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Key should resign over ‘faith-based’ government

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 am, April 20th, 2012 - 30 comments
Categories: corruption, national - Tags:

Key’s reasoning for not calling a halt to the business case study for an international convention centre was that he had already decided it was a good idea. Therefore, there was no need for a business case to determine whether it was a good idea.

What is this? Faith-based government?

The truth is, the international convention centre is a dog and the number of international conventions is falling. New Zealand has spare capacity. It would be pretty sad if the only way to grow the country was an international convention centre to leech more money from gambling addicts, anyway.

It’s all reminiscent of their determination to sell assets despite their business case being a “not our best guess; it’s just a guess“, in English’s own words.

And, as with asset sales, it’s all about using government powers to give favours to National’s mates.

If we learned that a minister had intervened to give special favours to a mate, we would expect them to resign. That’s what Nick Smith did. And it’s what John Key should do.

He intervened to ensure that the international convention centre – a pet project of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development, then headed by Key’s mentor Jim McLay before Key made him our representative at the UN – would be built without a proper business case.

He gave special priority to the bid from SkyCity (including approaching them to make a bid and offering them legislative changes so they wouldn’t depend on public money), the same SkyCity where National hosts all its Auckland parties and conventions. His government has failed to review SkyCity’s problem gambling strategy and Key won’t strengthen the rules to stop problem gambling = more profits for National ally SkyCity.

The timelines on both TVNZ and TV3 last night were damning.

It’s an abuse of power and a conflict of interest.

Key should go.

He won’t. He doesn’t have the principles. But I hear the factions are making a lot of phone calls right now.

30 comments on “Key should resign over ‘faith-based’ government ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    What Key should have done once he knew Sky City wanted extra gambling for their ‘free’ convention centre was say to the other bidders you can have the same gambling machines and tables as Skycity wanted as top ups and ask them to revise their bid.

    My ‘bet’ is that Sky City would withdraw the extra gambling extra quick and still offer the free convention centre to keep competition out.
    However , once the egg is scrambled ….

    • rosy 1.1

      “What Key should have done once he knew Sky City wanted extra gambling for their ‘free’ convention centre was say to the other bidders you can have the same gambling machines and tables as Skycity wanted as top ups and ask them to revise their bid.”

      Very good point.
      Instead the opposite is happening – a sinking lid on pokies (oustide of SkyCity) and more of those that are left will be at SkyCity making it a monopoly provider.

  2. Carol 2

    Eddie, you address some very important critical issues here.

    But your reasons for Key needing to resign differ slightly between your headline and your article. In the headline the focus is on following an ideology and ignoring the evidence. You partly address this in the post, but the main focus is on resigning due to cronyism – the most damning of the 2 issues is the abuse of power & conflict of interest..

  3. bad12 3

    Slippery John Key, the lead weight of pathetic crony capitalism that will drag the National Party to another 9 years of opposition in 2014,

    Hopefully,along with the National Party of pocket liners marching into electoral oblivion will be the ‘Hair-do’ from Ohariu, Te Party Maori,and, John (the convicted) Banks who’s only political attribute would seem to be His sychophantic chanting of the words ”john key john key john key” like a love-struck school-boy…

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Slippery John Key, the lead weight of pathetic crony capitalism that will drag the National Party to another 9 years of opposition in 2014,

      I’d prefer it if it got rid of them permanently but, unfortunately, people keep forgetting that the worst thing you can do to the country is vote NACT into government.

  4. alex 4

    Which factions? Details please.

  5. insider 5

    Faith based govt? IS that a little bit like having faith in a ‘living wage’ but not actually doing anything about it?

    Are you now against government’s having ideologies and making ideological decisions?

    Cullen showed similar faith-based approach when he bought the railways. Only in that case there was a massive transfer of taxpayer money to a private company. Most standardistas seemed to think he should have been sainted for picking such a winner.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      The rail is making a profit for NZ, the extra gambling will only be making a profit for SkyCity and extra costs and social breakdown for the community.

  6. Adrian 6

    I would bet Keys considerable fortune that at least one of his blind trusts that he knows nothing about ( except exactly how many properties and shares he has in all sorts of things ) has a fair sized lump of Skycity holdings. Has anyone tried to find out? If there are, it would be the kiss of death as even teflon eventually wears thin.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    There is an alternate term to “faith-based” that could describe ShonKey’s behviour, he seems to have learnt a few new tricks in addition to his existing dodgy bankster ones, from Commodore Vorque. Legislation by decree.

  8. Uturn 8

    If John Key is removed, it will only be because his support either arranged for him to over-extend and begin the Sky City deal or that they had so openly abondoned him already that he went rogue and did the deal for some private reason. I doubt National as a party are all that concerned about losing John Key. Key himself has been out to lunch since a few months before the last election. Watching him was like watching a man being called to pick up a prize he didn’t want, to a competition he forgot he’d entered. The man’s career as PM is fatally wounded and probably not worthy of all the attention anymore. It’s just a matter of watching how many more stabs from his friends he can take before he finally expires. In the knife fight of politics, it seems that keeping no one close would be the best course.

