Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When is a subsidy not a subsidy?

When its handed out by National to its cronies, of course!

Today in Question Time, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce attacked the whole idea of green growth as being all about subsidies (which is simply wrong). Then he turned around and denied that the $1.2 billion a year the government hands to polluters under the ETS, the billions it spends on unnecessary roads, or the undercharging of heavy transport were subsidies. Finally, to add insult to injury, the next question was a patsy so the government could spout about its recent seismic survey of Northland - a direct subsidy to the mining industry.

(As for green growth, one of the most effect ways of kickstarting it is to make industry pay the true costs of polluting activities, thus forcing innovation. This is not a subsidy, but the direct elimination of one. It is telling that National is simply unable to tell the difference).