Rio Tinto are threatening to close the bloody smelter again, sounds like it’s time to extend their obscene corporate welfare again

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Tiwai Point smelter, stealing your money for obscene corporate welfare for ages

Oh here we go again, Rio Tinto are playing their usual bullshit game of threatening to pull out if we don’t continue their obscene corporate welfare.

The problem for them this time is social media. Normally they can play this game, threaten 900 jobs and get an even more outrageous deal on the electricity because MPs will slit their own throats than risk the loss of 900 jobs in the blessed South Island, but as the rest of us suddenly realise that if Tinto left, we would all gain enormous price drops in our own electricity bills and can communicate this fact feely with each other over social media, the great deal Rio Tinto are supposedly giving us means a lot less to us than it does to the arse covering MPs.

What Rio Tinto is really saying to the Government is that before MediaWorks gets any corporate welfare, they would like to get back in line and demand more. You can appreciate the anger from Rio Tinto, they’ve just seen NZ hand over $300million to the worlds richest man to continue shooting a TV show about hobbits in the country as slow as the Shire, that must really enrage Rio Tinto, if the sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind are having out almost half a billion to Jeff Bezos, they sure as fuck can continue giving them more!

The smelter only made a $200million profit last year, poor babies, they need MORE!

Meanwhile the poor continue living in cars and record numbers of people are asking the government for help to pay for their food and accommodation.

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23 COMMENTS

    • Great article by stuff. Surely the govt has enough balls to say no to Tiwai. How many votes do they get from down there anyhow? What an election winner!! Cheaper power for everyone!

    • I don’t support more corporate welfare for Rio Tinto or any other company.
      However as someone who previously worked at the Tiwai smelter let me just say that the workers there are very generously paid.
      Next point is to address your statement about making the smelter “our own”.
      What you are describing is enforced nationalization which is simply insane since it sends a message to companies not to invest here lest we decide to nationalize their investment too.
      I get that you are angry with the prospect of more corporate welfare but it has to be tempered with facts unless you want to be seen an unhinged.

      • In that case Jays, just cut the anchor rope. If it’s not state owned then let it go. Every other business that fails doesn’t ask for handouts.

  1. Not sure when market forces came to mean bailing out the richest companies from overseas, while local people access food banks.

    Why do we need to be concerned about their jobs, when apparently we import in 250,000 temp workers into NZ to lower wages in our fake employment crisis at the local cafe/fast food/rest home/farm.

    Not to mention the government rubber stamping giving away local water for polluting bottling, to get a pitiful amount of jobs when the plant is ‘at full capacity’ (whatever that means) (meanwhile not being concerned at the jobs being lost when universities close libraries costing 100 jobs)…

    Doesn’t seem to make sense, we give corporate welfare and benefits to the rich for jobs, but apparently we have so many jobs we need to import in 300,000 people each year and happy for public services to shed jobs in areas of social good!

    Not sure why more are not calling this discrepancy out, because the answer could solve many more so called crisis in NZ such as housing, health, education, Low wages and emergency benefits.

    Maybe it’s better to give the $30 million for the workers losing their jobs… or better still have legislate for very high, world class redundancy payments so people are not forced out into the streets with nothing every five minutes, only for the firm to rehire 5 minutes later while complaining they can’t get anyone as they are so lazy and drugged out. (being made redundant constantly and zero hour contracts, might have that effect on people).

  2. This wont lead to cheaper power prices if Tiwai goes. The money and infrastructure it would take to send this power north to where it is needed will never happen.

    • Id say youre wrong. Of course it wouldnt happen immediately but Upgrading the infrastructure coud be done at the same rate that demand increases. Also the cheap South Island power woud attract some businesses south which is something that would be good for all that creaking North Island infrastructure.

    • Actually you’re not quite right. Manapouri has very little actual storage but the other South Island lakes have a huge amount of storage.
      The strategy if Tiwai were to close the strategy would be to use more of Manapouris capacity to shift north during winter and save capacity in the other lakes for summer.

