Tuesday 11 February 2020

Jacinda says I'm wrong

I'd had a chat with Breakfast TV on Monday morning on the back of Matt Nippert's absolutely excellent continued sleuthing into those subsidies.  
Currently, Mr Crampton says there is around $170 million spent in subsidies to international films. He says other industries are also affected by not getting a slice of that money, because they aren’t getting the people they need in the right jobs.

“The video game industry at the end of last year was complaining that they can’t get workers because they’re all being sucked in to video animation in the subsidised film industry,” he says.

“Where does it end? We shouldn’t be on this kind of rollercoaster. Every country in the world competes on these kinds of subsidies and it’s a mistake to be in that game.”

Jacinda Ardern disagrees. She says she believes the flow on affect of the film sector is worth it for New Zealand.

"You ask anyone who works in the industry whether or not it makes a difference... the flow on affect is huge," the Prime Minister said today.

"The film industry is completely unique."
The big problem that I had with the government's "wellbeing" budget is that it made absolutely no attempt to gauge whether anything in it was particularly useful in improving wellbeing. Funding went into areas where there were demonstrated problems, but with no particular way of telling whether those were also the areas where more spending could do the most good.

I guess I was hopelessly optimistic in expecting that a government that professed to care about wellbeing actually were serious about it.

If the Prime Minister's method for evaluating whether giant film subsidies are the best possible use of tax money is to go and ask the recipients of the subsidies whether they make a difference, well, I suppose we should all ratchet down our expectations for Budget 2020.

You might have thought that putting a couple hundred million dollars a year into Pharmac might do more good than film subsidies - it would be a 20% boost to that budget. Or any of a pile of different areas, including an education system that has trouble teaching graduates the difference between effect and affect. But no. Film subsidies.

It makes for fun syllogisms though. If tax is love and Avatar sequels are tax, are we required to love the Avatar sequels? I hope not.

Previously: Film subsidies are stupid

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