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High quality government spending

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, April 6th, 2011 - 55 comments
Categories: cost of living, maori party, scoundrels - Tags: ,

Shivering in your earthquake-damaged home, wondering how you’ll come up with $190 a week for a campervan after your emergency benefit ends? Living on cat food because GST and price hikes put real food out of reach? Don’t worry, Pita Sharples to the rescue: he’s gifting 1.9 million taxpayer dollars to a hapu in his electorate to build a plastic waka.

I guess that, when you’re a government minister in danger of losing your seat, buying some votes comes first, eh?

I’m sure that this will come to be the iconic example of how this hypocritical government preaches restraint while cutting our public services, yet doles out our taxpayer funds to its mates.

55 comments on “High quality government spending”

  1. gobsmacked 1

    Is this a “Nice Te Have”?

    If the Waka starts sinking, will we have to bail it out?

  2. prism 2

    I suggest that this IS high quality government spending.  It will provide jobs building it, and is an investment which will produce income, jobs and taxes not just a profligate waste of money which Eddie seems to think.
    Maori are not only in the tourist business, their culture is a mainstay of it.   There is good for all New Zealanders in this initiative.  It will help to create more interest in the Maori side of our culture amongst the visiting sports fans and so will bring in more dollars.  It will create jobs building it and afterwards working at the venues within it. It apparently is being designed to be taken down and re-erected in other venues.  Maori refer to the giant rugby ball which was an interesting novel drawcard and say this waka can be the same.  It forms part of spending that will together help the economy and create jobs and income and taxes to the government.
    It is a mistake to just criticse it as diverting money that is needed for  those on welfare.  It is business creating jobs that will help people off welfare or provide taxes so they can be supported on welfare.  I was disappointed in Shane Jones running down the project.  It was a chance to show some seasoned judgment in supporting the idea of a small part of the games promotion budget going to Maori.  I think he wants to raise his sights, look up and see the broader world going on around him.

    • freedom 2.1

      so you have some private info on where it is currently being built? No released story has said who is building it, only that according to the NBR it is already being built and will be ready in October, OOOPS I guess someone stuffed up because doesnt the RWC start in September

      you also must have missed the part where even the Iwi say they have not planned for what happens to the structure after the RWC
       

    • Bright Red 2.2

      “an investment which will produce income, jobs and taxes”
      however you spend the money it will do that. paying people to dig holes and fill them will do that. The question is whether there’s actually any value in teh project itself or if there’s more high value ways to spend the money.
      “It will help to create more interest in the Maori side of our culture amongst the visiting sports fans and so will bring in more dollars”
      evidence? Why would an inflatable plastic canoe entice people who, remember, are already in New Zealand to come again or spend more while they are here?
      “a small part of the games promotion budget going to Maori”
      Is this really going to Maori? I doubt that this hapu has industrial plastic fabrication facilities. In fact, I’ll bet you my 50 cent share of this travesty that it will be made in China.
      Was this the best way to spend $2 million, even if we limit ourselves to RWC and Maori-related?

      • Deadly_NZ 2.2.1

        Either that or Taiwan.  What a Joke how many starving families woould that 1.8 million for what is essentially a bloody balloon..
         
         
        Yep it must be Nice to be in a government where you can screw over the ones you are suppose to help.

    • Afewknowthetruth 2.3

      Prism.

      Can you please explain how consuming rapdily depleting nonrenewable resources to make something that produces nothing and will be shifted around using rapidly depleting nonrenewable resources is ‘good’? 

      Tourism has no long term future of course, due to  peak oil.    Brent oil today $121.37.

  3. Bright Red 3

    Worth noting that $2 million is enough to pay $190 a week rent on the 350 campervans for 30 weeks.
    This inflatable waka will be used for 18 days. To what purpose, no-one seems sure.

