Worthwhile or not?

March 28th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Government claims that last year’s America’s Cup campaign has paid for itself more than twice over have been criticised by the Taxpayers’ Union.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce yesterday released an independent report into the “direct and indirect benefits” of entering the high-speed yachting regatta.

“From a $36m taxpayer investment, the evaluation shows an estimated positive impact of $87m to the New Zealand economy,” Joyce said.

However, Taxpayers’ Union executive director Jordan Williams said there was no reason to celebrate the funding of a sport for rich men.

“The analysis is based on the questionable assumption that private money would not have flowed into Team New Zealand without taxpayers coughing up,” he said.

Do you think the funding of Team New Zealand is a good economic decision?

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60 Responses to “Worthwhile or not?”

  1. ShawnLH (5,124 comments) says:

    Probably, from a purely utilitarian pov. But it strikes me as the wrong question to be asking.

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  2. Nick R (507 comments) says:

    I’m very dubious about the claimed benefits. I think Government funding made more sense when the event was held in NZ. But I guess that is chicken and egg – without Government funding it seems unlikely it will ever be held here again.

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  3. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    Should never have been funded. Seriously – taxing everyone $36m to benefit a segment $87m? Even if you believe the $87. Only governments are this stupid.

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  4. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    Yes. Auckland is the City of Sails. Without innovation in the Marine industry NZ will lose that competitiveness from the top niche racing right down to the kids sailing clubs.
    Think of the children, lol, that’s a good one!

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  5. Manolo (13,780 comments) says:

    Must agree with KiwiGreg. If it’s such a wonderful investment , why not 100% propped by the private sector?

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  6. Lance (2,655 comments) says:

    There are multiple issues here including direct boost to the economy, support for an industry, recognition of NZ as a world leader in more than just Rugby etc etc.

    However I do suspect these are hard to quantify despite the report.
    It is also very disingenuous to call this a sport for rich men when many people of various means go sailing and some hope to rise to greater things, sure The Ameria’s cup is at the high end but an entire industry supports all types of yachts, price brackets and participants.
    There will no doubt be howls of outrage from the economic purists but then if all economics was about cost/benefit all accountants and economists would be driving Skoda’s or what ever the cheapest POS was available.

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  7. trout (939 comments) says:

    These numbers do not take into account the taxpayer (and ratepayer) funded junkets to San Francisco that were taken by politicians and hangers on. The funding was not justified (a good earner for the sailors but). Not to mention that a big local superyacht Company is slowly sinking – in spite of the AC hype.

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  8. redqueen (563 comments) says:

    Taxing me so that we can divert resources to someone else’s pocket on the basis that it ‘boosts’ the economy…yeah nah… How about we let Kiwis decides what they’d like to spend their money on? I mean, I happen to enjoy boat racing, but that is the beauty of capitalism: I can choose how to spend my money. Alas, the Government seems to think it knows better. Between funding boat racing and, let’s say, expanding the motorway so I don’t sit in traffic…I can think of better uses of state funding!

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  9. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    That $36M would turn into a hell of a lot more than $87M if we had have won. If Team NZ was to be completely funded privately and we won; watch all of the freeloaders jump on the wagon. Tourism would be on the pigs back, as would be accommodation, entertainment, hospitality – all has a huge trickle down effect.
    Should we spend the next $36M on the Arts and Opera?

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  10. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    Such reports can be made to read as the writer intends so I think this report is a waste of money (without even bothering to read it ).

    I wonder, did they examine the opportunity loss ? ie, one of those people may have gone on to start up the next apple if they hadn’t had to work on the cup campaign.

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  11. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    Rich pricks spend 22 weeks getting on the piss, and 33% of the bill is prepaid by National’s Little Blue Smurfs! :cool:

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  12. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    Do you think the funding of Team New Zealand is a good economic decision?

    Absolutely not, it’s a crooked as low paid workers paying union subs so they can be donated to politicians to save politicians spending their own money on their self promotion.

