$375 million subsidy for world's richest man

Wed, 18 Sep, 2019

“The Government has confirmed that its much-vaunted 'Wellbeing Budget' will improve the financial wellbeing of the world’s richest man”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford announced this morning that Amazon would produce the Lord of the Rings TV series in New Zealand. The Government has previously said that Amazon was offered a subsidy through the Screen Production Grant.

“The Screen Production Grant offers a 25 per cent subsidy, and the Lord of the Rings television series is worth $1.5 billion, meaning taxpayers could end up subsidising Amazon to the tune of $375 million.

“It defies belief that a left-wing government would line the pockets of Jeff Bezos at the expense of ordinary taxpayers.

“Even worse, the return to New Zealand on one dollar of spending through the Screen Production Grant could be as low as 70 cents. Far from improving our wellbeing, TV and movie subsidies are making us poorer.

“Labour and National have been locked in a costly race to the bottom to secure TV and movie productions and the photo opportunities that come with them.

“Every dollar spent on subsidies for television and movie productions is a dollar that can’t be spent elsewhere. We would be better off scrapping the Screen Production Grant, and other corporate welfare, and allowing taxpayers to keep the money.

“Rather than continue to spend billions on a failed TV and film subsidy scheme for Hollywood bigwigs, ACT would end this and other corporate welfare and implement a single, low tax rate.

“Our Freedom to Earn tax plan would implement a flat rate of income tax, and a company tax rate, of 17.5 per cent paid for by reducing low-value government spending.

“This would make New Zealand the most attractive place in the world to work and do business and would provide more opportunities for all New Zealanders.

“Moving away progressive taxation and political vote-buying through corporate welfare schemes would mean higher productivity, wages, job growth, and real wellbeing.”