  4. freedom 4

    The Waka project is a joke but i am sure i am not alone in thinking a clear and transparent public accounting of the other $263 million dollars being spent on marketing NZ during the RWC 2011 would make far interesting reading.
    Even more so after listening to the long long list of officials unwilling to discuss any part of the story on RNZ this morning

  5. prism 5

    All of the above points are right and the details are vague as yet.  However I say that criticising spending because it isn’t going on welfare, is going around the main point that we have to be earning to be able to generate money for welfare.  The waka could be a good earner as it has been explained.   Just having a snitch on the Maori Party and having good reason to distrust National and HACT is not enough reason to immediately dump on every initiative that comes up. More information about the project is definitely needed though.  Especially if it is going to be finished after the games??

    Further to this I see that freedom has some links on open mke at 10.32am

    • Tangled up in blue 5.1

      criticising spending because it isn’t going on welfare, is going around the main point that we have to be earning to be able to generate money for welfare.  The waka could be a good earner as it has been explained.   Just having a snitch on the Maori Party and having good reason to distrust National and HACT is not enough reason to immediately dump on every initiative that comes up. More information about the project is definitely needed though
       

      This is a reasonable non-knee jerked response. It very well could be a good investment and I would like to hear the opinion of someone with experience in making these marketing decisions.

    • bbfloyd 5.2

      if this is such a good, long term revenue gathering project, as portrayed by sharples, then why aren’t the initial costs being covered by the people who stand to gain from this enterprise?
      it’s not as if the hapu in question havn’t got any rescources to call on… what bank wouldn’t finance a feasable, demonstrably profitable enterprise, especially as the assets of the applicants would more than cover any collatoral issues they may have…
       
       

  6. Samuel Hill 6

    Prism, if you or anyone else actually think this is a good idea then I question your intelligence. Seriously, do you actually think this will create jobs? This is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard coming out of the mouth of an MP. Pita Sharples should be ashamed of himself. What kind of jobs is this going to create? OH WOW I’m sure this waka is going to be the greatest attraction ever in New Zealand. Tourists don’t give a damn. They go to Rotorua and have their 4 hour show and they’ve had enough. Like Shane Jones said, all Maori want from the World Cup is to see New Zealand win.

    • prism 6.1

      Good old NZ wisdom S Hill.  Don’t look at it with an open mind and check its merits just create a negative fog around it, say it will never fly and won’t pay and why have a new idea anyway.   (Richard Pearse we remember you.)  Great, that’s how we do things in New Zealand.
       
      And when we do invest money we put it into the hands of confidence tricksters who don’t have a new idea, just an old one of fleecing the public and feeding them b..shit.  Oh but, we whine, we didn’t recognise there was risk.  So much for our fine judgment.   New ideas are also risky but may be viable and excitingly profitable. This new idea needs to be checked out before it gets stomped on.

      • Samuel Hill 6.1.1

        I look at all things with an open mind mate. Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I’m close minded. You also failed to answer my question, how will this create any jobs???

        I don’t see how building a waka is very innovative. I’m all for creative business, but a waka really? You talk about confidence tricksters and new ideas. This waka is exactly the kind of idea you should refer to!!!  

        I’m from Tokoroa, go there and see real Maori art, mate. We’ve got totem polls all over the place, and it hasn’t helped our economy one iota in my hometown. So don’t try and tell me about being open minded. 

        I’m stomping all over this thing too, by the way. It doesn’t take me more than a few moments to work out that this isn’t going to add much profit? Are people going to come all the way to New Zealand just to see a waka? No. They’re coming to watch rugby, and they’re not really too interested in a stupid bloody boat.

        Like I said, I’m all for innovation and making money from tourists, but we are using as you said, old ideas, fleecing the public and feeding bullshit. This is one of those ideas to brother, you should think about that.

        • prism 6.1.1.1

          S Hill – Construction of the waka pavilion is under way and should be finished by October 6. Quote from the tvnz item.   The job of building it is being done by people who will be paid.  Then the jobs of servicing the businesses carried out there will be done by people, who will be paid. Those are called jobs.   Are some of you bloggers economically illiterate?   Why should it have to be explained that jobs will arise out of this initiative?
           