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  13. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. $87m of revenue for a $36m investment seems pretty good to me, and with ETNZ having spent $153m of its budget in New Zealand, there’ll be a whack of GST, PAYE and company tax generated. Just as The Hobbit movies have had a very positive benefit in tourism spending in the last year, I think the Government got a pretty good return on its investment in the America’s Cup.

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  14. James Stephenson (2,180 comments) says:

    That $36M would turn into a hell of a lot more than $87M if we had have won.

    That $36m might have turned into more than $87m if it had been left with the people that earned it in the first place.

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  15. mikemikemikemike (325 comments) says:

    It’s social welfare for the (very) Rich. They are not sailors, they are not athletes. They are very expensive Bureaucrats.

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  16. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    “Do you think the funding of Team New Zealand is a good economic decision?”

    No.

    Funding them once was enough. To continue doing so is just a fool’s errand. Let them sink or swim on their own merits.
    If the yachties go overseas so be it.

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  17. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    @keeping stock. You keep spending to get revenue you won’t be in business long. Try chasing profit.

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  18. coventry (321 comments) says:

    Yes, it was worth while. It’s same with providing incentives for LOTR/Hobbit/Avatar, etc – if it all helps promote New Zealand and we see more tourist dollars as a result = win win in my books. And yes, if we hadn’t of choked, benefits would have been much greater.

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  19. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    Let’s not think of economics today, let’s bash the Government as usual.
    What is it about the blind and not seeing?

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  20. jawnbc (85 comments) says:

    Nope. Better to put the money into an organisation that support recreational and/or competitive sailing at the community level.

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  21. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I think some comments here are a bit confused and assuming the government made $87M from its $36M investment. The report refers to impact on the NZ economy overall – a much lower net benefit from the spending.
    It’s probably difficult to assess the overall impact though in terms of publicity, boost for marketing efforts etc.

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  22. NeutralObserver (95 comments) says:

    As an economic decision yes, because I can’t see the private sector being willing to coordinate and invest themselves – and so the Government had to make a decision with imperfect information, and probably made the right one.

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  23. Bob R (1,375 comments) says:

    Yes.

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  24. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    I prefered the old days when Michael Fay funded the bloody thing with HIS OWN MONEY. Which is why I was glad Oracle won – Ellison used his own money too.

    Let me put it this way. If there’s an economic benefit from the government funding it, imagine how much more there would be if it was the private sector!

    I’m sick of hardworking West Auckland tradespeople funding a bunch of Takapuna Grammar old boys with their taxes to mess about in boats. They can fuck off and find some rich prick to bail them out.

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  25. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    Well said BlairM

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  26. redqueen (563 comments) says:

    @BlairM

    Exactly.

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  27. flipper (4,067 comments) says:

    Geez, what a small minded, envious bunch of pricks some folks have become.

    When Blake won the America’s Cup I wrote him that in my considered view, it was the greatest sports/technological achievement ever, hugely out ranking everything else in both in complexity, new technology, required athletic ability, and the promotion of New Zealand by a country mile.

    As much as I have always admired Peter Snell and the track and field “shamateurs”, the All Blacks, and other sports “rats and mice”, they count for very little against the impact of America’s Cup victory. That said, the Rules were different when Blake won. The New Zealand required input was almost 100 per cent. Not so today, because like everything, including this blog, the world has moved on. But again New Zealand was the exception with an 80 – 90 % NZ input.

    6 – 7 was disappointing. 7 – 6 would have been justified, but that is sport. In the end, it seems, it all came down to technology. A large part of that was of New Zealand origin, but not, it seems, a key that enabled Oracle to tweak their boat a little better than ours.

    The benefits from a tiddly taxpayer contribution? I am with Steven Joyce.

    We spend more than enough on welfare, education, and health. Paying taxes is painful. I want some pleasure/satisfaction from what is stolen from me. The America’s Cup has given me, and thousands more, pleasure, tinged only by regret at valiant defeat by bigger and more powerful nations using talent and technology stolen from us.

