World Expo Participation Fine – $53M cost questioned

26 April 2017

New Zealand First says the government should explain to Kiwis what the return on investment will be from the $53.3m cost of exhibiting at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.

“Yet again it’s another announcement from Simon Bridges, National’s very own Minister for Announcements,” says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“At $7.6m a month, for seven-months that this Expo will run in 2020, taxpayers deserve to know what the government’s return on investment model will be.  At $53.3m, and if the past is anything to go by it could blow out to much more than that remembering Barcelona, we are talking about a huge sum on money and there are plenty of causes that money could have gone towards.

“It far exceeds the Government’s Budget for tourist infrastructure in long suffering regional New Zealand and, in fact, would easily resurrect the Wairoa to Gisborne Rail Line – about nine times over. 

“We may have to speculate to accumulate and the media covering this event will welcome the frequent flyer points but what’s the taxpayer payback?  And since the Saudi sheep deal our merchandise exports to the Gulf Council Cooperation area have shrunk dramatically. 

“The same psycho-babble seems to be behind this project in the same way as the Saudi sheep farm. Exports peaked at $1.89bn in 2014 but were just $1.33bn last year.  National promised our exporters a bigger market but these geniuses have delivered less and now they’re pulling the oldest trick in the book – throwing more taxpayers money at a glitzy event. 

“New Zealand First is not necessarily opposed but wants to see a whole lot more than thus far released to justify this level of expenditure,” Mr Peters says.