    • Tiger Mountain 8.1

      Parting is such sweet sorrow…

      Once he is back in Hawaii starfishing in his money pool ala Scrooge McDuck as another commenter here suggested, a niche industry is going to start up analysing how the moral vacuum that is ShonKey got away with “Being There” for as long as he did.

      Oh well, the rest of us will have to pick up the pieces again in our largely stuffed post colonial comprador capitalist island state. The labour movement is starting to be a bit more effective at last these days with the official organisations-NZCTU, Greens, Mana, Labour, unionised workers and supporters, hard left and just ordinary 99%ers working together more consistently.

      So don’t just go John, piss off.

    • just saying 8.2

      I’d love to see a cross-party accord that the knighthood system will be gone by lunchtime when they get in power. Apart from the system itself being total crap, denying Key a knighthood would be the only smidgen of justice we’re ever likely to see for what he has done to us.

    • Balanced View 8.3

      Uturn, I can’t possibly see how you could come to these conclusions, unless you have spent far too much time on this site believing everything you read.
      To me, these comments are just as delusional as the ones I see on Whale Oil claiming that National couldn’t possibly lose the next election.

      • McFlock 8.3.1

        Key has a similar energy level now as Clark did towards the end of Lab5. Probably something to do with him being on the defensive and not being used to it.

  9. DJ 9

    “Watching him was like watching a man being called to pick up a prize he didn’t want, to a competition he forgot he’d entered.”


    “It’s just a matter of watching how many more stabs from his friends he can take before he finally expires”

    Thought for a brief moment you were describing Shearer (The Unfortunate Experiment) there.

    • Uturn 9.1

      Shearer speeches are like listening to a man who had too much cheese before bedtime and has woken up in an half-awake fog to tell his wife about the stuff he has to do, difficult stuff… come on… get out of the way… damn beneficiaries… arggh… mumble mumble… work hard… do the right thing… must get ahead…

      But we’re aren’t talking about Shearer and my poor analogy limit has been reached.

      • Vicky32 9.1.1

        Shearer speeches are like listening to a man who had too much cheese before bedtime and has woken up in an half-awake fog to tell his wife about the stuff he has to do, difficult stuff… come on… get out of the way… damn beneficiaries… arggh… mumble mumble… work hard… do the right thing… must get ahead…
        But we’re aren’t talking about Shearer and my poor analogy limit has been reached.

        What’s with all the hatred of Shearer here? Are most Standardistas paid up members of the Greens? I recall not long ago, seeing everyone shriek about the “terrible things” Shearer had said in his (largely ignored by the msn) speech, yet when I read the speech – lo and behold, he hadn’t said those bene bashing right wing things at all!

        • lprent

          It is like most things. There is vast range of opinion on most topics, and most people seem to notice those who do not have the same opinions. In those case you’re talking to someone who has just made 11 comments here as far as I can see.

          Peronally at present, I am pretty much in wait and see mode because I haven’t seen anything that he is doing (or Phil Goff before him) about getting the our second biggest party to shift their vote.

          The non-voter group has pretty well doubled in size since the 2005 election after steadily increasing in size over the last 20 years. They have done so with good reason – they fail to see the relevance of a political system that spends all of its time pandering to the most vocal lowest common denominator on everything from talkback to kiwiblog. That doesn’t do anything to create anything of a long term future for those non-voters to vote for. It is also daft because it means that both major parties are simply in close competition over a smaller existing market rather than expanding the marketplace. Which in essence mirrors much of their attitudes about how to expand our economy.

          So far I haven’t seen either David or his team uttering anything more relevant than National. Which to me is a problem because I joined and have volunteered for Labour for a very very long time because they have tried to look longer-term. Right or wrong, over my lifetime they have damn well tried to move our society to cope with change. But right now they’re looking as short term, and as bereft of workable long-term ideas as a National-lite. Even worse they look incompetent.

          Hopefully, they will learn to take some frigging risks and articulate and hold to a coherent set of objectives. Currently I think that they spend most of their time listening to short term qualitative reasearch rather than using their damn brains.

          But that is merely my opinion…

          • M

            Mostly agree Lynn – still gutted that Cunliffe didn’t get the top job – one could have heard the popping of corks and gleeful knee-slapping in Auckland of the NActs grateful that they would get a soft ride. I really would have enjoyed seeing Cunliffe ploughing into Key and pushing him into making blunders because he’s so narcissistic that sooner or later his reach would exceed his grasp.

