Thursday, March 08, 2012

Our corrupt government

For the past six months, the government has been pushing a deal for SkyCity to open a new international convention centre in Auckland. The quid pro quo? Law changes allowing SkyCity more pokies, more gaming tables, and more freedom to push them on the public. This is rightly attracting a lot of criticism, both because it seems that the law is for sale under National, and because the social harm (from problem gambling and associated fraud) just from those extra pokies seems to outweigh the benefits. But there's another troubling aspect as well: the proposal relies on access to land owned and used by TVNZ:

TVNZ owns 85-93 Hobson St which includes the studios where the programme Good Morning moved to this year. Its Maori and Pacific unit and Freeview are also based at the site, which is next to its network centre headquarters on Victoria St.

The site is incorporated in artists' impressions for the $350 million convention centre, which will have overhead skyways above Hobson St linking the centre to the casino.

The combined 3084sq m site is home to about 150 staff but so far there has been no sign whether they will need to move.

Key and Joyce are not going to let a state-owned company thwart their corrupt little sweetheart deal. Which means they'll be forcing TVNZ to move out of a key studio, at considerable expense, so SkyCity - a significant National Party donor - can get what it wants. That sort of corrupt abuse of state resources might be acceptable in Zimbabwe - but it is not in New Zealand.