$5.5m of your taxes so rich people can play golf

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman today announced a $5.5 million investment into two major golfing events.

Through the Major Events Development Fund $2.7 million will be committed to New Zealand Golf to support the hosting of the McKayson New Zealand Women?s Open from 2017 to 2019.

$2.8 million will also be invested over three years in support the annual ISPS Handa NZ Golf Open. The 2017 tournament gets underway in Queenstown tomorrow.

“These tournaments bring top-ranked international golfers to New Zealand, creating an opportunity to showcase our country to a global audience, including key tourism markets such as the US, China, Japan and Australia,” says Mr Bridges.

“Golf tourism in New Zealand is already thriving. It is estimated that over 61,000 international visitors played golf in New Zealand last year and contributed around $329 million to the economy.

“For the first time the New Zealand Women?s Open will be sanctioned by the LPGA, meaning we will be able to attract some of the best players in the world, as well as a large number of their supporters and fans.”

“This is a chance for New Zealand to see our very own Lydia Ko take on some of the best players in the world right here at home,” says Dr Coleman.

“With the Royal Wellington Golf club hosting the Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Championship in 2017, the New Zealand Open in Queenstown and now a LPGA tournament at the newly built Windross Farm Golf Club in Takanini, Auckland, we are building New Zealand?s reputation as a destination for world class golf events and golf tourism more generally.”

The ISPS Handa NZ Golf Open runs from 9 to 12 March in Queenstown and the Mckayson New Zealand Women?s Open from 28 September to 1 October.

The Government invests, through the Major Events Development Fund, in major events that generate significant immediate and long-term benefits to New Zealand.

Yeah right.

How are those long-term benefits of the America’s Cup going then?

This is nothing but corporate welfare.

On that basis, any business should be able to go to the government and ask for free money as long as they can demonstrate significant immediate and long-term benefit.

Oh wait. ?They can. ?And they have.

There is no doubt that a?NZ Golf Open would be commercially successful and sustainable without the government pouring in $5.5 million of hard earned tax payer dollars.

This is the kind of stuff that makes the Cronies accusation hard to dismiss. ?It’s always the rich people that get even more money. ?Free. ?Care of you and me.