A guest post by Simon Lusk:
The Alliance Group publicly released their annual results showing an impressive $1.8B of revenue, up from last year’s $1.7B. Despite appearing not meeting the criteria of the wage subsidy of turnover falling by 30% or projected 30% they are refusing to pay back the remaining amount they have retained.
Alliance were an essential service through lockdown, and while they may have incurred some additional costs, it appears they do not meet the criteria required to retain any of the wage subsidy.
Alliance may have legitimate grounds for refusing to return the wage subsidy. They may not have legitimate reasons. What is not in any doubt, however, is they are treating returning the wage subsidy as a negotiation. That is why I want their decisions tested by an independent referee in the form of a judge in New Zealand’s court system.
There is also an issue of fairness that appears to have been missed by Alliance, commentators & government ministers. If a poor brown beneficiary in south Auckland had claimed a few thousand dollars more than they were entitled from social welfare they would be pursued & punished. Our law is supposed to treat all equally. Alliance directors appear to think they can retain large amounts of corporate welfare and not face consequences, unlike the poor brown beneficiary in South Auckland.
This is why I have sought to extend my action to all Alliance directors. They are well paid, well educated and wealthy. They likely do not approve of the beneficiary struggling to make ends meet ripping off the benefit system. They should not be surprised that someone wants them treated the same way as the benefit fraudster. New Zealand is an egalitarian society where we pride ourselves on all being treated equally. That’s why I want to see the Alliance directors in court justifying their decision to keep corporate welfare. Let the judge decide and let the directors face up to defend themselves as the poor brown beneficiary would have to.