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Joyce’s dirty deals: Skycity

Written By: - Date published: 7:19 am, April 3rd, 2012 - 40 comments
Categories: business, Steven Joyce - Tags:

While Collins is busy backing herself into a corner over the ACC affair and has found herself footing the bill for vexatious lawsuits, Joyce, her main rival for the post-Key leadership, is cutting a sleazy deal with SkyCity: more pokies and relaxed licencing in return for an international convention centre we don’t need. Now we learn SkyCity is fostering problem gambling.

3news revealed last night that, contrary to Key and Joyce’s claims, SkyCity does not stop problem gambling:

One woman, a problem gambler, told 3 News she put thousands of dollars a week into the pokies at the Auckland casino.

The only way she could stop was by barring herself – effectively taking out a trespass order so she couldn’t go inside.

“After one or two weeks I’m back again… but Sky City never took me out,” the woman – who would only be identified as Nancy – told 3 News.

She’s not alone.

3 News has learned there were 265 trespass breaches last year. Of those:

201 were barred by the casino but got back in
64 had barred themselves

The Problem Gambling Foundation says Sky City’s host responsibility is poor and fuels problem gambling.

“If they are winning money, they are told to go home and get some sleep. But if they are losing money, nothing is said,” Problem Gambling Foundation spokesperson Andree Freude.

The casino also had:

54 incidents of deserted children last year
25 cases of fraud
14 assaults – some serious

“Sky City are making a lot of money out of problem gamblers,” Mr Freude.

So, let me get this straight. National’s big vision for Auckland, the policy into which mega-minister Joyce is putting all his effort, is to get the city 500 more pokie machines and an international convention centre that MED reckons will be lucky to break-even on a cash-flow basis,let alone cover its cost of capital.

Quite why Joyce is so obsessed with SkyCity remains unclear, but if the tangled web of cronyism and undue influence being exposed by the ACC affair is anything to go by, it won’t be out of his concern for the greater good.

I knew it would be stunning, but who would have thought the future would be this bright?

40 comments on “Joyce’s dirty deals: Skycity ”

  1. Kotahi Tane Huna 1

    Joyce’s sleaze has been thrown into stark relief by the comparison with South Australian treasurer Jack Snelling:

    It’s fair to say there was a frank exchange of views,” he told ABC.

    ”As far as I’m concerned they now understand that there cannot and will not be any connection between any changes to their regulatory arrangements governing the casino and their investment on the Riverbank precinct.”

    He said the redevelopment was not contingent on the casino’s plans and would go ahead regardless of whether SkyCity was involved in it or not, ABC reported.

    The Australian Financial Review quoted Snelling on Thursday: ”I will tell them they are dreaming. There is no way we are going soft on them in our discussions [over the licence] in exchange for them investing in the Riverbank.”

    Meanwhile, Joyce puts government legislation up for sale. Normal practice is for the National Party to channel bribes through their not-so-secret trust accounts, but obviously Joyce simply doesn’t care.

    • bbfloyd 1.1

      he seems to be still operating under the assumption that the msm will continue with the blanket protection that their owners pay them for…..

      it’s a fair assumption when you remember some of the blunders key and co made during the last term that the msm went to great lengths to cover up……

  2. Tom Gould 2

    Like so many of his smiling promises, when the dust settles it turns out the brighter future is actually reserved for him and his Tory cronies. Does this make Sky City one of them? I guess raking in millions from poor gamblers and blowing it on a Tory pipe dream could be seen as a kind-of trickle up?

    • bbfloyd 2.1

      phase one…. “donations”… phase two…. sinecures…. phase three.. knighthoods….

      it’s all so….. elegant!

  3. framu 3

    something ive been trying to figure out…

    sky city say they will build the convention center in exchange for more pokies

    the actual operational costs (once built) are being met by who?

    who carries the can if/when it runs at a loss?
    who ends up running the center?

    • shorts 3.1

      perhaps if the convention center isn’t the success one would hope for then it could always be filled with some more pokie machines

      no need to let that space go to waste

      or perhaps another car park

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 4

    The extra machines is only one of the policies Sky City is buying off the government.

    I understand that getting the right to ‘promote’ the gambling is high on the list as well. After all they have been buying celebrities ‘face time’ but that doesnt bring in much extra revenue. They want to advertise on TV etc .

  5. toad 5

    In 2005, Sky City made a $60,000 donation to the National Party.

    Since then, there are no disclosed donations to National from Sky City. But I suspect that is likely because the Electoral Act changed with regard to the requirement to disclose donations.

    Sky City could have donated $29,999 to National in each of the three years preceding last year’s election and we would be none the wiser, because political parties have to disclose only donations that exceed $30,000 over any twelve month period.

    And I suspect, given Joyce’s determination to give them this deal, Sky City probably did something like that.

    Denise Roche has a good post on frogblog about the economics of the deal. It simply doesn’t make economic sense, so I suspect patronage and cronyism are again at play.

  6. marsman 6

    Saw Sneaky Steven being interviewed by Espiner the other night, had to blink, thought I was watching John Clarke in one of his spoof interviews. Joyce made no sense, bullshit upon bullshit. Same with his Roads of National Party Importance.

    • ianmac 6.1

      You are so right marsman.
      A remarkable program first up on 60 Minutes TV3 Sunday night.
      The blandness of the self-serving CEO was matched by the telling interview between Guyon Espiner at his best and Steven Joyce at his worst.
      Changing the Law to gain a commercial contract from the Casino seems so wrong.

