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The Standard

Key’s Waterloo

Written By: - Date published: 7:50 am, April 20th, 2012 - 62 comments
Categories: business, corruption, john key - Tags: , ,

Key has repeatedly claimed that there was no alternative to SkyCity for funding his coveted convention centre:

“It went through the normal tendering process, Sky City was the only bidder prepared to look at a deal that didn’t involve any Government resources,” Mr Key told reporters in Singapore on Thursday.

“There’s no one else out there that could come up with a deal like that.”

It only looks like a good deal if you don’t count the true cost of course (which the Nats never do). Also:

But John Key said it was the only credible plan in what were tight financial times.

It’s pure hypocrisy for him to claim it’s the only credible deal – when he deliberately kneecapped the opposition:

Government officials were told to stop working on a business case for a new convention centre in Auckland after Prime Minister John Key cut a secret deal with Sky City, Labour says.

Party leader David Shearer says he’s got cabinet documents that prove Mr Key directly intervened in the tender process. “This looks like a secret deal was done behind taxpayers’ backs,” he said on Thursday.

“It’s no surprise that Sky City emerged victorious from the tender process because it was a one-horse race from the start.”

See further coverage here and here:

At the same time John Key was also made aware of Sky City’s plans to expand its own convention facilities. He then called an immediate halt to further work on a business case.

There were other contenders too. As The Greens point out:

Four other contenders are known to have put forward expressions of interest to build the convention centre.

“This reveals that the other bidders were unknowingly competing on a completely uneven playing field,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“With John Key intervening in the process and offering exclusive deals for the casino, the other bidders had no way of ever being able to compete with SkyCity’s offer.

“Their bids could have taken on a completely different shape had John Key offered law changes for them too.

Hey why not, if we’re changing the law for SkyCity (and Hollywood), why not change it for everyone? In fact, why bother with having laws at all? Key has lost it:

The papers have emerged as Key today said he “advised himself” to chase Sky City for a deal to build a new national convention centre in exchange for changes to gambling laws.

No need to bother with the facts or the law when Key can just “advise himself” to do whatever he likes.

But the back-room sweetheart deal with SkyCity has blown up in his face. Here’s a journalist from the Nat friendly National Business Review on National Radio, as transcribed by Morrissey in comments:

There’s a serious smell about this. There’s going to be a serious backlash against Mr Key. His approach to this is arrogant and offhand. We cannot have this kind of deal in this country. The perception of John Key and his government is very bad. It is a moral issue and the community needs to stand up against this. Why should community groups need to go cap in hand to alcohol barons and gambling operators to get funds that the government refuses to hand out?

In a similar vein – this from Stuff in Auckland:

Our government is brazenly deceitful

Credit where credit’s due. This might not be the most deceitful New Zealand Government of the past 50 years but it’s certainly the most brazenly deceitful. If there were to be awards for sneering-in-your-face dishonesty; for being deliberately misleading and for sweeping inconvenient truths under the carpet, the Class of 2012 would already be assured of the silverware. Seldom, in the field of shameless chicanery, has one Government achieved so much.

The only remaining question is how many imaginery “Shiftys” our National-led coalition deserve. They can certainly look forward to multiple nominations for their performance over the Sky City scandal, in which they’re blatantly exchanging Government policy for the equivalent of a brown paper bag full of money. The PM’s declaration that he wasn’t, before conceding in his next breath that he’d actually initiated proceedings, also puts him in line for Best Accidental Comic.

Key has advised himself into his worst public relations fiasco yet. Like a tinpot general, above the law and convinced of his own invincibility, he’s the architect of his own Waterloo.

62 comments on “Key’s Waterloo”

  1. tc 1

    Could this be why we see the sharks circling (Collins etc) knowing mien fhurer has sown the seeds of his fall.

    Imagine what else shonkeys been up to that could be aired in a clean out, that old trick of laying all the blame at the last blokes door btw all quiet on the defamation front.

    • If you’re going to Godwin the discussion right off the bat, please at least learn how to spell “mein Führer”. (Fuehrer is also an acceptable variant spelling)

  2. Dear Labour

    Please understand this social media thing.  Put these documents up on the web so that we can all see them and analyze them.  Crowd sourcing the analysis makes it happen much quicker. 

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Also gives the opposition, both in the house and the blogosphere, a good handle on what to expect.

