Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Key's casino

So, it turns out that the shady deal which saw SkyCity offered a law change and new pokies machines in exchange for building a new convention centre in Auckland was all John Key's idea. They didn't ask him to prostitute New Zealand law - he approached them. "For tourism", of course, but we all know its about National helping out its mates, regardless of the level of social harm it will cause.

And in this case, that social harm is serious. Pokies are the crack cocaine of gambling. They are specifically designed to be addictive, to allow people to be fleeced of their money. Those addicts destroy their lives and those of their families, commit fraud and other crimes to keep feeding their addiction. Simple consumer protection justifies stringent regulation of a product like this (just as it does for pyramid scams), as well as making pokie providers pay for the social harm they cause. John Key would throw those protections out the window, so his rich mates can make money by exploiting the poor.

If Auckland needs a new convention centre (and the tourism industry thinks it does), then it should stand or fall on its own merits, not be built on the backs of the poor. This dodgy deal needs to be cancelled, and SkyCity told to take a hike.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to let John Key know what you think of his prostituting New Zealand law, Labour has set up a website here. Just remember to unclick the "spam me" box.