The decision by the owner of Christchurch’s AMI Stadium, V-Base, not to insure its pitch will cost the government $4.1 million. That’s the amount the taxpayer is giving to the company.
But Key’s government is not being so generous to other uninsured folk. The Government has steadfastly refused to compensate uninsured householders for damage suffered to their homes during the September and February quakes.
So why is the stadium different? Ministers would argue, no doubt, that the stadium is integral to the identity of Cantabrians, and that getting rugby and cricket back there as quickly as possible will be critical to recovery.
But the Government’s moralising and preaching to the uninsured homeowners starts to sound hollow when it turns out that insurance was available for the turf, and that it wasn’t even necessarily that expensive.
This looks like a textbook case of corporate welfarism. Of particular concern is the admission by V-Base chief executive Bryan Pearson on Morning Report today that the money was coming with no preconditions at all. Presumably, then, the company could take the money and blow the lot on booze, cigarettes and lotto tickets.
We are frequently being told how irresponsible people on welfare are when money is just thrown at them. So we should insist the Government pays the $4.1 million over in Mitre 10 vouchers instead of cash.