      • alwyn 2.1.1

        Your comments rather beg the question.
        If Shearer REALLY has cabinet documents that justify his claims then the Government know exactly what is in them. They are, after all, the members of the cabinet who would have received them.
        If on the other hand he is telling little porkies, or even just guilding the lily a bit he can’t release the documents as that would show that he is b.s.ing.
        He will have surely have been advised by his more rat-bag colleagues to never produce any evidence of something you are making claims about. Just make up a story, announce it in parliament, and then claim “it’s time to move on”.
        We never saw for example ANY evidence that Julian Robertson was a CIA bagman or that Brash had ever made the “gone by christmas” remark but that didn’t stop Labour making the claims. The fact that no-one in the US Government appeared to know anything about them, as evidenced by Wikileaks material on the subject appears to show they never happened.
        I suspect Shearer never will release the documents as he is making claims he cannot justify.

        • Taking someone’s comments at face value is by no means the same thing as begging the question, unless it ought to be obvious that they are not telling the truth. I don’t see why we would assume that in Shearer’s case.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    What has me curious , is that if ‘more pokies’ are required to get a free convention centre, why werent the other bidders given the same option.

    Im sure they would love the chance to put 500 poker machines and 75 table games in a new convention centre, and the public would have a choice.

  4. vto 4

    The claim that there is no money for building a convention centre is complete hogwash.

    The money is there in our economy obviously, because that is where skycity is getting it from, but it seems the only way John Key can think of for flushing it out is to let the casino win it for him.

    Bloody pathetic.

    • Kevin Welsh 4.1

      Exactly VTO. There is OBVIOUSLY a demand for this in Auckland so why hasn’t the private sector jumped and built a convention centre?

      We are constantly reminded on here by the Gosman, and his ilk, that the private sector are great at this sort of thing.

      But, only if they get law changes and sweet-heart deals.

      • higherstandard 4.1.1

        Isn’t Sky City the private sector ?

        • Kevin Welsh 4.1.1.1

          Yeah, what’s your point?

        • vto 4.1.1.2

          Well no not in the normal sense where it is open to anyone to set up business making undies. Sure, it is privately owned but it is extremely state controlled and regulated. Joe blow can’t blow in and just open up another casino in the dairy next door. So it is only private sector in terms of ownership, nothing else about its operation is in the usual sense private sector. It is government controlled gambling.

          So, why can’t Key think of another way of flushing the money out of the economy? I guess all he knows is gambling with money …

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.3

          Not any more, it’s now obviously an arm of the John Key led government.

    • Fortran 4.2

      vto

      Please tell us where ids the other money to come from to build the Convention Centre.
      Auckland Ratepayers or Taxpayer or ???? China perhaps.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1

        Much better question: Why are we having one built considering that the business case doesn’t stack up for one?

        We shouldn’t need to be concerned with where the money comes from because it shouldn’t be built.

  5. debatewatcher 5

    Did John Key advise himself that it was a dinnimic environment?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      Thats so last year , this years lazy phrase is ‘there was no other alternative’

  6. Roy 6

    This SHOULD be his Waterloo, but I have the gloomy feeling that it won’t be.

    • cin77 6.1

      he’ll get away with this one too because too many kiwis are complacent (not sure if thats the word i mean… its early lol)

      • Roy 6.1.1

        Some are complacent, some are just stupid, a few have their snouts in the trough, and many, I think, are deep in ‘learned helplessness’.

        • Akldnut 6.1.1.1

          While many too are oblivious or have very little knowledge of the goings on, the majority I speak switch off at the thought of political commentary.

  7. ianmac 7

    I wonder who are the Shareholders of Sky City ? Mums and dads? NZers? Offshore?
    The huge profits from Sky City would be profits to enhance NZ economy. Right?

    • Herodotus 7.1

      Sure let us all subsidies Sky City how about then modify the coy tax rate and allow profits from this organuisation be taxed at say 50% or 66% then we can claw back this subsidy. Everyone wins the coy and its shareholders as they have expanded their operation, we have a cheap convention centre and we can reclaim additional tax to cover doing deals.
      And r0b thanks for the link to national radio.

    • lprent 7.3

      The shares are widespread both locally and overseas. hs’s link shows that (it turns out that I own some indirectly through my kiwisaver – I’m going to have to think about that).

      The issue is more the level of harm to society that their activities cause..