    Joyce 10 Williams et al zip.

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  28. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    “That $36m might have turned into more than $87m if it had been left with the people that earned it in the first place.”

    This is the thing. Could the 36 million have been spent on better things or returned to the taxpayer who would go on and do great things. And would all of the people who worked on the campaign have just been sitting around on the dole if the cup had not happened?

    Even if the figures are true, I’m not sure they stack up against the productivity differential had those resource been gainfully employed elsewhere by astute business people as opposed to government bureacrats.

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  29. gump (1,649 comments) says:

    I don’t think we should fund the Americas Cup. It’s a race between yacht clubs – not between nations.

    The Team NZ sailors should find a wealthy patron if they want to challenge for the cup. That is what all the other syndicates have done.

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  30. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    $36M is roughly $7.66 per man, woman and child in NZ.
    Over a 5 year period that is say 3 cents each per week. I can afford that for enjoyment you tight bastards

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  31. James Stephenson (2,180 comments) says:

    I can afford that for enjoyment you tight bastards

    Sweet, I didn’t watch any of it, assuming you’re happy to pick up my share and send me that $7.66.

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  32. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    I didn’t watch some of the stuff that you watch James – guess we are even, or you may even owe me yeah?

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  33. EAD (1,087 comments) says:

    Quote from Robert A. Heinlein:

    “The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

    ‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”

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  34. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Better than paying unemployed and beneficiaries in my view and its often not the task itself but what derives from it.
    Think about Nasa and the products and services that derived their birth from the NASA program. Same with this stuff.

    At least this was well branded with NZ name unlike the efforts with subsidizing the hobbits etc. There the benefit was in the various no cost credits added to the dvd ‘s etc.

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  35. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    First, it seems most every big flower show, sports event, pop singer performance is reported as bringing X million dollars to city Y, when the figure is usually a stab in the air, and meaningless because no supporting data is provided.

    When yacht racing drags in few spectators, the value is particularly likely to be overstated. When the taxpayer handout is for a yachting event in another country, the economic-benefit to NZ claim will rely on forecasts of future business and is almost certainly bullshit.

    Second, if there is to be a subsidy, why not make it a prize. We’ll give you X dollars if you win. Why subsidise losers?

    Third, America’s Cup racing is a billionaire’s sport. Why are the taxpayers of a socialist state like NZ putting up money for this richies’ game?

    Fourth, our sports subsidies seem to be for entertainment rather than for health reasons, otherwise taxpayer funds would be going into low-level, big participant sports like touch rugby, tennis, swimming, the various types of weight and fitness training, basketball, bowls, club rugby, league, and soccer and especially for kids. From a health benefit view, that would be better than subsidies for America’s Cup racing and high-performance sports centres and international travel to hone athletes for Olympic performance and thus ultimately for entertainment of TV couch potatoes.

    Fifth, as entertainment, most yachting as a spectacle is like watching paint dry. America’s Cup racing with the possibility of a capsize is much better, but is always at the whim of the weather. America’s Cup racing depends on computer-generated graphics to make it interesting, but if this is what it takes to entertain the TV viewer, that viewer would be far better with one of a multitude of computer games, either on a dedicated games machine or on a PC or laptop or tablet.

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  36. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Jack5
    I think the government invests about $70M per year in national sporting organisations. The bulk of that I guess would go to supporting participation.

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  37. kiwi in america (2,454 comments) says:

    The Americas Cup races were broadcast live on NBC one of the US’s premier broadcast networks. David very nearly killed Goliath and Americans noticed. A comment I heard more than once was how does such a small country do so well. Despite losing in the end, for 3 weeks NZ’s excellence at a high tech sport was played out on one of the world’s most expensive and difficult markets to advertise in. If you were to distill out the positive comments made by US commentators about NZ across the regatta and spliced it together and calculated the prime time network advertising rate it would amount to millions. And then there’s the targeted NZ tourism advertising that appeared during the regatta and then various trade delegations at the heavily trafficked pavilion in San Francisco.

