Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Don't you feel like you've been cheated?

Imagine this: you win an auction on TradeMe for a batch of 10,000 widgets. You pay for the full 10,000, but the seller ships you only 8,100. You'd complain, right? Not just give them low feedback, but (depending on the value) pursue criminal charges for fraud.

But that's exactly what SkyCity has done over their crony convention centre ("won" via a crony deal with National). And the government is doing nothing:

The size of the centre has also wandered from the 5000 person maximum, stated in a memo to then-minister David Carter in April 2011, to the 3500 person maximum in the June 2013 Heads of Agreement to the 3150 person maximum in the revised design announced today.

As well as conventions, the new design could accommodate 4200 people for a single event.

Other changes - which the Government and SkyCity said amounted to a maximum 10 per cent reduction - were a drop from the 10,000 sq m exhibition space heralded by SkyCity in its 2011 proposal Government to 8700 sq m and the eventual 8100 sq m in the latest design.

While the government is quick to claim this isn't costing us anything, it is: we paid for it with relaxed gambling laws, which will impose a significant social cost. And now, SkyCity is delivering only 80% of what we paid for. We should be prosecuting them for fraud.

Update: Quote changed to reflect the Herald correcting an error.