A tweeting Minister

December 8th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan at NZ Herald writes:

Economic Development Minister has taken a leaf out of Obama’s book by taking to to chew out high-tech entrepreneur for raising hell over the Endace takeover.

Joyce’s Twitter exchange was more prosaic than the US President’s, but no less focused.

What got up Joyce’s nose was the implication that Pellett – who is a cherished Labour Party favourite – was having a bob each way on the issue du jour: whether Endace should pay back $11 million of Government R&D loans it received before it passes into 100 per cent foreign ownership, substantially enriching its founders.

Let’s say upfront that Pellett has been a thorn in the Government’s side.

I expect he will be on the Labour Party list. He is their biggest cheerleader on Twitter.

He is a spokesman for the Productive Economy Council and has kicked the Government’s shins hard over its plans to sell down its holdings in state-owned assets. So it’s no surprise that Joyce – who has been remarkably unrestrained recently – took the opportunity to have a slash back. …

The Twitter battle between Joyce and Pellett was great sport:

“So you collect taxpayer support, decide to sell shares, make lots of money & then moan about it in @nzherald #unbelievable … BTW R & D co-funding is about doing R&D in NZ, not supporting individuals. But happy 4 u 2 repay so we can fund others,” Joyce tweeted at Pellett.

Pellett tweeted back: “Mr Joyce, you should check all yr facts. Interesting a Minister would target an individual for speaking out on policy.”

It’s called . It is fine to target people for that.

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6 Responses to “A tweeting Minister”

  1. AG (1,759 comments) says:

    People might want to actually read Fran’s article, which actually is more supportive of Pellett’s position in this discussion than you might think from DPF’s somewhat selective editing. For instance, she continues (just after the point DPF stops quoting her) by saying:

    “In a subsequent tweet, Pellett said: “@stevenljoyce on record 4 a long time about the need to get grants stopped & switched to convertible notes. Public agree why not?”

    Joyce knows Pellett has a point.”

    In other words, if Joyce really wants “paid back” by businesses/entrepreneurs that cash out after getting government help, then why isn’t the government treating its R&D support for business as an equity investment, rather than a strings-free handout? That’s something Joyce could actually do something about … .

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  2. Akld Commercial Lawyer (160 comments) says:

    I beg to differ. The dialogue is disappointing on a variety of levels and, (IMHO) unusually for her I am not sure that Fran has done her homework. Instead the Herald piece read more like a reaction to the political element underpinning the story – which I am trying to steer clear of. Having worked with applicants for R & D grants, the practical reality is that much of that R & D is some distance removed from the sort of business case that would support (say) the Crown taking a balance sheet position. There are a range of views about this – many too detailed for a MSM article. From my observation, MSI do a pretty good job applying quite detailed criteria – but the bottom line is that the return to the taxpayer is often that the R & D is conducted in NZ using NZ’ers. The folk conducting the R & D are often some of our brightest and best, doing great work for quite low returns. If they get paid to do the work and pay income tax (and there will an GST element too) the taxpayer has already enjoyed a return. I suspect that if further investment criteria were applied that resulted in the Crown being issued some form of convertible note (or whatever) it will add a layer of complexity that the MSI process is not designed to deliver. That is what the vc fund (VIF) is for. From my small involvement in this space it is simply not correct to make a comparison between the R & D funding and (say) that granted to ANZCO by another govt agency using different criteria. Nonetheless, the debate is a healthy one to have so long as it does not jeopardise the good work MSI are doing. The lead times for some of this R & D are often long, but (I think) it fosters the sort of innovation that is more likely to trigger the transformations that this funny little economy needs than tub-thumping about some of the grandiose schemes that politicians (of all shades) have been talking about of late.

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  3. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    “Interesting a Minister would target an individual for speaking out on policy.”

    Yes, interesting, but not without precedent. Natasha Fuller? The Government can’t stand criticism. I’d have thought Joyce had better things to do than make a twit of himself.

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  4. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    ross69,

    You forgot Erin Leigh

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  5. Scott1 (444 comments) says:

    Ross,
    It is pretty annoying to know the public is being sold an incorrect impression and not be able to correct them…
    sure we don’t want to see people trawling through our private lives for things to attack us with but if there happened to be something highly relevant to the topic…

    I imagine that politicians often get asked an awkward series of questions all assuming that what an individual said was true and that they need to reply also assuming it is true even when they KNOW it isn’t.

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  6. CJPhoto (213 comments) says:

    Pellett has long been on record saying this needs to change, but to refuse the funding as set out by the govt would be stupid.

    Others are also on record as saying this.

    So why would Joyce attack him even though he is trying to help. Must be the ‘never agree with the opposition’ rule.

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