Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: SpinCity

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  • Bart Janssen,

    The truly sad thing about this whole sordid story - from the original deal to the unabashed spin being delivered now - is that it was all entirely predictable.

    For this particular government nothing matters but doing the big deal. That isn't a comment about The National Party it's about this particular team they have representing them. For these guys it really doesn't matter what long-term harm might be done nor that the deal might not be the best deal, nor that the deal might not be needed at all, just so long as they get to make the deal. They are "the men", yes even the women involved. They close the deal.

    Sadly the people who will suffer from the damage that gambling (particularly pokies) does to families will get no consideration. It will just be a problem for some later government to clean up, or as is more likely to dismiss.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    To me the numbers dont add up
    . They got 230 poker machines last time, which they dont have to give back, when the smaller convention center is subsumed by the new one.

    So the actual number of machines for the new larger centre is 560

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The trouble with this line is that it’s bullshit. Yes, the numbers are the same – but they were achieved by wholly different means.

    It’s also weirdly beside the point if you believe, as a non-trivial number of people do, that any pokie machines are a very bad thing on almost any imaginable grounds no matter how, or when, or even where, they arrived.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I don't doubt the economic value of a big, high-quality convention centre

    I do. If a commercial enterprise is genuinely viable, then it should be able to happen at a profit within our existing legal framework. If it requires taxpayer funding and legal facilitation it isn't viable.

    We don't have a car factory, IKEA store or spaceport in New Zealand. Maybe giant convention centres are another thing that just doesn't work here.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    So they 230 number was arrived at purely to match Labour's number? That smacks of politicians who are only interested in point-scoring against the opposition and not in the interests of the public or the country.

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I think there is a need for a large convention centre. I went to a conference recently , 400 people from NZ , Sky City was the only conference center in NZ they could get that could deal with that number. Trouble is because they are the only ones the conference organizers had to accept their price , no competition.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to James W,

    So they 230 number was arrived at purely to match Labour’s number?

    Maybe 230 is the level at which you get a good bulk purchasing discount? Or that will fit in a certain area of casino floor that will be made available?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I do. If a commercial enterprise is genuinely viable, then it should be able to happen at a profit within our existing legal framework. If it requires taxpayer funding and legal facilitation it isn't viable.

    Not sure about that. It could be viable to be handed a business, even if it's not viable to build one. I'm not against the government helping for major infrastructure facilities to be built.

    What's wrong is that the cost is going to be larger numbers of lives ruined by gambling. The convention center will be built on the destruction of families.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Darlington,

    If a commercial enterprise is genuinely viable, then it should be able to happen at a profit within our existing legal framework.

    Public transport, for example? Seriously, don't go there - there's an endless range of publicly owned or subsidised commercial activity that most of us wouldn't want to do without.

    Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    It’s also weirdly beside the point if you believe, as a non-trivial number of people do, that any pokie machines are a very bad thing on almost any imaginable grounds no matter how, or when, or even where, they arrived.

    I hate the bloody things – and I’ve had one friend become addicted to them. It’s a disturbing thing to witness.

    But one government legislated to reduce the number of machines and prevent dispensations like the 2001 one (you could argue they should have done so sooner, but they presented a bill within six months of the CCA decision, and much of that was the summer recess) – and another government is preparing to legislate to increase the number of machines. I honestly don’t think it’s viable to imply that Labour did the same thing as National is doing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I hate the bloody things – and I’ve had one friend become addicted to them. It’s a disturbing thing to witness.

    Addiction of any kind is worrisome, but the outcome of a gambling addiction is particularly severe. Because the illusion is that you can actually win back money lost, it encourages doubling down, to the point that it encourages seriously criminal behaviour, as the gambler considers it a victimless crime if the money is won back. This took a huge toll on my family a few years ago. People who are not really "bad" people at all can end up doing very bad things. There's not much that's good about a wholesale expansion of that kind of industry in our city.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    The provision that allows SkyCity to sue for compensation if gambling legislation changes in 35 YEARS time is the most outrageous. Doesn't bode well for this Government's TPPA stance does it?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Richard Aston,

    the conference organizers had to accept their price

    And this new facility helps how?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    Yet another example of how the market rules only when assisted by the state. Ideology has its place but sticks in the craw when it is only ever used for private enrichment.

