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I have to say that I'm really pee'd off with this government and its attitude to research and development in New Zealand.
Last week, John Key was off in the USA offering to line the pockets of the rich movie studios with many, many millions of dollars (taken from the pockets of Kiwi taxpayers).
It seems that Key is more than happy to effectively invest NZ taxpayer's money in overseas companies rather than local ones.
It seems that Key is more than happy to subsidise US companies to develop hugely valuable intellectual property but pays nothing but lip-service to the hi-tech industries in NZ's who could also create a treasure-trove of locally-owned IP for the benefit of all NZers.
What kind of jobs does Key want for NZers?
Is he really satisfied to create opportunities for some part-time work as extras on a Hollywood movie when he could be helping create high-paying opportunities for NZ's best and brightest -- the very best and brightest that are right now skipping the ditch to Oz and elsewhere?
Surely this is utterly crazy?
Of course Key is not alone -- Helen Clark was also very prone to schmoozing with the movie industry and its players. What is it about these moguls and celebs that seems to attract Prime Ministers (loaded with *our* money) like moths to a flame?
Is it simply that our leaders would rather enjoy photo-ops and rub shoulders with "the pretty and the powerful" rather than the geeky and intelligent?
Are they really so myopic that they can't see how much more sensible it would be to invest in New Zealanders and NZ ventures that stand to enrichen the entire nation than to simply line the pockets of overseas movie companies with our tax dollars and a cheap casual labour force?
We often hear of the jobs these movies create - but they are low-value and temporary. Surely it's far better to create local hi-tech industries that provide strong export receipts, permanent employment for Kiwis with high rates of pay and a wide range of positions from cleaners through to research scientists?
Offering bigger cash incentives to get the movie-makers to film stuff here is a mug's game anyway. We're competing against Australia, Canada and a raft of other countries who are equally (or more) willing to open-up their taxpayer's coffers for a bit of attention from the lime-light industry.
Australia is already talking about increasing its incentives to 30% -- against NZ's present level of 15%. It's bidding war, and one that I really don't think we should be involved in.
If NZ has the best scenery in the world then let the movie companies come here and film it because it *is* the best scenery in the world. Don't take money from the mouths of the poor just so that the mega-rich moguls of the movie industry can buy a bigger boat next year.
And remember -- to get NZ's R&D activities off the ground, it wouldn't cost the taxpayer a single red cent -- if it were done properly. But no, it seems that our silly, globe-trotting, lime-lighting politicians will do anything in the hope that some of that limelight will rub off on them. After all, it's not *their* money they're spending, is it?
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