  3. Oh shit Martyn you made me laugh at that suggestion to Rio Tinto threat to close again;
    “sounds like it’s time to extend their obscene corporate welfare again”

    It does Sound like they are trying it on again eh?

    I would carefully resist their threats here again until it was seriously shown to be needed.

    Or then who else will try the same threat should Labour fold here?. Fletchers, Fontera, Kiwi Rail, NZTA, big Oil, Air NZ and a heap of others?

  4. Rio Tinto get the cheapest power in NZ already, and hog up to 15% of the total available. Time to say “no more” after JFK’s last handout to them.

    A classic scenario where Etu Union will end up supporting Tory Provincial MPs and a very bad corporate citizen, for the sake of jobs. Close Ti Wai and NZ can close remaining non sustainable power generation.

    As for the workers, they will cling on like an Appalachian miner to those jobs, as they have done since 1961, but time to cut them loose. As tens of thousands were by “Roger’n’Ruth. Countryboy’s idea is a good one-worth paying off mortgages and generous settlements to see the back of Rio Tinto.

  5. Tiwai Point employs lots of people and they earn really good wages, so we don’t want to lose those jobs. Also the smelter makes a major contribution to the nation’s revenue.

    I know you won’t want to hear this but John Key had the best negotiating strategy with them: He wouldn’t reduce their power bill and reminded them that they would face a billion dollar environmental cleanup bill should they chose to cease production. Neat argument! I think NZ Steel faces the same problem.

    • @ Andrew, rather than constant corporate welfare and bailouts, the government need to implement having high redundancy payments as the simple option to winning corporates that are the norm here, shutting down factories daily, and can also help our low wage economy and brain drain at the same time.

      “Axed over the Christmas break, told to be out by lunchtime after 50 years’ loyalty – this is redundancy in New Zealand, where there’s no mandatory notice period or compensation payments and little support for those searching for new work.”

      https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/in-depth/365540/why-being-made-redundant-in-nz-is-so-tough

      • Redundancy payments don’t:
        a) Provide for continued employment in highly skills jobs like heavy industry does
        b) Provides nothing to the surrounding economy that supports the smelter. For every direct employer there might be 5-10 people indirectly employed by the economic activity the company creates.
        They leave an economic wasteland and dependency

        What NZ really needs is to make itself more attractive to investors who intend to create jobs in the long term. As it stands, heavy handed bureaucracy and the RMA send them elsewhere.

    • That’s not negotiation, it’s an ultimatum or as normal people call it, a dictatorship. Sadly Key used it with all his policy making.

  6. Jacinda and Labour will be silly enough to bail them out, hopefully Winston and NZF will not be so stupid ?

  7. Hmmm. Rather Auckland-centric comments here.

    cf. Auckland film industry bailout, Auckland America’s Cup taxpayer largesse, Auckland multi-billion dollar railway. And who knows, bailout of Auckland Conference Centre if insurance turns dodgy.

    Sauce, goose, gander

    • You do realise Auckland provides 1/3 of the nation’s tax revenue, don’t you? Nothing like that amount has ever been spent here. Auckland has major infrastructural deficits after the previous National government stuffed the place full to the gunwales with new migrants and didn’t spend a bean to provide for the increased services that requires.

      Rio Tinto can take a hike as far as I’m concerned. Southland desperately needs workers apparently, as evidenced by the vast number of overseas dairy workers residing there. It’d be no problem a to send them home and retrain the former smelter staff to milk cows. As a bonus, they’ll know all their employment rights; therefore any farmers currently exploiting their migrant workers would soon find out those days were over.

  8. Bloody Nationalise it.

    Corporate standover tactics are allowed and encouraged after all its only tax payers money.

    This would be again subsidizing big business when they are against the idea of Nationalising as a policy for other areas of the economy that should be protected.

    But that is what they are asking for but with the freedom to not have too be accountable with our money !!!

    They can go to hell.

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