much broader appeal.

            • KJT 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Duh.

              The America’s cup bought a big surge of interest in club level sailing.

              For a few short years the America’s cup challenger in NZ was funded by donations from the public and was definitely a popular sport. Unfortunately the millionaires have taken it back.
              Contrary to some peoples ideas yachting in NZ does not require much or any money.
              I introduced brown kids from a decile one school to some local yachties who were very pleased to have some keen young crew. Led to a couple meeting their future employers also.
              The top 3.7 yacht in NZ is for sale for $6000. Less than a car.
              Junior membership in most clubs is less than $100.
              Some supply a club fleet of Opti’s by ballot to junior members.

              The clubs and facilities are all paid for by members. Unlike rugby where rate or taxpayers are expected to supply venues despite the huge income of the rugby union.

      • Kevyn Miller 1.1.2

        Sadly it was a Labour government that formed the joint venture RWC company with the rugby union and also set the precedent with Americas Cup and kept propping up the horse racing industry. All justified by dartboard economics. Just to get bums into voting booths.

        The current lot are merely proving that in gutter politics the really creative can always find even deeper cracks to slide down into.

  2. handle 2

    “These are not big-ticket items for the government, but that’s not the point. They’re politicised purchases plotted by a handful of ministers getting very confident. Those ministers have shown themselves to be skilful at racing through complex negotiations in a crisis atmosphere. They deserve credit for that, but transparency and efficiency should be at the heart of negotiations. ”

    It’s called disaster capitalism, John.

  3. Zaphod Beeblebrox 3

    All these rugby stadiums financed by the taxpayer. All of them are totally uneconomic- have a look at the size of rugby crowds we get in this country. What happened to the ‘free market’?

    • handle 3.1

      The major events industry always demands public subsidies. That is in exchange for often-flaky claims of economic benefit, mainly to businesses who supply services to them or to related hospitality or tourism industries. Simple corporate welfare. Business as usual.

      Compare that with the economic and local benefits of putting that same money into subsidising Christchurch’s hi-tech, software or manufacturing industries right now.

      • Marty G 3.1.1

        I love how major events claim to have brought ‘$X million into the local economy’. Since most of the crowd is always locals, all that’s really happened is locals have spent their money on one activity rather than another – the sports ground gains but the restaurant losses or whatever. there’s a marginal utility gain in theory (people must get more out of going to the event than spending their money how they otherwise would have) but there’s nothing like the inflow of money they pretend.

        • handle 3.1.1.1

          It is hard to see how hosting a game is going to boost the nation’s export income. Sure big games and conferences bring in some tourist dollars. But a lot of the crowd would still be locals like you say, where it is a transfer of potential spending from one industry to another.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2

          I don’t really think that’s the case here. They’ve sold 30,000 of the 36,000 seats for one of the semi-finals to foreigners. The English team was being permanently hosted in CHCH and playing most of their games here, with the English rugby fans apparently being the wealthiest rugby fans of any country. Given their generally yobbish behaviour they were likely to spend up large on partying.

    • joe90 3.2

      What happened to the ‘free market’?

      Dude, ‘national importance’ is anything in the red and ‘free market’ is anything in the black.

  4. logie97 4

    Notice on Q+A this morning how Key has managed to lump the New Zealand debt mountain together.
    Sorry but the only increase in the Government debt has been the one where he has borrowed to finance the private sector’s tax cuts.
    As for the other major debt. Private citizens accrued it and they should pay for it thanks.

    • Marty G 4.1

      and it’s clear from what he said that there’s going to be massive slashing in the budget. Everything apart from health and education is to get nothing, or cuts. Even nothing is a 6% per capita, after-inflation cut.

      he’s just not interested in a levy. which is madness.

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      He’s been repeatedly lumping the debt pools together over and over wherever he can, but also when called on it will admit that private debt is the real problem, such as in parliament.

      Many political commentators specifically mention it, as do the ratings agencies whenever they comment on public debt. So to the extent that those info sources percolate into the public mind (and people who can think for themselves), there will be a group of the public out there that see Key is being deliberately dishonest over and over again when talking about debt. Some may support this dishonesty because (like National) it makes their desired outcome of asset sales easier to swallow.