          Have you ever tried to set up a business or innovate anything?   No.   Sitting in front of computers dissing what other people are trying to do won’t advance peoples lives in NZ.

          • Samuel Hill 6.1.1.1.1

            Excuse me. Did you just assume something about me? I am a musician, student and a small business person. Have I ever tried to set up a business or innovate something? Yes. I’ve run a business in Australia and I play in a band. So why don’t you stop assuming things about me before you know me aye? Or should we take this outside? 

            I’m not economically illiterate, these jobs are obviously going to occur, for the short term though. This is small minded action from a small minded government. They can’t see past this election. They’ve already won. Whats the point of this waka? Its to give that Maori tribe up north a symbolic portion of media attention.

            I’m curious, Prism. What are YOU doing to advance peoples lives in NZ?

          • freedom 6.1.1.1.2

            so Prism, you have some private info on where it is currently being built?
             
            You repeat the claim of jobs but won’t share your source
            at 11am i asked if you had some details on your claim of jobs building this Waka Pavilion  and two hours later you repeat the statement yet still no answer as to where it is being built
             
            hopefully one of the many Auckland-America’s Cup yacht manufacturers are getting the work seeing how good a long term investment that was for NZ tax dollars

  7. Afewknowthetruth 7

    High quality spending is spending on permaculture education., community gardens, hand tools, energy efficient housing etc.  

    We know none of the criminals/clowns in parliament will use their brains to divert money to anything actually useful because they repeatedly demonstrate they have no brains. 

    Parliamentary decisions are always about rorts.

  8. randal 8

    the country is infantilised.
    they believe that looking good is better than being good.
    whoever puts all this stuff out about trying to make a good impression is  a ninny.
    whatever we may think about ourselves visitors are coming to this country to get boozed and watch grown men beat each other up.
    any blah about culture or other intangibles is just so much wasted breath and an opportunity for the governments hangers on to spend our money on tacky pies in the sky.

  9. ianmac 9

    Government Policy and Actions have been and will be to cut and close down many things. They totally oppose spending to stimulate the economy. Yet as a contradiction to this they spend money on a plastic waka. (Wasn’t there outrage that tikis were being made out of plastic?)
    I wonder if there can be a cost/benefit analysis for this waka?

    • Bright Red 9.1

      “I wonder if there can be a cost/benefit analysis for this waka?”
      mate, the government’s not going to waste money on ‘nice to haves’ like cost/benefit analyses.

      • The Voice of Reason 9.1.1

        I think you’ll find a pretty good cost/benefit analisys in the latest Stuff poll, whicxh asks if its a good spend. Apparently voters think it’s all cost, no benefit.

        Yes:

        589 votes, 7.6%

        No:

        7193 votes, 92.4%

         
         

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.2

        mate, the government’s not going to waste money on ‘nice to haves’ like cost/benefit analyses.

        That’s because even when they do do them they ignore them anyway and then make up implausible excuses as to why such as Roads of National(s) Significance.

  10. freedom 10

    The released image of the interior is not exactly what i thought Dr Sharples was referring to when he said:

    The waka will provide the cultural heart of the entertainment programme on Auckland’s waterfront. We will showcase the very best of Maori arts, culture, business and enterprise, right in the heart of the Rugby World Cup capital.

     
    http://static2.stuff.co.nz/1302046937/842/4853842.jpg
     
    looks more like a troughing hall on the gravy train

    • Marty G 10.1

      Is it just me or when you look at that picture do you also imagine the tables filed by dozens of fat guys in suits, including the clown in chief, eating expensive food at the taxpayers’ expense?

