Government spending on “corporate welfare” jumped by more than $150 million in the latest Budget, a new report claims.
On Tuesday the Taxpayers’ Union releases its report on the Budget, saying that subsidies for the private sector in the latest Budget came to $1.34 billion.
The report, Any new kids at the trough? says the spending amounts to $752 per household a year, up from $663 a year ago.
The biggest spending was on KiwiRail, the state-owned rail company, which received $239m simply to keep the network running.
Finance Minister Bill English defended the spending, which came from funds set aside from state asset sales, but admitted that the operation needed to change.
“I think we imagined three or four years ago that by now, KiwiRail wouldn’t require so much ongoing investment,” English said on Budget day, describing the level of top up required to keep the rail company going as “unsustainable”.
“KiwiRail’s made some huge strides in its efficiency and productivity but it’s still got some way to go.”
Hands up if you think KiwiRail will ever not need annual bailouts? Any hands ups? Nope.