      • handle 4.2.1

        Opposition politicians also need to call the government on that lie every time they utter it. Not let it go unchallenged. Captcha: harm

  5. QoT 5

    Looks like everything is a lie, then. 😛

    But this is exactly the kind of thing my post was about – NACT don’t even really believe in free-market ideology and will drop it as soon as saying “well your business was obviously unsuccessful, suck it up” might damage their chances of getting a second term to flog our assets off to their mates.

  6. Ed 6

    How do we know it is government money? This sort of project fits within the parameters of the Charity Fund established by the government to accept donations on behalf of Christchurch.

    • Adders 6.1

      Because Murray McCully has said it is government money:

      “Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully announced last week the government would pay the $4.1 million needed to fix the turf at AMI Stadium . . . “

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/4789045/Turf-repairs-take-priority

      The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust is not part of government, according to the trust’s head, Mark Weldon. (Which is also his excuse for using the Appeal donations to fund religious groups and their activities.)

      http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2011/03/against-government-promotion-of_18.html

      • ropata 6.1.1

        Yeah screw those xtians and their food banks, community support and volunteer labour!
        *rolls eyes*



        captcha: suspicion

        • Adders 6.1.1.1

          Well done, proved the point.

          Christians? What about all the other religious superstitions?

          The government is supposed to be secular. It is supporting religion by proxy.

          Neither is the Christchurch Appeal Trust transparent

          http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2011/03/and-while-were-at-it.html

          so we’ll probably never know which religion(s) get to cash in. It’ll probably depend on the religious persuasions of the trustees.

          The Christchurch Appeal purpose pertaining to religion is not about food banks etc (services that can anyway be provided unconditionally without a self-serving religious bent), it’s “For the advancement of religion”:

          “Spiritual and faith For the advancement of religion, including: places of worship, books, clothing, artefacts, musical instruments.”

          http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/print.html?path=AK1103/S00587/christchurch-quake-appeal-tomorrow-starts-here.htm

          • ropata 6.1.1.1.1

            So foreign donors want to support religious expression in NZ but you’d rather burn the cash because you resent religion? I think there are bigger issues to worry about than the Baptists getting some extra cash from kind overseas donors. Also secular government doesn’t mean atheist government it just means no particular favourites. I haven’t seen a founding document that states our government must be secular. In fact didn’t Clark’s government hold a special gathering of different faith traditions and make a statement supporting all?

  7. Maggie 7

    What a wonderful pic of John Key. Eyes shut tight in case something nasty comes along, and that smug smirk on his face.

  8. henry olongo 8

    I was at a bbq on Friday nite where the Chiefs vs. Natal Sharks match was available for the rugby fans to watch. An ex AB present was incredulous at the pitifully small crowd present in Hamilton & commented that he’d never played in Durban to less than 40k people. He explained it as ‘joe blow in NZ doesn’t have the money in pocket to go to the games when they could watch at home on the box’ and wondered if there will be embarrassingly small crowds at RWC games this year.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      He explained it as ‘joe blow in NZ doesn’t have the money in pocket to go to the games when they could watch at home on the box

      I am guessing that SKY is doing so well at the moment because people have done their budgets and figured out that cutting a few dinners out, movie tickets, rugby games, etc. per month they can actually save money by staying at home.

      Of course that means the rest of the economy suffers, but good on Rupert Murdoch (or whoever owns SKY)

  9. I think what John Key is trying to say is “If you are a worker then you are here to keep the country working, other than that, we don’t give a rats arse about you”.

    There was a recent documentary on TV called “The love of money” it looked at the credit crisis and what caused it. Alan Greenspan summed up the programme saying “the credit crisis was caused by a complete lack of morals in the dealings with money in the business sector”.

    Remember that was John Keys world, his whole business experience has been based on leaving morals at home whenever you are working. Being PM is also working so he runs NZ economy as he is used to working in the money world – with a complete lack of morals.

    The sooner we are rid of him the better.

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