      • happynz 6.1.1

        Interesting viewing. At first the boss at Sky City makes that play that a convention centre is a money loser, so getting access to more pokies will act as compensation. Later in the piece he offers up that the community gets a great deal in a convention centre that is an economic boost to the city.

        Wha….which is it, bub? Is the convention centre a white elephant or a cash machine for the community?

  7. Kotahi Tane Huna 7

    Joyce’s incompetence and graft have dragged Slippery in – he’s busy revealing how arrogant and clueless he is too.

    • ianmac 7.1

      I hope this becomes a major Media story KTH. Well spotted.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 7.1.1

        I also hope it becomes a major problem for Joyce’s ambitions. Key must have had quite enough of his minions exposing him to media questions after the last week or so 🙂

        • felix

          So that’s both of the supposed frontrunners for Key’s job have dragged him into their own scandals in a week.

          Friends like these, eh?

    • marsman 7.2

      An example of Key’s arrogance and cluelessness-
      “The question is would a small number of pokie machines in addition at Sky City materially make a difference to problem gambling, the answer is I don’t believe it will.”

      • framu 7.2.1

        and if you saw the news clip of that last night you see the text book body language motion for “im lying my a** off”

        not that body language analysis tells us everything of course

        • Rosie

          I think the “body language” is a really valid point. Key is hopeless at hiding his conflicts with what he is saying with what he actually thinks. Yours is a perfect example.

          His face gives his true intent away all the time. When he came back from holiday at the beginning of the year he looked so depressed to back (he didn’t sign up for disasters and tragedy, he was only “ambishus for new zild” in his deleuded self serving way) that I thought for one happy moment that something might tip him and that he would be off the scene but it was only wishful thinking on my part.

          He’s able to lie to a good deal of the public and get away with it.

        • Clashman

          Haha I saw that I thought he was gonna pull his nose off! What I also found interesting was that they seemed to run the clip for longer than necessary in order to show him doing it.

    • And then there is this piece of eel-like rhetoric from Key on the same issue.

      It’s now getting to the point where he deflects, misleads and obfuscates as a matter of course. I can’t count the number of rhetorical ‘tricks’ he turns in these two pieces. (Well, I can – but I’ll leave it to others to ‘spot the tricks’.)

  8. Clearly the public interest/good is of no importance to the key led govt.
    Is there a personal gain from this project,like in media works,acc,tvnz,nz on air,
    tranzrail,crafar farm sale, sky, where will all of this shonkey dealing end?
    There is a problem with gambling at casino’s in nz,so the answer is to
    increase machines by 500,in a populated area of auckland,to have a
    convention centre,a concrete and glass monument.
    Is there a paper trail of sleaze,deals,shares by govt interests,perhaps the
    whole process should be investigated as well,if allowed by key,which is
    most unlikely,its only when ‘whistleblowers’ leak information nz’ers
    really find out what is going on and has gone on,so the casino’s 500
    machines are added to the list of problems for auckland problem gamblers.
    TV3 news showed that the auckland cassino is quite happy when problem
    gamblers are loosing,but when they are winning they suggest they go home
    to bed, key says the cassino is controlling those problem gamblers,yeh right.
    To whose advantage?

  9. felix 9

    There’s another aspect to this that I haven’t seen much talk about, but I believe it was reported on by Guyon Espiner on the telly the other night.

    Apparently Sky City has been paying off high profile journalists. Several well known tv/radio presenters/interviewers are reportedly on the payroll.

    This stinks enough as it is, but if Sky City are involved in corrupting our fourth estate, it does open up other questions.

    Does anyone in the National Party hierarchy receive cash or favours from Sky City?

    How much did the National Party pay to hold their election night party at Sky City?

    How many other National Party events have been hosted there?

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    Key , when asked about the 2.5% ‘return to the community’ says theres ‘something not right’ about the figures. But of course he doesnt have the ‘right’ figures either.

    I guess it means more money paid for face time from Mike Hosking.

  11. There was a crooked government, who created crooked laws.

    This has to be the most crooked government in the history of New Zealanders.

    So many people are saying they are sorry to have voted National in and won’t be voting National again, but you know what it will be too late and it is their own stupid fault, they will have wrecked their futures as well as ours.

    The crooked government will have passed so many crooked laws that we will have no option but live in a crooked country – or leave.

    • marsman 11.1

      Take heart from all the opposition to Shonkey’s slimy scamming, more and more people are waking up to the fraud.

  12. DH 12

    It’s pretty sad to see how far our media have fallen, time was this would have been seen for the corruption it is and the govt brought to account. Now they barely pay lip service to regular blatant conflicts of interest from this govt.

    Convention centres are not something governments get involved in, they’re a local council thing. A new convention centre in Auck would just take convention business away from other cities and Govt stays right away from that kind of trouble. Their justifications for doing the deal don’t even stack up.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Their justifications for doing the deal don’t even stack up.

      Lots of their mates get contracts and management positions on the tax payers construction tit. Damn fine justification right there. Probably not what you had in mind though.

  13. kevyn 13

    How can Key and Joyce justify the claim that the construction will “create” 1,000 jobs, unless they are admitting that they are going to let the insurance companies stall the start of the Canterbury rebuild until the their customers go insane and take three-quarters of their entitlement in cash and buggar off to Australia where the ACCC will protect them from insurance cartels.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Build more cycleways as part of the reconstruction, I say. That’ll bring about the promised jobs growth.

  14. Dv 14

    Could anyone list the targets, promises the NActs have met in the time they have been in power?

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