Racketeering at the Ministry of Business

Protection rackets are an age old scam, and they operate on a pretty simple principle. Gangsters demand money from a business, and in return, the gangsters promise not to hinder or damage or otherwise harm that business. They also promise to protect that business from criminal acts by other gangsters, which is why its called a “protection” racket.

Gangs made a fortune by this means in the past, and a big part of their success was also having the cops in on the deal. For a share of the protection money, the cops looked the other way.

So it was a pretty good racket, and there was no way the business could get out of it, so they paid the money and carried on.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have to plug a few oilwells offshore Taranaki. This is a highly complex task involving massive amounts of machinery and an intimidating budget of hundreds of millions of dollars. Skilled engineering contractors will be needed with remote control deep water submarines and workover rigs with highly specialised equipment.

MBIE have just announced their latest progress on this project has been to sign an agreement in “partnership” with Te Kāhui o Taranaki Iwi for an iwi “project lead” and four “technical” advisors. The Project Lead said one of the main concerns was to sustain kaimoana.

“It’s around protection of mahinga kai so for generations to come there is still kai there, even though this has been inhabited for the last 12 years by an oil production”

She said being at the table also meant MBIE was aware of Taranaki iwi’s worldview and could take cultural perspectives into account.

MBIE have not said what the cost of this contract with Iwi will be. Chicken feed compared to the overall cost (estimated at $155 million, and yeah, we will see about that too) but still, why is it necessary when the project and the contractors are already heavily regulated and monitored by the Petroleum section of MBIE and also the Dept of the Environment?

Every other New Zealander who might have environmental or job safety concerns or any uncertainties about the project overall is content with this arrangement. So why the need for a “partnership” with Iwi, and an Iwi “project” lead.

There’s no need. This is just a more up market version of the protection rackets Capone and his gangster mates ran in Chicago in the 1930s. Worse, while at least the shopkeepers of the time resented paying their graft, at the MBIE they love it. Its not their money. That’s why they boast about it with announcements like this.

The truth is in New Zealand today this kind of institutionalized extortion extends right down through just about every govt agency, facilitated by “maori” radicals within the govt. The buck stops with the politicians we elect, and for decades, they’ve let this cancer grow. Its not about “maori”, its not about iwi, its not about culture, and its not even about the environment.

Its about featherbedding and extortion and it needs to stop. Tell your politician you want the problem fixed, and if he/she refuses, tell them you’ll vote for someone who does have the guts to take a stand against institutionalised racketeering.

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