      • freedom 10.1.1

        the real horror will be the burlesque-sorry-  cultural performances that will no-doubt be crammed onto tiny platform stages as someone’s nephew from design school projects hi-res bites of culture onto power chomping flatscreens as Suits slather over tables full of Kaikoura goodness occassionally stopping to salute the RWC flv for the seven thousandth time
         
         

      • Mac1 10.1.2

        As in McCully’s four bottles of $185 Pinot each, bought at our expense?

        Told this story to a truckie delivering household effects. “Unbelievable!” was his reply. He also hadn’t heard it before. Some educating required out there, people.

  11. toad 11

    Apparently the thing is proposed to be made out of PVC – the worst possible plastic.  Toxic is its production, and toxic in its disposal.  Government should be trying to phase out the use of this nasty substance, not promote it.

    • The Voice of Reason 11.1

      On a slight tangent here, but I’m sure there was a debate a few years ago about cheap plastic tikis being insulting to maori culture. If I remember rightly, the argument went that to make tiki out of materials that weren’t available to the original settlers was an attack on the historical integrity of maori. 

      Still, I’m sure Peter Sharples is more up on the play with these things than I am, so a giant fake waka made of plastic must actually be mana enhancing.

       

  12. prism 12

    Well for the RWC that might be what is needed freedom, see randal above “whatever we may think about ourselves visitors are coming to this country to get boozed and watch grown men beat each other up.”
    The daintier people can enjoy the intellectual opportunities later.   Perhaps a waka for all seasons.

    Anyway that interior looks akin to the wine cellar at Kaikoura where I went for wedding celebrations recently. It was an interesting venue and I wouldn’t diss it with your downbeat opinion.

    • freedom 12.1

      First up Prism, i love my Rugby and i am seriously looking forward to every bone busting moment of the tournament!  That does not diminish due to reservations about the gluttonous consumption of money that goes with today’s professional game.

      Second, I have spent most of my working life in hospitality, which is about 30 years of experience, so have a clear knowledge of what a troughing hall looks like.  The space presented is designed for nothing but mass turnover consumption.  This is of course required, and indeed would possibly have had some benefit if it was set up as a nationwide RWC event, perhaps with Waka Pavilions in each centre so ALL IWI would have had a voice.

      I mention this so you can consider that we should not simply sit back and let them get away with throwing the cloak of ‘cultural defense’ over slops in the bucket
       
       

  13. “Maori are not only in the tourist business, their culture is a mainstay of it.”

    Well, ‘no’, actually. Most surveys of international tourists to New Zealand for motive or purpose of visit show little evidence that Maori culture is the ‘mainstay’ of tourism – no matter how much we may wish that to be true. This extract from a recent book gives the general sense and, it has to be said, portrays Maori cultural tourist attractions more in terms of sympathetic hope than current reality. I don’t think there would be as much traffic to Rotorua, for example, if there was no thermal activity. Maori, however, do have a long entrepreneurial history in relation to tourism.

    In that context, I think the waka idea is probably a one-off attempt to cash in on the world cup by particular iwi and individuals, before it passes them by. That’s usual in tourism and events in particular – it is seen as an ad hoc development tool. It comes, however, with a lot of ‘fish hooks’. White elephants (or waka) are quite common in this area. They tend to come with the territory and can look a bit desperate if they aren’t managed well.

    The main issue is whether or not the government should be fronting these costs – especially in the shadow of Bill English’s rhetoric about the public deficit. The irony with this is that government ‘subsidy’ is usually looked down upon by the ideological right (‘picking winners’, etc. – and this is a particularly risky area within which to do one’s picking.).

    anti-spam: doubtful

  14. Rodel 14

    Plastic waka!
    1.Complete with plastic tikis?
    2.To be made in China?
    3. If it floats, be good in Lyttelton  harbour as temporary accommodation.
    4. If it doesn’t float, be good accommodation for the people who thought of the idea.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    The Minister’s press release …

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1104/S00104/minister-announces-waka-plan-for-rwc.htm

    Including the full CBA …

    “the net cost is not certain at this stage”. Er, that’s it.

