Tag Archives: Taxpayers

Govt Debacle : Lost-luggage bill #universities #conscience

Lost luggage[whatifdunedin]

The sole purpose of National MP Nuk Korako’s bill is to require airports to advertise lost property more widely than in the newspaper.

### NZ Herald Online 9:15 AM Wednesday Aug 17, 2016
Lost-luggage bill has MPs in stitches
By Isaac Davison – political reporter
The National Party backbencher thrust into the spotlight by his bid to help recover lost property at airports has mounted a spirited defence of his widely mocked proposal. […] When it was pulled from the member’s bill ballot last week, Labour said it showed National had “lost the plot”. Today, Labour MPs set about picking it apart in Parliament, tabling a series of questions for the National MP. Korako, in his most high-profile moment since entering Parliament, thanked them for the opportunity to “profile his bill”.
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Students’ changing preferences have forced a difficult task on the University of Otago.

ODT Online Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Jobs must be cut now to secure division’s future
By Prof Tony Ballantyne
OPINION The proposed changes in staffing in the Humanities Division at the University of Otago have been subject to sustained media comment and critical commentary. […] The reason for the proposed changes is quite simple: there has unfortunately been a sustained decline in student numbers over the past seven years. Because of this, there is a growing gap between the division’s cost and income and it now depends on subsidies of many millions of dollars each year from other parts of the university.
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The place of humanities in a university raises issues that extend far beyond one department.

ODT Online Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Universities succeed when they produce thoughtful leaders, not technocrats
By Emeritus Prof Gareth Jones
OPINION […] We need lawyers who understand biomedical science or elements of commerce; we need doctors who have an appreciation of the medical humanities, let alone of English literature or Maori worldviews. The examples are endless but each one in its own way points away from any silo mentality and towards the notion that universities should be producing well-rounded, thoughtful and well-educated graduates.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.

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Auckland Council: Hark to DCC’s well-tried model of corporate welfare

Sky City International Convention Centre [via stuff.co.nz]Sky City International Convention Centre and hotel.

Somebody ruthlessly slips the word “National” into the name for Auckland’s proposed convention centre.

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:32, December 22 2014
Auckland Councillors blast Sky City ‘corporate welfare’
By Niko Kloeten
Auckland ratepayers should not have to pay for a blow-out in the cost of the Sky City National (sic) Convention Centre, councillors say.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce raised the prospect of the Auckland Council chipping in to help fund the project, after new estimates revealed the cost could blow out by as much as $128 million. The increase in cost could leave taxpayers on the hook for any shortfall, but Joyce said the council could provide some assistance. “If you look at the Wellington Council, they’ve just done a deal to do a convention centre there, a much smaller one, but they’ve under-written some operating costs and that might help was well,” he told Radio New Zealand.
Howick councillor Dick Quax said the money would be better spent on the city’s much-needed transport projects, several of which have been delayed due to funding pressures. “It could be the beginning of an endless group of corporates coming to the council with their hands out. I don’t support corporate welfare at all.”
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█ Dunedin City Council bought professional rugby and simultaneously lost 152 cars. But wait, there’s more.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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NZRU ‘hustles’ towns and cities to build stadiums

What happens to our cathedrals, the large stadiums found in every major centre, if we lose faith?

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 14/06/2014
Sport
What about the state of New Zealand stadiums?
By Matt Nippert
[Excerpts from a longer article…] The covered 31,000-seat Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, constructed in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, may be the newest major sporting facility in the country but has already proved the most controversial. The bulk of its $224 million construction cost came from Dunedin City Council, but ongoing costs to ratepayers have caused considerable angst. Ratepayers were forced into a $2.3m bailout in May, and are mulling whether a permanent annual subsidy will be required to keep it running.

Getting to grips with exactly how much stadiums cost is a tricky exercise. Construction has often been piecemeal, with grandstands redeveloped or rebuilt over time, blurring total capital expenditure. And determining operational costs – whether stadiums require ongoing contributions by ratepayers – is further complicated by many facilities being run from within city councils or by council-controlled organisations. This makes the extraction of a discrete set of accounts, most notably in Dunedin and Waikato, an impossibility.

Analysis of accounts for Wellington and Auckland, run by dedicated trusts and two of the most transparent stadiums, shows that break-even is realistically the best case.

At New Zealand Rugby headquarters, chief executive Steve Tew broadly agrees that the glory days [of attendance at games] are over. Viewers watching broadcasts of a game have supplanted punters going through stadium turnstiles.

But there is one niche where the faith of the rugby faithful remains strong: All Blacks tests. Hosting the national team is often the only time stadiums up and down the country reach capacity.

While great for New Zealand Rugby coffers, Massey University’s Sam Richardson says the All Blacks have warped stadium construction priorities. “It’s an absolutely huge detriment. If you’re building a stadium where the financial viability year to year relies on an All Blacks test, there’s no question New Zealand Rugby plays a massive part in whether these facilities are going to be used to their potential,” he says.

