Monday, 25 August 2008

NZ's most highly-paid beneficiaries

"It's a bit crude," says Helen Clark, for newspapers to be doing back-of-the-envelope calculations indicating that $10 million was extracted from New Zealand taxpayers for every medal New Zealand athletes won at Beijing.

GYI0000621598.jpg beatrice160 Bugger that.  For all that we feel good when an athlete wearing a silver fern gets to stand on an Olympic podium -- and yes, let's admit it, it's a thrill -- isn't it more than a bit crude to extract the money to pay for those moments by force?  Not to mention the failures.

At $10m per medal, and with a total sum of eighty million dollars extracted from taxpayers and doled out to athletes both successful and unsuccessful, that makes NZ athletes the country's most highest-paid beneficiaries.

That's not right.  As former Wimbledon tennis finalist Chris Lewis said in The Free Radical magazine a few years back,

whenever a problem arises that needs fixing - whether it be sport or any other problem of national concern - the most popular response is: "The government should do something." And more often than not, it does. Alas. 
    It is individual freedom that is the one thing, due to our inherent nature as thinking, choosing beings, that any proper society should recognise as man's absolute right. To survive, freedom is what man requires above all else; it is his by right, and therefore what the government should do all in its power to protect. The right to my - and your - freedom does not come at anybody's expense, whereas a "free" education, "free" air time, and government assistance with the pursuit of gold medals does; each demands and necessitates an act of government theft. Such acts are moral crimes, they are direct attacks on what life requires - individual freedom - and why I am totally opposed to government funding of sport, Olympic or otherwise, or to any other government programmes or agencies that are funded with stolen money.
    Can an athlete get to the top without stolen money?
    I did. [So has young golfer Danny Lee.]

    "To anyone who holds freedom as sacred," said Lewis, the most urgent problem facing this country is not the number gold medals we win every four years, however many or however few, but "the vile anti-individual philosophies of collectivism and statism that have given rise to this relentless onslaught of the government's violation of individual rights, which includes the proliferation of intrusive, politically correct, government agencies charged with the 'responsibility' of fixing all our problems."  Concludes Lewis,

If ever there were a problem that desperately needs fixing, this is it - and I say that the government really should do something. It should get out of the economy and out of our lives as soon as possible. What would soon follow is such a massive flourishing of the gold medal-winning character virtues - virtues of independence, ambition, determination, self-reliance and pride - that New Zealanders would soon lead the world in the most important race of all - the race of life.

Think about it.  Now that all the excitement is over, and you're left to look at your bill for it all -- eighty million dollars in total -- just sit back and reflect on the mentality that demands government take responsibility for everything, including making us feel good while watching sport.


  1. PC, I must object. While I concede that elite atheletes are very well paid beneficiaries, their ability to extract tax dollars pales in comparison to the Fletchers.

  2. Sean

    ...and that banal excuse makes theft OK in your opinion?


  3. LGM,

    You are confused. I object to calling atheletes the MOST well paid beneficiares, not to calling them beneficiaries. Which is entirely clear in my original post. Entirely absent from my post is any suggestion that I support govt athletic funding. You Sir, have jumped to that wild conclusion!


  4. Of course, $80 million is not spent on the athletes. As with so many state programs, funding of elite sport is largely an excuse for the government to steal from taxpayers and reward it's mates.

    Dave Christian

  5. It's just Labour buying a "feelgood" factor before the next election.

    These athletes are all complicit in Labour's corruption of NZ.

  6. Apparently our top ten athletes each received $40,000 from SPARC (Sport and Recreation NZ) before they left for Beijing.

    To make matters worse SPARC has around 90 staff with 38 of those having an annual salary in excess of $100.000 and ten SPARC administrators receiving $40,000 a year each.

    Peter Miskimmin the CEO of SPARC is paid around $350,000....almost the same as Helen Clark's $375,000 !!

    Fred Stevens
    lake Tarawera

  7. Tight as, Aus paid 50 million for each of their golds. For $50 million our SPARC would have got a really good webpage.

  8. I would be more than happy to 'sponsor' some young chap in athletics, or swimming or whatever ready for the next Olympics in London...all they need to do is put my company logo on their shirt (or swimming trunks).

    I think it would be great fun!

    I am sure more businessmen would be willing to do so, too, so there is no need to steal money in order to pay for "Sharleen and Trevor" types who will come 9th in the semi-finals...much better to get private sponsorship and win Gold.

  9. I think, it would be better if they pay Ms Villi and Ms Faumuina for a Jenny Craig program instead.

    I have been on Jenny's diet program and I getting slimmer every week. I used to have a similar size as Ms Faumuina before I started the Jenny Craig program. Now, I am concentrating on getting back to playing netball again (a sport I used to dominate in before my first child was born 6 years ago).

  10. richard mcgrath25 Aug 2008, 13:51:00

    Chris Lewis is quite right: these athletes should be privately sponsored. It is simply outrageous that we are forced to subsidise them. Quangos such as SPARC would, of course, be gone by lunchtime under a Libz government.

    I would like to state for the record that I would be willing to sponsor the women's beach volleyball team. As long as I can rub sun block onto the entire team before each game (remembering that UV rays can penetrate skimpy clothing).

  11. If these people are to be funded, it should be through the Lotteries grants board. Supporting sports is a major part of their charter.

    And buying lottery tickets is an entirely voluntary act!

  12. Sean

    So you'd accept that what the athletes are doing is wrong?


  13. We paid 80 million! so... does this mean we get to share in the profits made from advertising revenue that our state TV earned?

    Cool! Who to I send my bank account number to?

  14. LGM,

    You actually know me. As such, it should be known to you that I view such forcible transfers from the productive to the unproductive as exploitation.


  15. It's very Soviet to have such a large role for the state in sport. I'd hope that there were clauses in contracts saying that if you get an endorsement deal you have to repay your SPARC funding first!

  16. Sean


    Good to know you.


  17. LGM, Sean was part of the discussion group (which you were also part of) on the lecture series by physicist David Harriman with his tapes on Philosophical Corruptions of Physics.

  18. Terrible. Stealing in order to support the interesting lifestyle choices of others.

    Shouldn't we also be funding morbidly obese couch-potatoes, in a quest to have the guiness book certified fattest man alive? (insert dole bludger joke here)

    It seems the gvt makes its own very subjective value judgements when deciding who to fund and who not to. Personally, a lame medal for being able to throw a rock the farthest, doesn't mean much to me, yet I am still made to pay.


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  20. $80 million on sending our boys n girls to a communist propaganda party. Better than hip-hop tours, but not as good as a hip-op for me pop.

    I wonder if I can convince the taxpayer to pay for MY next OE...


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