    (Tomorrow – Agriculture Minister announces bold new policy “to boost dairy exports”: a giant plastic cow).

  16. Treetop 16

    I have given the people of Christchurch a bit of thought in the last two days as to how to survive a cold winter.  In particular the people who have little choice but to live in a campervan or a drafty home.  I think that heating is going to be a battle in itself. 

    What the people of Christchurch need is a good quality woolrest and a good quality wool winter duvet as electricity may not cope with demand.  It would make me feel better to know that the elderly, the young and the sick are not freeezing at night.
    I have not heard anything from the government to assist people to purchase a woolrest and a wool duvet.  This is what is important.  (There are some good bargins when on special for both items).  Getting up to go to the toilet in the night is going to take a bit of nerve, at least a warm bed to climb back into may offer some comfort.
    Money to bail out SCF but not to keep people warm to avoid having to see a GP. 

  17. Treetop 17

    Is the plastic waka part of the coalition deal?  If this is the best the Maori Party can do bring on Hone.  Has anyone seen a comment from Hone on the waka?  If he is for it I’ll eat my words.

  18. Tel 18

    Odds on a more appropriate 10 Storey inflatable Mickey Mouse outside Key’s Kumeu electoral office wont get any funding and yet it pretty much sums up the last three years. OK perhaps a Warners funded giant inflatable Daffy Duck with a loudspeaker booming out to the local populace “Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I’m rich.”
    Anti-spam word: Leach. Yep. A giant leach.

  19. Treetop 19

    Remember the tourism venture that Suzanne Paul was involved in, it partly bombed because it was not launched during the peak tourism season.  This caused Paul to be bankrupt.  I think the only money to be made off the waka will be from the sale of alcohol.

  20. prism 20

    Maori might be trying to cash in on the RWC!  Isn’t that what the government is doing, why it’s puring money into it!!  There is a fervent hope that it will pay for itself, raise our tourist profile etc.
     
    Auckland Maori are just showing that they have a better business head than most people on this blog.   And while the point that it should not be in PVC is valid, all the other snickety remarks about plastic as if it isn’t a genuinely useful material show impractical dreamers at work.  Plastic apparently doesn’t rank with all you aristocrats who only want the finest and costliest materials available for the edifices you will never build because you don’t know how to.

    • Treetop 20.1

      I think that Suzanne Paul has a good business head.  Rawaka the Maori tourism business was located on Fisherman’s Wharf in Auckland.  It folded around 2005 insite of being connected to tourism.  
      http://www.herbusinessmagazine.com/Articles/March+08.html

      Scroll done to Her inspiration

    • Puddleglum 20.2

      Hi Prism,

      I think it’s fine that an iwi wants to cash in on the RWC – certainly just as fine as anyone else trying to do that. I’m also unconcerned about ‘tackiness’ – I find a lot of things tacky and, very often, they make their producers lots of money.

      If the local iwi can cajole the government into funding this kind of venture then, in one sense, good luck to them. My concern is with the government backing this one-off venture to this extent without, at a minimum, maintaining ownership of the ‘asset’ after the RWC and doing some sort of analysis of how it might contribute to a broader strategy around RWC.

      I’m also all for treaty settlements and Maori entrepreneurship. A good deal of settlement money has gone into such entrepreneurship and I have no beef with that either.

      Once again, it’s just that the government has spent a considerable amount of money on what does seem like pork-barrell politics to help out political allies and their patrons. At the least the government should have planned well in advance to showcase Maori culture to RWC visitors and, perhaps, set aside a fund to achieve that (perhaps via Tourism New Zealand). This seems to have come out of the blue and be very targeted to a particular idea from a particular iwi. (A bit like that curious $4m budget line.)