    Anyone notice that the 400ppm reading happened the other day? Thought not.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    The Guardian noticed and George Monbiot's blog has some thoughts. "It is symbolic of our failure to put the long-term prospects of the natural world and the people it supports above immediate self-interest." That's what connects this to the SkyCity idiocy. IMHO.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2013/may/10/carbon-dioxide-milestone-climate-change

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • James W, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Maybe 230 is the level at which you get a good bulk purchasing discount? Or that will fit in a certain area of casino floor that will be made available?

    And I'll gladly accept any evidence of either of those answers. But for now it seems a bit suspect.

    Since Jul 2008 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • slarty, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Some firms can't work here because we have quaint old-fashioned beliefs such as requiring businesses to pay tax. Our almost unique general anti-avoidance provision fends off firms that have been said to be a bit aggressive in such areas...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    they presented a bill within six months of the CCA decision

    Which was a good thing. It would have been better if they had acted to force the authority to delay the decision until it could be reconsidered by government, but they didn't. As a result that decision was made on their watch and they should simply own up to that fact. It's called being responsible for what happens under your management. No amount of tweets now changes the responsibility and no amount of leglsation to prevent it happening again removes the responsibility.

    I totally get that leaning on the authority would have been an uncomfortable thing for a government to do but not at all without precendent.

    What bugs me about Labours commentary today is that they are avoiding accepting the simple fact that they failed to stop it happening while they were in government. Their legislation afterwards was good but FFS person-up and shoulder the responsibility even if you don't believe it was your fault. That is the job.

    And of course nothing about Labour's actions 10 years ago makes this government's actions any less reprehensible, and we now have data on just how bad the 230 pokies at Skycity are so you could argue this decision is even worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Maybe 230 is the level at which you get a good bulk purchasing discount? Or that will fit in a certain area of casino floor that will be made available?

    I think my explanation is considerably more likely.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Which was a good thing. It would have been better if they had acted to force the authority to delay the decision until it could be reconsidered by government, but they didn’t.

    Because they couldn't. The CCA is a quasi-judicial body that acts under statute. Ministers can't just tell it what to do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ministers can’t legally just tell it what to do.

    Fixed

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Hmmm...This what the herald says they get with the 12 extra gaming tables:

    * An additional 40 gaming tables
    * A further 12 gaming tables that can be substituted for automated table game player stations (but not pokie machines)

    I read that as 1 table = 1 substitute Auto Goodie.

    But the agreement says this:

    An additional 40 gaming tables (based on current average opportunities to game), together with a further 12 gaming tables with the ability, in respect of each of those 12 gaming tables, to substitute each table for the right to operate 20 fully Automated Table Game Player Stations (but which are not substitutable for Single Terminal Gaming Machines) per table;

    (My Bold)

    Say what?

    Does this say they will get 12 X 20 (240!!) Automated Table Game Stations or have I misread it???

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1588 posts Report Reply

  • Eediot,

    Does anyone know exactly where this will be located? I read conjecture about the TVNZ site being required and TVNZ knowing nothing about it but this seems unlikely surely.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    It’s yet another symptom of the nation being run from a golf cart on a country club green, instead of Parliament.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    Graham,

    The ETS schemes of Europe are non-robust and unworkable. They fail because their authors ask too much of other people and do not ask enough of themselves.

    The biggest threat to the planet is unchecked consumerism, the readers of Monbiot are almost all first world consumers. An ETS deflects costs away from consumers and on to world production (which is more & more developing world). Monbiot's readership has a preferred approach of avoiding direct responsibility for climate change and will now blame others for their failure to act.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

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