Garner proves the point he is railing against

This is an ambitious Government that shouts from the rooftops about backing and rewarding enterprise and ideas.

Fact. It’s part of its election mantra. Isn’t it? Of course it is.

National is also (when it wants to be) a generous socialist beast that’s thrown millions at the private sector to promote events, companies and to keep jobs in this country.

It’s called corporate welfare. Forget housing, poverty and health ? we are world class when it comes to corporate welfare.

And so often Prime Minister John Key’s mob has made the right call and done the right thing by the masses.

Key is a wheeler-dealer, he sniffs a chance and makes it work. At times he’s quite impressive doing it too.

So it’s interesting that the Government balked at working with Duco Events when the company came cap in hand for cash to keep their man Joseph Parker boxing for a world title in New Zealand.

Don’t fund a blood sport, said the critics. Get a life. Those critics are blinded by their obvious hatred for the sport ? and they ignore the facts.

Boxing is a legitimate international sport that can turn people’s lives around. Yes, it’s shady and, yes, it’s run by dreamers, wide-boys and plonkers at times. But that’s not a good enough excuse to say no.

National has rolled out the red carpet and wads of red notes to anyone who has asked. This boxing fight should have been no different.

We rarely get world title events, and there would be the ability to leverage off it. Let’s underwrite some losses, let’s put it on free-to-air TV for all of New Zealand to see. Let the glass be half full.

Parker is one hell of a guy. Is he the finished product? Of course not. Not yet. But I’ve got to know this guy well. A more credible boxer you will not meet. This man and his family are humble and full of integrity. I back him.

Is this Government anti-boxing and anti-Duco? Duco certainly doesn’t feel like the chosen one and eventually on Friday withdrew its request for government cash.

But Duco is a risk taker. It is also brash and loud. Maybe the Government doesn’t like that.

Duco has put its backside on the line for years. National likes risk takers. National has backed risk before.

This Government put $1.9m into the NZ Golf Open (which Key attends). That’s elite. It’s held on a private course. And that failed to attract big names.

This Government gave money to the “cash-strapped” New Zealand Rugby Union for the Rio sevens programme. They’re a big business. They hardly need support.

Duco got money for putting on the NRL nines event in Auckland.

We gave $36m to that rich, elite sport called the America’s Cup.

We gave $600,000 to the Fast5 netball series.

We gave $17.25m to the boat-building business owned by one of the world’s richest men, Larry Ellison.

We are giving $1.5m to some ‘mud’ festival in Rotorua ? where participants will hear about the ‘history’ of the area too. Say what?

The Government has helped numerous private companies too with all sorts of start-ups.

I’m not anti-corporate welfare. We’ve been doing it for years and years.

It costs each and every household about $800 a year, according to the Taxpayers’ Union.

Look at the multibillion-dollar company Rio Tinto. We gave it a $30m handout to keep jobs in Bluff and Invercargill.

The right call, yes ? but corporate welfare went to one of the biggest conglomerates of them all.

I’m against all corporate welfare. ?That’s a consistent position to take. ?

As soon as you allow it, you get to the point of having to have criteria. ?What qualifies, what does not?

Duco’s request, clearly, failed the criteria as they have been applied in the past.

Even Trevor Mallard couldn’t see a stick to beat the government with and had to back the decision that Duco were being dicks.

But Duncan wants to take taxes and give it to a commercial operation that will then also charge people to view the fight, and it may not even go for more than a minute or two.

Garner is ?entitled to his?view that Duco deserves money taken by force from taxpayers. ?But it leaves him?compromised in the sense that he?opens himself up to anything that can make a minor business case. ?Or in this case, an emotional case.

Because let’s be clear – the pressure applied was all emotional. ?QUICK! ?ONLY DAYS LEFT!

Everyone with knowledge about the boxing industry says that it will be a bigger and better event if Parker fights in the US.

Nobody will come to New Zealand on the back of Parker, maybe, taking a points win over some other unknown.


– Duncan Garner, Stuff