Many of my friends and associates are small business owners. They took several deep breaths when the Prime Minister threw the country into her exaggerated and ill-conceived lock down. They hunkered down and did the best they could to keep their staff and their businesses in survival mode. Most of them were able to make it but one more week of lockdown would have destroyed 50% of them.

Other than the wages grants, they received ABSOLUTELY NO financial support from the government. The eventual government loans were so paltry they weren’t worth the trouble of filling in the forms, so they struggled on alone. Most are still struggling and living in fear of what might come next as it becomes clearer by the day that the government never did have a plan and still doesn’t have a clue what to do next.

Meanwhile, these people have had to tighten their belts and are rapidly sliding down the income scale. They’re not quite there yet, but “poverdy” is very much within reach. Some of their staff have had hours reduced. Some have had to go. They are already crossing that “poverdy” line.

Our self-appointed Minister of Child Poverty Reduction can register yet another FAIL for herself and her totally inept government. Not only for the fact that they made no headway on this through the good times but, with COVID-19 grants, they have doled out millions of taxpayer dollars to some of the richest people in New Zealand.

Let’s make no bones about it. A J Hackett Bungy getting grants and loans worth over $10 million is beyond questionable.

Peter Newport writes at Crux (a website dedicated to quality investigative journalism in Queenstown, Wanaka and Central Otago):

Not only is every single name on the A J Hackett share register linked to other sources of local wealth, much of it in mass tourism, but other recent Government grants have also favoured this same Queenstown Rich Man’s Club.

Sir John Davies, a former QLDC Mayor, runs NZ Ski through his company Trojan Holdings.

Trojan owns 40% of A J Hackett. The Labour Government on Friday waived most of the fees that Davies’ companies were paying to the Department of Conservation for Coronet Peak, the Milford/Routeburn Tracks and the Remarkables ski fields, often using publicly owned DOC land. -On top of that NZ Ski has made The Remarkables ski field access into a Toll Road and warns off non-paying ski field “trespassers” for “safety reasons.”

One of the directors of Trojan Holdings is Dunedin accountant Murray Valentine, who is linked to the controversial “industrialised” dairy farming of the Mackenzie Basin in the shadow of Aoraki Mount Cook.

The Sir John Davies purchase of a $23 million private jet for his son is also enigmatic as the businesses Sir John and his family own include The Hermitage Hotel at Aoraki Mount Cook and Ultimate Hikes (Milford/Routeburn Tracks)  – all better accessed by road from Queenstown.

Apart from A J Hackett’s founders (Hackett and Van Asch) and Sir John Davies, the company is linked to Andrew Brinsley who has multiple interests locally including Millbrook and the Lakes Weekly Bulletin, The Queenstown News App and numerous restaurants that are part of the Good Group. His directorships fill three pages on the Companies Office Website, but he also likes to keep a low media profile.

Add to all of that the fact the Jacinda Ardern’s Friday visit was virtually hijacked (or should that be hosted?) on Friday by Mayor Jim Boult (and Wayfare Chairman) and his new Wayfare Group CEO Ian Jackson. Add Wayfare (owners of Cardrona/Treble Cone/TSS Earnslaw/Walter Peak/Milford-Doubtful Sounds via Real Journeys) to Trojan Holdings/Hackett and you have a virtual clean sweep of the Labour Government’s support for the rich and secretive elite of Queenstown.

$85 million was also given on Friday to Mayor Boult’s “shovel ready” Queenstown CBD upgrade plan that many locals now see as surplus to requirements and not the best use of a large amount of Government cash.

I apologise for the length of the quote, but the picture it paints is very important and frankly, I couldn’t decide which parts to leave out. It’s all explosive information.

The political swamp in New Zealand is every bit as bad as the one Trump is trying to clean out in Washington.

The Prime Minister would do well to drop the “reduction” off the end of her title. She can celebrate being the Minister of Child Poverty, having significantly grown it, and while she’s at it, maybe reconsider her use of the word prime.


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I've worked in media and business for many years and share my views here to generate discussion and debate. I once leaned towards National politically and actually served on an electorate committee once, but the party lost its way and is still lost in the wilderness. Nearly voted Labour once when Roger Douglas was Minister of Finance. I could never see my way clear to voting for NZ First for many reasons but I'm far from committed to one party or one set of views. Years ago I supported Bob Jones and the New Zealand Party and a quest for change and I have voted for Act more than once. Today, politically I don't have a natural home - so I have an open mind.