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Another Corporate Con

February 15, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

For a group who ostensibly support self-sufficiency, financial prudence, and economic fairness the current New Zealand government sure seems to have double-standards when it suits them. They cut back on social programs helping the poor but that same policy just doesn’t seem to apply to big corporations.

I’m talking about the possible hand-outs to Sky City, of course (although I could have been talking about other similar issues in the past, such as the Warner Brothers movie deal). And I know that nothing has been decided yet but it’s very clear from what various government ministers are saying that they are very prepared to proceed with the contribution of possibly more than $100 million if they need to.

This is a rare case where both the left and the far-right are united against an idea that the center-right National Party supports. And the average citizen isn’t exactly enthusiastic either. A text poll by Campbell Live (yes, I know it’s not scientifically credible) found 97% of respondents were against the possible deal. Reaction to requests for contributions on the street (again, I know it was just a stunt) was equally clear where comments included: “selling us down the river to corporate business who are cynical about life”, “disgusting, isn’t it… obscene”, “not a hope in hell” and “you’ve got to be joking” (well yes, they were).

Not only is Skycity a typical greedy, self-serving private corporation (like many others) but I think it is certainly more evil than most, especially in the way it preys on the weak and poor who are addicted to its gambling machines. And yes, I know people should have the self-control to not allow themsleves to be hooked on gambling, but the fact is that many don’t.

Like all corporations Skycity isn’t all bad. They do provide some services that the country needs and they do provide jobs for a reasonable number of people, so that is good. But they do cause a lot of harm as well and on balance I think we would be better off without them. If they want to operate here then that is fine (well not really fine but I can reluctantly accept it) but they shouldn’t be getting hand-outs from the tax-payer via this government.

We are assured by some people, especially the prime minister, that the convention center would have significant benefits for the country. But no one has ever done any real analysis to prove this (in fact the PM cancelled an analysis being prepared by MBIE) and surely the PM’s credibility must be in tatters by now. How many lies and deliberate exaggerations must he be involved in before people see him for what he really is?

So John Key’s assurances that the new convention center would not cost the tax-payer a cent must be looking about as credible as his assurances that his party would not raise taxes when they were first elected (GST is a tax). Is it incompetence? Is it corruption? You be the judge, but an article in the NBR (which is presumably usually a fairly pro-business, conservative publication) titled “Close to Corruption” is an interesting read (and sure it is by Matthew Hooton who is prone to hyperbole, but he is also a well known National supporter).

John Key said that when his party easily won the last election (and I must congratulate them on managing to con the voting public for so long, although the lack of enthusiasm for the opposition was probably more important than anything else) that he would not allow them to become arrogant. Well that’s happening already, but at least now people will hopefully see him for what he is: a skilled con artist primarily interested in helping his rich, powerful and very corrupt corporate friends.

  1. OJB
    February 15, 2015 at 4:31 am

    OK, so minutes after posting this Skycity announced that they would not be seeking the extra funding from the government. My comments still apply however because I don’t have the slightest doubt that they would have gone ahead with it if they could have.

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