Steven ‘White Elephant’ Joyce isn’t content with building highways to nowhere with costs that exceed the benefits. Now he wants an international convention centre in Auckland that’s just as pointless. But he doesn’t want the government to pay. So, he’s cutting a dirty deal with more law for sale and more pokie machines blighting our communities.
The Auckland Convention Centre doesn’t make any sense. The big idea is basically ‘build it and they will come’ – construct a honking great convention centre and all this international organisations will just decide to spend a couple more thousand per head flying their attendees to the most isolated country on earth for their international conferences. MED’s analysis (which ignores the affect higher oil prices and better tele-presence technology are already having on the the market for international conferences, and blithely discounts the economic crisis) estimates that for every dollar spent, New Zealand would reap between 67 cents and $1.61 in benefits. The comparator I like to use is that early childhood education has a BCR of better $6 and $10 for every dollar invested.
Now, I guess even Bill English can do the sums on this one, because the government isn’t going to pay for the convention centre itself. Instead,Joyce is cutting a dirty deal to make it worth SkyCity’s while to build it.
The convention centre isn’t an economic proposition itself, so Joyce is planning to give them something they do value – licences for 350 to 500 more pokie machines and some other kickbacks.
The Problem Gambling Association estimates that each additional pokie machine creates an extra problem gambler and Auckland it meant to have a sinking lid on the number of the fucken things but that’s fallen by the wayside (is this shit the reason we all fought for you, Len?) and Joyce is preparing a Bill specifically to give favours to SkyCity. It will be a Bill that will pass by one vote as the Maori Party will almost certainly oppose more pokie machines afflicting their people. That one crucial vote will be that man Peter Dunne – who is well-known to be in the pockets of the gambling industry.
The rich get their convention centre. The poor get addicted to gambling.
Once again, our Parliament will spend its time passing a law specially to benefit a company – one that is already a legislative monopoly so that it will build a white elephant convention centre. Meanwhile, poverty rises, quarter of a million Kiwis are jobless, and the government’s too busy to do anything about it.