Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says it is highly symbolic that Prime Minister John Key was in Los Angeles dining with Warner Brothers at same time as Kiwirail workers at Dunedin’s Hillside workshops were being handed their redundancy letters.
“The National Government couldn’t stump up a mere $7 million to get Hillside workers to build government owned KiwiRail’s latest batch of new wagons, instead giving the work to China,” says Ms Murray.
“This is despite the tax the Government would get back, the flow on effects for the local economy, and savings from not sending millions of NZ dollars offshore, if the National Government had supported New Zealand industry and New Zealand workers by building locally.”
But while John Key and the National Government are “hands off” when it comes to New Zealand workers, they are “open wallets” when it comes to overseas movie execs.
Look at the deal given to massive multinational corporation Warner Brothers last year for making just one movie – the Hobbit.
One movie cost the government and the country close to $100 million in tax rebates and marketing credit.
And it would appear that right now John Key is having a good old time in LA and passing on the message that there is plenty more where that came from.
Warner Brothers will be laughing all the way to the bank, unlike redundant Hillside workers.
“Many of these workers are beside themselves with worry over how they will afford the mortgages on their homes and support their families,” says Ms Murray.
There is something seriously wrong when a multinational movie company which makes make enormous profits from its movies is handed gold-plated taxpayer subsidies – while our Government outsources its own essential work overseas to exploit low paid workers and sends skilled New Zealanders onto the dole queue.
“We are clearly no longer living in New Zealand – we are living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.”