            I’m in the ‘if you don’t vote, don’t complain’ camp but apart from the Mana party I don’t see anyone articulating what the hell is going on in NZ and the Greens don’t inspire me much – they’re way too cosy with National. Come 2014 I may waste my vote by going with Mana but think it will be better than voting for for Labour because between them and NAct I’m sure there wouldn’t be room to squeeze a credit card.

            Read a review of Gordon McLachlan’s latest book and he calls out Key for the con man he is – hope it’s at the library soon

            ‘”Why would John Key, with his money, go in to politics unless he had a deep-dyed need to do something for his country. I don’t see it. What does he believe in? Can anyone tell me? Muldoon believed in himself and bullying people. I don’t have the faintest idea what drives John Key. It’s hard to see him late at the office worrying about 80,000 unemployed youth. When you look behind John Key you see the same old, shop-worn politicians there when Don Brash was leader. Nothing much has changed. They’ve found a frontman who can deflect serious issues.” ‘


  10. captain hook 10

    went to town this morning and even his tory mates are conceeding that his administration is aquiring an air of seedy not quite criminality.
    it is not looking good for him.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    We need the power of recall so that we can get rid of the corrupt MPs without having to rely on principles they don’t have.

  12. logie97 12

    They would say that wouldn’t they.
    Auckland Airport chief has come out in support of Key’s machinations, saying that it is what he could expect of a Minister of Tourism.

    Perhaps that is the problem. The Prime Minister should not have extra portfolios outside being the Prime Minister and Minister responsible for the nations security. Every other ministry should be at arms length and the responsibility of his minions.

    That would give the public confidence at least of a perception that he is not close to any dealings.

    This is all of his own making through his poor advice / arrogance / or ignorance of how things should be done in government.

  13. Observer 13

    It is remarkable that John Key’s only likely legacy is an expanded gambling den.

    It would be more worthy of him if he shovelled pig shit – wouldn’t it?

  14. DH 14

    I think the left, ie Labour, Greens etc, need to start framing a solid demand for the audit office to investigate this corruption.

    What this comes down to is that Sky City have valued the law changes at some $350million. The Govt have agreed in principle to accept this offer. First of all the govt is therefore giving away a $350million asset in exchange for the Convention Centre, the claim that it cost the Govt nothing is demonstrably false. They could tender out the law changes separately to all comers, there is no requirement for the pokies to be tied to the Convention Centre.

    Secondly Sky City were given favoured treatment over all other bidders; no other party to the Convention tender was offered the right to install 500 pokies. If they had been offered the pokies, or similar such law changes, they may have made better offers than Sky City. They would definitely have made better offers than they did. Which leads to the conclusion that the preferential treatment given to Sky City is not only corrupt but also legally nullifies the tender.

    Another angle for the left to take is that if our gambling laws are merely products to be sold to the highest bidder then there’s no point in maintaining Sky City’s casino monopoly. I reckon the Govt could sell casino licences for at least $500mil apiece. So what if Sky City shares lose value, it’s only business after all.

  15. Roy 15

    I wonder why Key imagines that conference attendees all want to spend their off time in a casino, anyway. I can understand that people who have made a career out of gambling, as he did, might want to do that. As a scientist, I have attended a lot of conferences but I doubt many of the attendees would have wanted to spend hours in a casino. When entertainment was offered, most people went for golf, a cruise, a tour or something like that. I wonder how many professional groups other than currency traders would actually be attracted to a conference centre where the available entertainment is a casino.

    • Sam 15.1

      Does NZ really need a convention centre?
      Do anyone think that we will see thousands of foreigners come here just for one tlakfest after another? Yeah right!
      The Crafar farms sage has just told the world that NZ is for sale and also that governments of other countries can buy our land, companies etc etc. They have already bought our prisons, soon will be buying our schools, they already own the commercial TV stations, only TVNZ is still NZ owned.
      And is it coincidence that TVNZ will have to give up its studios?

      I believe this is so true:
      “If it seems corrupt, smells corrupt and looks corrupt, then it likely is corrupt.”

  16. Observer 16

    Hello Bob

    Your work in supporting John Key in his bid to increase gambling access, might have been impressive if you had quoted the Department of Internal Affairs statistics correctly. Instead you ended up making your hero look like the White Knight of falsity.

    To quote data in the selective way you have, is not considered honest. Yes, I know political spin doctors do it all the time. But that does not make it honest.

    The fact of the matter is, that pokie machine numbers appear to have been on a relatively steady rate of decline since July 2003, irrespective of which Government was in power. You will see this information in the same graph which you included in your reply to me above. You will also note that DIA goes out of its way to say, and to list some reasons why, its data is not definitive.

    Contrary to your words, John Key is seeking to increase the number of gaming machines.

    If a new Convention Centre is needed, the billions of annual profits garnered by Pokie Licencees could easily fund it – without increasing the number of gaming machines.

    Being disappointed in your use of stats, I have no way of placing confidence in your other data related to the benefits of building the proposed Centre.


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