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Corporate welfare for hairdressers?

Back in June we slammed Upper Hutt City Council for giving a $32,000 Business Development Support grant to listed fast-food retailer BurgerFuel to set up a shop in the City. Now we can reveal that Subway, a hairdresser, a cinema and even a Bed Bath and Beyond also received ratepayer-funded grants.

So far in the 2015/16 financial year, Upper Hutt City Council has spent more than $160,000 of ratepayers’ money on subsidies to eleven businesses.

Taxing people more through rates for corporate welfare isn’t economic development, it is economic trickery benefiting only the favoured businesses. Take the example of Prodigy Hair. There are at least 29 hairdressing firms in Upper Hutt and surrounding area, but the Council picks this one out for a handout.

Previously the Council has defended this corporate welfare scheme on the basis that the Council is creating jobs. Of course the politicians and officials ignore that every cent spent on these initiatives is another cent taken out of the community they are supposedly helping. It is intellectually dishonest.

Upper Hutt ratepayers are smart enough to see that this isn’t economic development, it’s robbing the poor to pay the rich. The Mayor, Wayne Guppy, needs to explain how sucking money out of a community to spend it on a favoured business is justified. 

List of recipients of Council grants:

  • Subway Main Street
  • Maidstone Sports (The Mall HCSC Ltd)
  • Vogue on Geange
  • Vogue (The Mall HCSC Ltd)
  • Bed Bath Beyond (The Mall HCSC Ltd)
  • Udy Contracting
  • Blue Pencil
  • Prodigy Hair
  • BurgerFuel
  • Miro Cinema
  • Fets (Fire and Emergency Training Solutions)

Upper Hutt City Council refused to divulge how much funding each firm received.

Mayor Wayne Guppy was interviewed on Newstalk ZB, who then asked our Executive Director, Jordan Williams, for his thoughts on the programme. You can listen to the interviews below.


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