Canterbury University economist Eric Crampton says building capacity for a solitary annual All Black test is akin to “buying a six-bedroom house just in case both sets of grandparents come to visit at the same time”. Crampton says the proliferation of large loss-making stadiums, both in New Zealand and worldwide, has been mainly because of the economic equivalent of hustling. “Sporting teams have been able to convince councils all over the place – and have been able to play them off against each other by threatening to move – to build excessive stadiums.
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“Fifa, like the International Olympic Committee, is widely regarded as corrupt. In that, it reflects our flawed species; while capable of fabulous feats, a dark side lurks.”

### ODT Online Sat, 14 Jun 2014
Editorial: Revelling in sport
OPINION As Dunedin and the South gear up for the excitement of tonight’s rugby test in the city, a sporting event in another league entirely kicked off yesterday.
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Garrick Tremain – 14 June 2015

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Demolishing serious mistakes

Wayne County jail crushed [myfoxdetroit.com][Rebuilding Awatea Street?]

### myfoxdetroit.com Oct 17, 2013 11:03 AM Updated: Oct 18, 2013 2:40 AM
Wayne County’s new jail being turned into a pile of rubble
By Charlie LeDuff – FOX 2 News
DETROIT (WJBK) — So I’m driving by the Wayne County Jail and – look – what are they doing? Working on it again? Nope.

They’re taking it apart.

And where are they taking it? They’re bringing it to be crushed up into dust. $404 million dollars – WASTED.

We’ve told you for two years that this thing was going to be over budget and not be big enough. They’ve already sunk $200 million into it – plus interest. Don’t forget the interest. $404 million. So what’s the answer? They’re crushing it. They’re crushing it without having told the county commission, the news media and most importantly: the taxpaying public.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: myfoxdetroit.com – Wayne County jail crushed

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This is all painfully familiar…

blog.svconline.com

The trials of the Phoenix Coyotes, the least popular hockey team in the NHL, offer a lesson in public debt and defeat.

### theatlantic.com Sep 7 2012, 2:37 PM ET
Business
If You Build It, They Might Not Come: The Risky Economics of Sports Stadiums
By Pat Garofalo and Travis Waldron
In June, the city council of Glendale, Arizona, decided to spend $324 million on the Phoenix Coyotes, an ice hockey team that plays in Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena. The team has been owned by the league itself since its former owner, Jerry Moyes, declared bankruptcy in 2009. For each of the past two seasons, Glendale has paid $25 million to the league to manage the Coyotes, even as the city faced millions of dollars in budget deficits. Now, Greg Jamison, who is also part of the organization that owns the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, is making a bid for the team, and would therefore be the beneficiary of the subsidies.

“Take whatever number the sports promoter says and move the decimal one place to the left. Divide it by ten. That’s a pretty good estimate of the actual economic impact.”

To put the deal in perspective, Glendale’s budget gap for 2012 is about $35 million. As the city voted to give a future Coyotes owner hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, it laid off 49 public workers, and even considered putting its city hall and police station up as collateral to obtain a loan, according to the Arizona Republic. (The latter plan was ultimately scrapped.) Overall, Glendale is not only on the hook for $15 million per year over two decades to a potential Coyotes owner, but also a $12 million annual debt payment for construction of its arena. In return, according to the Republic, the city receives a measly “$2.2 million in annual rent payments, ticket surcharges, sales taxes and other fees.” Even if the Coyotes were to dominate the league like no other in recent memory and return to the Stanley Cup Finals year after year, the city would still lose $9 million annually.

“It’s kind of a perverse argument that taxpayers should subsidize this because businesses depend on this deal that isn’t viable.”

This is an altogether too common problem in professional sports. Across the country, franchises are able to extract taxpayer funding to build and maintain private facilities, promising huge returns for the public in the form of economic development.
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[Link supplied]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Why US Congress does not pass a budget

[supplied]

This may appear to be a problem just for the USA – it’s their government’s debt, right? However, if the US ‘implodes’ from that debt, the world’s financial markets will implode too, and then we’ll all be in deep, deep trouble!

WARNING: IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE REALITY AND WOULD RATHER NOT KNOW WHAT IS PREDICTED FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DO NOT WATCH THIS.

Not so complicated when it’s laid out in simple math. The pain that he’s talking about? Remember, government’s biggest source of income is ORDINARY Americans. Start getting ready for it as best you can.

Why Congress Does Not Pass a Budget

Published on Mar 14, 2012 by Hal Mason

See parallels to Dunedin City Council and its debt, and who will have to pay

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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You (New Zealanders) already own the state assets. Why sell them to the rich and conniving?

### ODT Online Wed, 23 Nov 2011
Opinion
Asset sales likely nail in coffin of fair society
By Simon Cunliffe

Power generators are strategic state assets guaranteed to return consistent dividends. They deal in a currency not only necessary to underpin economic growth in this country, but also critical to the comfort and health of every citizen. They are also already in the collective ownership of all New Zealanders.

There is no doubt, as Prime Minister John Key is fond of pointing out, the mixed-ownership model that he and his party are proposing for their partial sale of state assets can work extremely well. You only have to look as far as Air New Zealand, a successful company majority-owned by the Government and partly in private hands. The problem is not with the model; it is with the targeted assets.
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• Simon Cunliffe is deputy editor (news) at the Otago Daily Times.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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