Now that we're in the business of guaranteeing winners by making public policy in their favour, the sky is the limit.

The Labour-Green Government today announced it had reached agreement with five "green-tech" start-up companies to create a "New Futures" industrial hub in Wellington. Under the terms of this agreement, the companies have committed to build plant, conduct R&D activities and produce goods for the next 35 years.

In exchange, the Labour-Green Government has guaranteed that the five companies will be paid an annual subsidy of $12 million a year for that period of time, with the companies entitled to compensation of up to $400 million should any future Government should try to welch on the deal.

"This is a huge win-win for New Zealand Inc.", said Minister of Economic Development Gareth Hughes. "The development of these industries will provide much-needed jobs in a dying city, whilst creating the technologies needed to build a sustainable future.

"What's even better, there's no way our political opponents can complain about what we're doing ... at least, not without looking like gigantic hypocrites."

Then he gave Clint a hug, and walked off laughing like a maniac.

Comments (6)

by John Williams on May 14, 2013
John Williams

Absolutely on the button! All hell would megaphone from the Right if that were to happen.

by stuart munro on May 14, 2013
stuart munro

All hell breaks loose anyway. Most right wing rants are designed to rubbish opposition policies and suppress thought among busy, sceptical New Zealanders. One should not take them seriously, the authors themselves frequently don't. A prime example is all this red/green 'watermelon' crap about the Greens. This is not even NZ rhetoric, it's borrowed from toxic US republican and Teaparty tactics. Agitprop may yet do what National's consistently unsuccessful economic policies cannot -  make them electable.

by Nick Gibbs on May 14, 2013
Nick Gibbs

Interesting column but govt is always doing business with private companies; designing and managing software and computer systems, putting up buildings, redeveloping cities even...The new idea here is that despite commercial and legal agreements with the current administration, the opposition is now saying they'll rip up those agreements declaring them null and void. Sky city is already standing, pokies are here and I don't see that changing. As a law professor would you really advise the Greens to void our legal obligations?

by Andrew Geddis on May 14, 2013
Andrew Geddis


No. I wouldn't. But as my previous post pointed out, Governments of all hues (including the current one) do things that are pretty constitutionally outrageous on a fairly regular basis. So I'd caution against selective outrage.

In addition, now that the precedent is set to structure commercial and legal obligations so that they pay off over a 35 year period, could you complain if a government of a different hue sought to embed their vision of how the economy ought to operate through a "commercial" deal of the sort I outline here? Which was the real point of the post.

by Jane Beezle on May 14, 2013
Jane Beezle

Come on, Andrew!

You promised a post of "Old Testament fury" when the government failed to deliver on the MMP review.

(Which it set in motion, at what must be a $15 million cost all up).

Let's have it!  Typing fingers shaking with rage, methinks ...


by Andrew Geddis on May 14, 2013
Andrew Geddis


It's up now. More of a Revelation 3:16 sort of post (look it up - it's a thing!)

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