Thursday, December 09, 2010

Your tax dollars in action

Back in October, during the furore over The Hobbit, New Zealand was visited by a team of "heavy-hitters" from Warner Brothers, who extracted millions of dollars in subsidies from us as well as a change in our labour laws to clarify that all film workers were peons. That's outrageous enough, but there's another outrageous aspect to this private big business lobbying trip: we paid for part of it. A reader has sent me the results of their inquiries using the Official Information Act into the Warners visit. They show that Warners' executives received full government VIP treatment [PDF], including customs facilitation (usually reserved for visiting Ministers and heads of state, and bypassing normal security procedures), VIP transfer from Auckland's international to domestic terminal, and VIP transport using ministerial limousines within Wellington. The total cost for this? $5,948 [PDF].

Your tax dollars in action, people - spent on further subsidising the ultra-rich executives of one of the world's richest companies, so they could visit and deal with one of New Zealand's richest men. And its classic National: they have plenty of money for the rich, but none for the people who actually need it.