Ex­port­ing our money

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

The state­ment from Auck­land Cham­ber of Com­merce head Michael Bar­nett that “be­ing afraid of where the money comes from [for the Pen­link project] to my mind is fool­ish,” is laugh­able if only it wasn’t so tragic.

Mr Bar­nett is ad­vo­cat­ing that Pen­link users pay an ad­di­tional $700 mil­lion in tax (be­cause that is what a toll ac­tu­ally is) over and above the ac­tual cost of build­ing the high­way.

Ac­cord­ing to his fig­ures, rev­enue from the toll ex­pected to be levied amounts to an av­er­age of $125,000 per day. Over the 25-year life of the BOOT (Build, Own, Op­er­ate and Trans­fer), that amounts to $1.1 bil­lion for a project cost­ing $400 mil­lion to build.

Fi­nance for the Chi­nese con­sor­tium of­fer­ing to build and op­er­ate the project will be pro­vided through one of the six Chi­nese de­vel­op­ment banks by the Cen­tral Bank of China.

Why is Mr Bar­nett propos­ing to use the Chi­nese Cen­tral Bank to fund the project when New Zealand’s cen­tral bank could just as eas­ily pro­vide that fi­nance? It could do so with min­i­mal in­ter­est, sav­ing com­muters around $500 mil­lion — profit the Chi­nese fi­nanciers will ship off over­seas, adding to our over­seas debt.

Mr Bar­nett is one of a num­ber of busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers who, through ei­ther ig­no­rance, naivety or stu­pid­ity, are be­ing se­duced by China’s ready sup­ply of money into be­liev­ing there is mu­tual ben­e­fit in its in­volve­ment in New Zealand’s econ­omy.

The list in­cludes many for­mer Na­tional and Labour Party high-fly­ers.

Ruth Richard­son and Chris Tre­main are di­rec­tors of Bank of China in New Zealand, Don Brash chairs the In­dus­trial Bank of China in New Zealand and for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Dame Jenny Ship­ley chairs the New Zealand sub­sidiary of the China Con­struc­tion Bank.

Sir Bob Har­vey fronts the One Belt One Road Pro­mo­tional Coun­cil, and Sir Bob Parker chairs the Hauxin Group, a part­ner­ship for the Christchurch re­build, and is CEO of Huadu In­ter­na­tional NZ.

Is it their busi­ness ex­per­tise or their abil­ity to open doors that has made them at­trac­tive?

Let’s be clear, over­seas in­vestors are in­ter­ested in only one thing — profit.

Mr Bar­nett’s last word on Pen­link was, “In our opin­ion, it could/should start to­mor­row.” Yes it could — fi­nanced by our own bank, the Re­serve Bank.

CHRIS LEITCH Leader, So­cial Credit

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