  21. freedom 21

    small matter to consider is the scale and layout of the interior does not suggest location of the WC’s
     
    so portaloos out the back is it? or is this going to require a massive physical installation of infrastructure and become ‘semi-permanent’
     
    In NZ liquor laws there are pretty clear toilet/diner ratios, even on temporary liscences.
    Unless of course the Waka Maori is going to be an unliscensed venue which would be fitting with the respectful relationship to culture this venue is professing to represent   ;]

  22. tc 22

    It’s a waka as the monorail projects been given to some mates of sideshow….apparenty they turned down the initial offer of several high position on the MP’s list.

  23. BLiP 23

    A plastic waka? Plastic? Hmmm . . . now that’s what I call “mana enhancing”. Thanks Pita, I’m lovin’ it.

  24. Sookie 24

    This uber-tacky plastic waka would pay for 10 new houses for low income Christchurch families. It would also keep about 40-50 so-called ‘useless’ public sector workers in their jobs. DOC could sure use 2M whacked on their stretched budget right now for killing possums and gorse. I am amused, but freaking angry. The comments on Stuff are pretty epic and rageful and worth a look.  

  25. gobsmacked 25

    So, on the one hand there is overwhelming public criticism (see Stuff poll mentioned above, 90% +).

    On the other hand, the PM says it is “value for money”:

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/newsdetail1.asp?storyID=193972

    Experienced Key-watchers will know what happens next … private polling will confirm the “anti” mood, Key will quickly back away, hang Minister out to dry, and – of course – press the “Distraction” button.

    Trouble is, the Rugby World Cup is supposed to be THE “Distraction”. Oops.

  26. Samuel Hill 27

    From our beloved NZ Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10717399

    Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer rejected Labour Party MP Shane Jones’ claim the project was “idiocy” and would expose Maori to ridicule.

    “This is no crass bouncy castle. This will look spectacular and good on Ngati Whatua for taking the lead on this.
    “Importantly, this will put Maori up in lights for what is the third largest sporting tournament in the world.
    “The 40,000 extra visitors in Auckland for October will have rugby on their minds. If we are to successfully communicate any Maori or cultural messages they need to be very obvious.”

    Can somebody explain to me:

    What are the connotations of an Auckland Councillor with strong links to the National Party saying the what appears to be a waka shaped pub is his idea of successfully representing Maori at the World Cup.

    My opinion as that should anybody push this hard enough, National have opened a huge box of worms. Is this why they don’t want anything to with it after its built? Are they trying to ride the wave of enthusiasm that will come by people getting drunk at the World Cup? 

  27. prism 28

    This link to NZ Herald gives four views of what is intended for the waka building.  I  looked on google for mention of it as I read somewhere it is partly built and I wondered when it was started.   There should be a mention of it in the news, but I was unsuccessful in finding anything.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/image.cfm?c_id=1&gal_objectid=10717399&gallery_id=117753#7505614

  28. ianmac 29

    Looking at the proposed interior of the Waka, I can’t imagine a more unlikely impractical design. A long narrow table filled place would be terrible for viewing to the front if that is what is planned. I refuse to  sit behind halfway.To service if it is meant for dining heaven help the waiters – kitchen somewhere? Or if it is to display artifacts to a sporting crowd. Cannot see a useful purpose at all. Perhaps a urinal along the inside of a wall?

  29. Drakula 30

    At 10.50pm I get tired of taking in all the guff on this issue but I do see the voice of reason who has sown up this whole sorry saga most succinctly.

    7.6% for and 92.4% against

    Says it all really except my green mate Toad who has pointed out that PVC is the most toxic of plastic.

    Plastic balooned waka? how tackey the idea is a rip off of pop artist Jeff Coones.

    Don’t you think we had better move on?

    The sustainable and equitable 21st century??

  30. Zhou 31

    The whole thing is premised on the notion that crowds of tipsy punters will turn up eager to part with hard-won lucre.
     
    The last time I looked, the economies of rugby-playing nations were not doing so well. Certainly not the EU.
     
     

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