Mike Hosking: Government drip feeding money to businesses is almost cruel

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 22 Sep 2020, 4:24PM
Rainbows End has temporarily closed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Photo / File
Rainbows End has temporarily closed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Photo / File

Mike Hosking: Government drip feeding money to businesses is almost cruel

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 22 Sep 2020, 4:24PM

There is something amiss about the tourism funding help.

Millions more got announced yesterday. Some make sense, some don’t.

But what we already know is from day one this thing has had trouble. The initial grants to the likes of AJ Hackett caused upset and surprise, as we went down that old track of, if you happen to be perceived to be rich, should you get any help at all?

It’s the same with the wage subsidy: if you got help but made a profit, you should pay it back. What was forgotten was the wage subsidy was to keep jobs, it wasn’t profit related.

Would jobs have been cut if the subsidy hadn’t been in place? Yes, so it did its job. It’s not up to employers to run their companies on a break even line to maintain workers.

As for tourism, the big trouble here is the admission we aren’t open to the world until a vaccine has been effectively handed out. You tell me when that is.

And given you can’t, because no one can, just how long are we keeping these businesses propped up for.

To my mind, AJ Hackett is a world class operator. They do attract tourist both domestic and international. Waitomo does the same thing, and Whale Watch is just as good.

But yesterday’s announcement includes Rainbows End. Now I’ll get myself in trouble here, but be honest, Rainbows End is not a tourist attraction or anywhere close to it.

Yes, tourists, mainly domestic, may well use it, but the original criteria was if the venue didn’t exist would tourism numbers be materially affected.

Whale Watch counts. Why? Because it’s the major attraction in Kaikoura. Honestly, are you cancelling the trip to Auckland if Rainbows End isn’t there?

Which is not to isolate out Rainbows End, any more than it is other recipients the Art Gallery, the Zoo, the Maritime Museum, and Kelly Tarltons.

We are getting into the area of guess work here. There all worthy businesses, but every city has a museum many have zoos and art galleries. They can’t and don’t all attract tourists in and of themselves, and they can’t all be propped up forever.

Eventually, tough calls have to be made.

If you insist on locking this country up from the world, casualties will result. Drip feeding them borrowed money is almost cruel. It offers no certainty and minimal hope - what sort of business plan is that?

 

 

 

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