    It would not be hard to see an aggragate of $80million in benefits accruing to the NZ economy from these combined promotions.

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  38. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    KIA
    Pretty difficult to calculate the effect of those kinds of benefits. Overall, we’re talking about a pretty small piece of government expenditure though.

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  39. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    Money well spent. Beats the shit out of a ballet or symphony.

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  40. flipper (4,067 comments) says:

    mikenmild (8,074 comments) says:

    March 28th, 2014 at 10:48 am

    KIA
    Pretty difficult to calculate the effect
    ***

    Horsemanure !

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  41. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    Steve North Shore

    Thanks for volunteering to have our money spent for us – you’re a fucking socialist if you think you can speak for me and what my money should be spent on !

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  42. Gwilly (158 comments) says:

    A complete no brainer. Compared to much of the poor spending and wastage of tax payers money that goes on this was an outstanding investment.

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  43. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    Burt, give me your bank account number and I will give you $7.66, you poor miserable person.
    V2 is correct in my book. Rather my tax dollars spent on things I like instead of supporting some lazy useless dropkick.
    Btw, I do not downtick – it is childish.
    Seems minus is having a good day today

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  44. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “Over a 5 year period that is say 3 cents each per week. I can afford that for enjoyment you tight bastards”

    Fine. Of course the government doesn’t give us the choice of paying for it ourselves; these things are so good we must be compelled to pay for it!

    Anything else I have to say is well covered by Not PC

    http://pc.blogspot.co.nz/

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  45. Ed Snack (1,873 comments) says:

    Lance, leave off the Skoda jibes ! Skoda make pretty good cars these days, basically VW’s at a lower price. Now if you ment pre-“fall of the wall” Skoda’s, no argument

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  46. backster (2,172 comments) says:

    Most Nations and cities these days seem to spend Public Money to attract major sporting events expecting a collateral spendup to benefit the community. By that measure the expenditure could be justified, in my view, far moreso than the unknown huge amounts being spent in an endeavour to buy a seat on the UN Security Council for egocentric purposes.

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  47. Dazzaman (1,140 comments) says:

    BlairM has the beat.

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  48. lazza (381 comments) says:

    “A Cup” economic benefits … “Choke! … You are! joking right? … NOPE … does not doit for me.

    Also, we have the equally fatuous, unadulturated, Popular Mechanics … “Economics” (huh?) applied to … and

    …. trotted out by every two bit NZ Council

    … cost-benefitting their own particular ratepayer funded “Pet”

    festival, art exhibition, cultural bunfight … every … sports event … musical/wine pissup etc etc etc which …

    invariably is … as I mention … just self-serving Tosh-Bullshit.

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  49. Bob R (1,375 comments) says:

    ***I’m sick of hardworking West Auckland tradespeople funding .***

    @ BlairM,

    Do hardworking tradespeople in West Auckland benefit from promoting the NZ marine industry?

    http://www.nzboating-world.com/New-Zealands-$350-million-role-in-the-2013-Americas-Cup/113692

    As Ha-Joon Chang Govt points out, government assistance with industry and manufacturing isn’t always a bad thing.

    “For South Korea, it was government intervention that started POSCO, an iron and steel company that has grown to be the third largest in the world. Moreover, it supplied steel to the automobile and shipbuilding industries and was therefore a crucial foundation for Korea’s industrialization.

    In hindsight, creating POSCO was a stroke of genius. However, back in the 1960s, the World Bank advised the Korean government against going into the steel business. Moreover, no one in the Korean private sector had the capital or risk appetite to pioneer this industry, even though doing so will greatly benefit the country.

    It was government officials – ridiculed as bureaucratic, lazy, and incompetent by some free-market economists – who had to intervene.