  8. Quasimodo 8

    Dear General R0BINS,

    The enemy has launched a sustained assault via the gambling dens in front of our lines, but the decisive engagement has yet to occur.

    We must withstand repeated attacks until our allies arrive in force and break through his right flank.

    We can then counterattack and drive him in disorder from the field.

    Yours,

    Wellington.

    • Campbell Larsen 8.1

      Sounds like you have been hanging out too much with EMA CEO Kim Campbell (who is a big fan of Napoleon) who gave us this lovely quote shortly after getting the job:

      “…make sure you control your supply line, make sure you concentrate your firepower at your enemy’s weakest point and then once you’ve breached the enemy’s line, consolidate,”

      The employers and manufacturers association – waging a class war since conception – now preparing for a new assault against the working poor of New Zealand.

      Edit: The National Party – waging a class war since conception – now launching a new assault against the working poor of New Zealand.

      • bbfloyd 8.1.1

        well put… says it like it is….

        • Quasimodo 8.1.1.1

          Thanks, bbfloyd. I doubt if they teach much Napoleonic history at secondary level these days .. part of the common experience of early NZ.

          • Campbell Larsen 8.1.1.1.1

            Ah Quasimodo, you should ponder for a moment the numbers that accompany comments – they are really helpful when it comes to navigating threads.

            And you rather seem to have missed the point – which was that the rhetoric and tactics of war are totally unsuited to the task of building a healthy society.

            • Quasimodo 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Campbell: Numbers ? I see no number from where I sit !

              Re. “the rhetoric and tactics of war are totally unsuited to the task of building a healthy society.”

              The theme of this thread seems to be “Key’s Waterloo” .. I thought I’d inject a note
              of realism into the discussion.

              • Campbell Larsen

                sigh

                • Quasimodo

                  Perhaps you could run that past Steven Joyce and the National Party re-electon committee.

                  • Maui

                    BTW, I did not choose this Napoleonic theme.

                    Even his opponents recognised him as a moderniser in many respects.

                    The concept of hubris comes from ancient greek ..

  9. So many people seem to be overlooking the fact that not only has John Key agreed to change the law on how many pokie machines Sky City can have but he has also agreed to change the laws on the casino advertising their products in our media.

    The 60 minute interview by Guyon Espiner with Steven Joyce made reference to the advertising deal they were making to go along with new pokies in return of a convention centre which they say will only benefit the companies who use it while the taxpayer of NZ will have to foot the bill for the maintenance of this world class convention centre.

    Sounds like a John Key deal doesn’t it all the while he is planning to give billions more to the banksters of the word to preserve the financial system he is so desperatly trying to save for the sake of the banksters.

  10. appleboy 10

    This will be the wake up call to even the ignorant masses who’ve been taken in by smile and wave until now.

    Giving concessions to a casino so we get a convention centre built …it just stinks.

    Good lord, what’s next, the British and American Tobacco Rail Loop? Pfizer schools…

    Intervening in the process…it just stinks.

    Selling state assets…it just stinks.

    Tax cuts that gave $100+ a week to the top 10% (paid for by you and me)..it just stinks.

    Privatising prisons…it just stinks.

    Public partnerships in schools…it just stinks.

    They are history and I am now quite confident they will not be reelected next election. That’s some good news in this disaster of a government.

  11. ad 11

    Let me argue against this for a moment.

    Perhaps what John Key is doing is really relaxing into the job, and coming into his own. He is good at making deals on a grand scale and making them work.

    It is the job of the Prime Minsiter to make deals stick. Only elected politicians of his rank and skill can balance the economic and the social benefits and disbenefits on such a contentous project. And only they should – because it is what politics is for.

    The convention centre deal is now in the public arena being debated, simply because it’s contentious and political, and the Prime Miniser has decided that the contention is worth weathering.

    Same as his approach to the Hobbit deal. He made the deal right in front of us, took the hit of the marches against Parliament, and secured a masive economic benefit for all to see.

    Helen Clark on the other hand was timorous and approached commercial deals like a hygene problem. Her approach for example from Singapore Airlines for a share in Air New Zealand was prissy.

    John Key it could be argued, is dealing with an economy that has no growth anywhere, and he has no money to fix it. So he makes deals. Perhaps it is time for New Zealand to lose some of its commercial and political purity in this kind of economy.

    I would put it to you all that the polls continue to say that New Zealanders on the whole agree that it is the role of Prime Minsiter to be “dealmaker-in-chief”.

