Are we to expect that next time a cigarette company wants to withhold the evidence that smoking will take 11 years off the life of every second smoker, they just need to do a dodgy deal with National to build a convention centre with added ciggie sale points right? Or the booze barons could build a convention centre / mega-bar and no papers will be allowed out on alcohol harm either presumably? At what point do the best interests of New Zealanders get to trump the best interests of foreign corporates?
You know it by now, Key, English, and Joyce have said it often enough – National’s formula for the economy is more mining, selling assets, and convention centres. We’re actually making less money from mining now than 5 years ago. Asset sales have been a predictable failure. But we’ve got 3 new convention centres coming, that’ll bring in the international revenue, eh? Nah.
Yesterday, National released hundreds of pages of documents on the SkyCity deal. They paint the picture of a government that locked itself politically into getting a deal and locked in SkyCity as the only option then was surprised when SkyCIty screwed them for everything it could get. Even the far from bleeding hearts at Treasury said it wasn’t worth the cost.
Key’s grubby little deal on the Sky City convention center is about as popular as halitosis. Public opinion is against it, and so is the Auckland City Council. But Key will carry on regardless, because he is much too arrogant to back down.
The reaction to the Auditor General’s report on Key’s Sky City deal is lingering in the headlines much longer than Key would like. “Corrupted process”. “Stench”. “No way to run a country”. Key badly misjudged this one.
A year ago, I wrote that SkyCity was pursuing the dirty practice of ‘subvention’ – where owners of white elephant infrastructure extort governments for subsidies – for the convention centre. The msm has caught up and is reporting on it now. MED denies there will be any subvention; but Joyce says it’s all on the table. And what about the $10m+ in operating subsidies the centre would need?
The Auditor-General’s report catalogues a dirty deal hatched between Key’s office and SkyCity execs to give SkyCity more pokies ‘in return for’ a convention centre. It shows the bidding process was a farce and reveals that the whole ‘trade-off’ of pokies for convention centre is a con hatched by SkyCity and the Nats. And there’s a deeper issue.
Remember when John Key promised 4,000 new jobs from the cycleway and, in fact, a few hundred, short-term, part-time positions were created? Remember when John Key promised 170,000 new jobs and unemployment went up instead? Looks like Key’s being making it up on the pokies-for-convention centre deal too, which would create only a fraction of the jobs promised.
Key’s selling our gambling law to SkyCity in return for a convention centre with no government capital contribution. But, MED says, we would be subsidising that convention centre with $10m for starters. Plus marketing costs. And, then, ongoing subsidies both if convention numbers fall short and as a kickback when it does host conventions.
David Shearer’s created an easy way to send John Key a message about selling the law to SkyCity. Here’s your chance to tell John his plan to inflict harm on the community to increase the profit of SkyCity is stupid.