    What did these Korea officials do for the steel industry?

    Subsidies and protections, said Chang.

    He said what South Korea did for the steel industry was in accordance with the ‘infant industry argument,’ a theory that was first postulated by Alexander Hamilton, the US Treasury Secretary under George Washington.”

    http://www.ibtimes.com/yes-government-can-pick-winners-ha-joon-chang-268043

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  50. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    No. But I’ll admit bias here because I find yachting the most boring fucking thing on the planet.

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  51. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    At least we know the cost unlike what we give to many sporting codes including Bruv’s favourite the rugby lads.

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  52. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    gump (1,220 comments) says:
    March 28th, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I don’t think we should fund the Americas Cup. It’s a race between yacht clubs – not between nations.

    The Team NZ sailors should find a wealthy patron if they want to challenge for the cup. That is what all the other syndicates have done.
    =============================

    You mean like the Warriors and the Pheonix??

    Yeh Right.

    P.S. Team NZ do have wealthy sponsors. That’s backed up by some not so wealthy and some who are in the poor category. Don’t you feel good for helping the poor who support Team NZ?
    You should, it’s your good deed for the year.

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  53. Steve (North Shore) (4,563 comments) says:

    Kiwigregg@11.34.
    The Govt doesn’t give me a choice in paying for many things as well, that’s why I have to pay TAX – so they can fund lazy drug addled dropkicks. The Govt get a lot of TAX so 3 cents a day over 5 years should not hurt should not hurt.
    And remember the Govt did not fund all of ETNZ, $36M is just a tiny tiny small amount of the sponsorship.
    3 cents man, just 3 cents. Have a look at what is being spent per week on the non productive arty farty bullshit.

    While I am at it, have a look at the interest that Auckland City Council is paying – and other Councils.
    More than 3 cents per week yeah?
    Rich mans sport my left tit

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  54. Fentex (978 comments) says:

    It certainly isn’t consistent with the view, and arguments made by many in our government, that governments shouldn’t pick winners and hold investments.

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  55. itstricky (1,832 comments) says:

    Steve et al. You seem quite upset about the supposedly miniscule amount that would be spent. Have you considered reviewing your previous posts on tax payer wastage that you -did- think was excessive and the amounts involved? A voyage of self discovery…

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  56. OneTrack (3,107 comments) says:

    “Should we spend the next $36M on the Arts and Opera?”

    No, but we need to try and get Len to cut back to that.

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  57. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Steve (North Shore) (4,285 comments) says:
    March 28th, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I didn’t watch some of the stuff that you watch James – guess we are even, or you may even owe me yeah?
    =======================================

    How much have we spent on Lidya Kow and other golfers and what return has NZ got on that.
    How about Hockey, how about Netball, Maori haka’s and all that tripe?

    Money well spent only to be rooted by the high dollar screwing our boating exports. It wasn’t the money spent on this that is an issue it’s the money wasted by govt and Councils shoving up our dollar and our interest rates.

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  58. Tauhei Notts (1,714 comments) says:

    Sri Lanka blew the goodness of sports funding right out the window.
    Sports bludgers everywhere will tell you how much credit and trade boost their success will bring to our country.
    Well, some years ago Sri Lanka won the Cricket World Cup.
    All those people who increased their tea consumption, after that glorious victory, should have funded the America’s Cup campaign. Yeah, right!

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  59. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    SPORT is about BRANDING

    It is a “MOVING” BILLBOARD that promotes NZ

    and as SUCH

    WIN LOOSE or DRAW

    pays for itself through Global Exposure of NZ

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  60. Miritu (30 comments) says:

    The report fails to adequately address the alternative uses of the money taken from taxpayers, had it not been taken from those taxpayers. French economist Frederic Bastiat wrote widely about the economic fallacy of looking at all the benefits of what can be seen while while ignoring the unseen. Bastiat: “the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.” Not PC has an excellent post on this.

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