    • Carol 11.1

      I would put it to you all that the polls continue to say that New Zealanders on the whole agree that it is the role of Prime Minsiter[sic] to be “dealmaker-in-chief”.

      You mean like Faust:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust

      Faust, and the adjective faustian, are often used to describe an arrangement in which an ambitious person surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success: the proverbial “deal with the devil”.[1]

      Or in his most recent pop culture incarnation as Rumpelstitskin (played by the excellent Robert Carlyle) in the TV programme Once Upon a Time, in which he is all about the DEAL and the slippery CONTRACT:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumpelstiltskin#On_screen

      serving as a Faustian figure who enacts costly deals with the characters that they think are to their advantage.

      • mickysavage 11.1.1

        Very good Carol.  TheSkyCity deail is indeed a Faustian agreement.

      • ad 11.1.2

        A little bit Faust, a little bit the poor guy who has to go down into all seven circles of hell to do good. Some spanish dude I recall.

        John Key is becoming the Prime Minister As Entrepeneur. Doing dirty things too unconscionable for saintly lefty mortals.

        I always thought Jim Anterton had a bit of Mephisto in him. Definitely Bill Sutch did. We could easily see Goff’s Chinese free trade agreement in this light. A politics of the deal.

        Mind you, there’s no turning back from that as a country and as a politics when you do.

        • Quasimodo 11.1.2.1

          .. a few other terms might be appropriate.

          How about ‘undue influence’, ‘due process’, ‘kickback’, ‘corruption’, ‘competence’, ‘propriety’, and ‘setting standards’.

      • Treetop 11.1.3

        Were there an election tomorrow the current government would not be re-elected due to the damage they are causing in and to the country.

        • Jester 11.1.3.1

          You need to check the latest morgan poll before pleasuring yourself.

          • Treetop 11.1.3.1.1

            I will. Shame you did not provide a link to the latest morgan poll.

            If the morgan poll is a week old I would be doubtful about its validity as this would be prior to the Sky City fiasco and the decision on the Crafar farm sale.

            • lprent 11.1.3.1.1.1

              Also, like the last poll, there is no evident trend apart from the slow fall of National from the heights of 55% last year and the greens and NZF slowly rising. You have to look over several months before the trends are apparent.

              Link is on the graph.

  12. Treetop 12

    When it comes to having clear boundaries between influencing business/tourism Key has certainly overstepped the boundaries of his position in the government executive.

    Key’s MO is put a glossy look on a business deal to sell it to the country and then he tags the murky (dark, gloomy) detail of the deal on at a later date, then he has the nerve to say that NZers are for it when a poll result shows that the majority of NZers are against the business deal once the murky detail is known. Sadly the murky facts are not all known re assets sales, 500 pokie machines and the Crafar farm sale.

    I really do not like listening to a PM who says I was upfront from the onset of the deal when he has not been, or that he has not intervened in the tendering/planning process when he has.

    .

  13. Tombstone 13

    … and now they’ve just gone and done the deal over the Crafar farms the dirty rotten f*ckers!

    • vto 13.1

      Yahoooo !!

      A few more New Zealanders just became tenants to foreign landlords.

      Such a great way to be innit …. these nat people really are clever and wise ….

  14. DH 14

    This one here will be interesting to follow after the recent revelations about Key’s involvement …..

    “TVNZ studios in the path of SkyCity centre”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10790533

    Looks pretty obvious that Sky City were guaranteed the land in another backroom deal.

  15. And in breaking news the Crafar Farms deal has been approved by the Government.  I guess they decided to dump as much bad news as possible today to lessen the effect of a staggered series of announcements.

    EDIT: Tombstone bet me to it.

  16. Pascal's bookie 16

    “John Key has compromised the dignity of his office with his deal making with a casino operator”

    Guess who?

  17. DH 17

    Standardistas might get a chuckle over this piece….

    Deals that are good for NZ
    By David Farrar

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10800229

    That has to be the most desperate & pitiful attempt at spin I’ve seen in quite a while… people are really going to swallow that line!

  18. captain hook 18

    key has rapidly transformed himself into a clone of spiro t. agnew.
    he just a needs a nixon now to sink the ship.

  19. insider 19

    It might be Key’s Waterloo but you failed to mention he was Wellington and today’s Roy Morgan poll was marshall Bluecher…Lookslike it’s civil war In labour then

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