John Key is in trouble this week after it was revealed that Australian corporate giant Sky City wants taxpayers to fork out $140 million to fund the building of (in the words of John Key) a “significantly flasher” convention centre than initially thought. John Key is ready to stump up the cash, at a time when there is a housing crisis, incomes are being squeezed and social justice issues abound. Not only that, this is a casino we’re talking about. Sky City is about to post a $69 million net profit, most of which ends up overseas. It doesn’t need our money; it’s got enough of its own. This is a clear case of corporate welfarism gone mad. Big business wins again, at our expense.
John Key also forgets the appallingly negative consequences casino’s often bring to the lives of everyday people who develop gambling problems. Fractured families, and reputations, crime, poverty and suicide often come with casino’s, just ask those affected and they’ll tell you what the reality of gambling is. John Key should listen and learn from these people.
$140 million is a lot of money; it can buy you all kinds of lovely things like a world class convention centre. But do we really need one? There are plenty of convention centres strapped right across this green and pleasant. They may not have the glitz and glamour of a flash new one, but they’ll do.
If this money was going to be channelled into mental health and addictions services it would be worth supporting. No more money in the coffers for health and education, social services or housing. It’s a disgrace to this nation that a few more pokie machines takes precedence over lives.
Even Bill English the national party stooge and Minister of Finance is trying desperately to distance himself from a bad idea. John Key and Steven Joyce are the only ones who love the idea of bailing out a rich corporate. Shame on them. Of course you may take the view (as those defending Key will) that this is a wonderful opportunity to create high value jobs. The fact is, casino’s develop modest to low income service working jobs at best. But they say this will bring thousands of high-end tourists to the country each year, really? What evidence is there to suggest that thousands will come begging to spend a night at the Sky City casino. So much for the free convention centre, in my day free meant you didn’t have to pay.
Labour says Key and Joyce were suckered into this deal, outmanoeuvred by slippery corporate negotiators, I don’t believe that for a second. John Key and Steven Joyce are smart. They’re just paying back their big business buddies for all the support they’ve given over the years. This debacle won’t hurt Key in the long run. The electorate will forget, if not forgive. The deal will go ahead as planned. And the flag of New Zealand, Key is so keen to replace, will be replaced by the flag of Sky City Casino.
DISCLAIMER: This is a public opinion post and not necessarily the opinion of Changing Minds