Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Deals and democracy

National's corrupt sky-city pokies deal passed its third reading last night, and David Cunliffe immediately responded by putting SkyCity on notice that it will not be bound by the deal:

“Labour will regulate to prevent gambling harm.

“Labour will not compensate for the normal regulatory functions of government.

“If the convention centre is half built, we won’t dig up the foundations, but neither will be bound by this gold-plated deal.

“There are no guarantees of extra gaming tables, there are no guarantees of extra pokie machines and there are certainly no guarantees of compensation.

In other words, National's prostituted law will not stand. And that is as it should be. Elections should lead to policy change. The idea that one party should feel bound by another party's squalid dealing undermines that principle - and through it, our democracy.

In fact, I'd like to see Labour making more such statements. For example, National is about to sell us out over the TPP, giving away Pharmac and copyright laws to get a bad deal with the US. Labour is deeply ambivalent about that deal, and rightly so. It should have the courage of its convictions, and announce now that it will withdraw from the TPP if National signs us up for a bad deal. Anything less is simply hypocrisy.