Friday, June 28, 2013

Just irrational

No matter which way you look at it, this is just irrational:

The Government says it is difficult to estimate the social costs of the SkyCity convention centre deal but is nevertheless confident they will be outweighed by the benefits it brings.

In a recent briefing paper to his Cabinet colleagues, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says gambling law concessions including allowing SkyCity to increase gaming machine numbers "might lead to an increase in the number of people seeking help for problem gambling''.

But while Mr Joyce has received official advice on the issue, he told his colleagues, ``It is difficult to quantify the potential size of any such increase or its consequences, which could include financial costs, effects on employment, crime, personal and family impacts, and treatment costs for persons affected''.

Joyce has refused to release his official advice, claiming it is "commercially sensitive". That's nonsense. This information is not about SkyCity's business, it is about how that business adversely affects the public of New Zealand. And that is something we have a fundamental right to know. And if Joyce thinks we won't like it if we see it, that tells us everything we need to know about his shoddy, corrupt little deal.

(As for releasing the information only once the deal has been made, that is not how democracy is supposed to work. If this deal is made in our name, then we have a right to know the details and debate them fully before it is signed. Otherwise it cannot possibly be regarded as binding, and in fact should be immediately repudiated)