The Corporate Con

Most of our elected officials want to do the right thing. They want everyone to have a reasonable standard of living. But they are being led astray. Corporate heads tell our politicians that they can help with this, and our politicians believe them.

These corporate heads have got national and local politicians of every stripe falling over themselves to assist their corporations to make money in New Zealand, in the mistaken belief that their corporations are going to make money for New Zealanders.

The corporate heads tell our politicians that providing them with incentives to operate in New Zealand will boost our economy. Certainly, New Zealanders will buy their products/services and give them our money. Whether we will see much of theirs is another matter.

The corporates promise to create jobs. But they don’t say whether they are good jobs, well paid, secure, safe, career jobs – the sort of jobs we would wish for ourselves and our children and grandchildren. And our politicians don’t ask.

Nor do our politicians ask whether the new jobs created are at the expense of existing jobs in locally owned services and industries that have been forced out of business by the arrival of the transnational corporation.

Take the recent visit to China by a raft of ministers, officials, and heads of business organizations. Our Prime Minister hustled for the tourism industry. His coup was bringing 10,000 Chinese Amway workers to Queenstown for a week’s training in 2018. We are told this will boost the economy by more than fifty million dollars. We are not told much of that will disappear offshore as profits for the overseas owners of the hotels and other amenities.

We don’t need more jobs in Queenstown. Nobody can afford to live in Queenstown. Hospitality and service industry jobs are poorly paid and insecure, and rents exorbitant. So most of the jobs created will likely be filled by travellers with work visas, who don’t mind sleeping in bunks, and who leave as soon as they have enough money for the next leg of their journey.

Amway sending its workers to New Zealand for training is not a bad thing, nor is young people spending working holidays in New Zealand. But it hardly warrants sending the Prime Minister and his entourage to China to drum up a special deal.

The corporations are not our saviours. No matter what the corporate heads say, corporations are in New Zealand to increase their own profits and take them offshore. Corporations do not care about what happens to New Zealand or New Zealanders.

Corporate heads know a lot about making money for their corporations but very little about sharing the wealth with the rest of us. Politicians who believe everyone is entitled to a reasonable standard of living should look elsewhere for advice on how to achieve this.