Shallow, amoral and unethical


No wonder the government waited to release the regulatory impact report on the Skycity pokies deal till after they signed it off last Friday.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s report confirms what the critics have know all along – that all the upside of the deal is with the casino while all the downsides will be worn by the rest of us.

The deal involves putting in place another 230 pokies and 52 extra gaming tables at Skycity casino along with a 35 year extension of its exclusive licence in return for the casino building a new convention centre for Auckland.

The concessions are worth over $500 million to the casino over the length of the contract but the report spells out the downsides to New Zealand families as relationship breakdowns, depression, suicide, family violence, increased money laundering, job losses and financial problems.

And they put figures on it.

184 new problem gamblers from the pokies alone (0.8 for each new pokie) with their best estimates of the additional numbers affected by someone else’s gambling being 4779 people by pokies and 3600 by the extra tables.

The government has predictably scoffed at the report saying the figures are only estimates and in any case the casino will put in place tougher measures to detect and stop problem gamblers. The casino stopping problem gamblers? – don’t bother trying to sell us that one.

Those 8379 extra people impacted are a sign of the huge social carnage caused by the casino’s designed-to-addict pokies and table games.

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Key’s not worried about those 8,379 people whose lives will be blighted to a greater or lesser extent through his decision. He’s made so many other decisions that demonise low-income families that one more is neither here nor there.

But of all the grubby deals done by John Key over the years as a currency trader and Prime Minister this is surely the dirtiest in its casual, cynical abuse of low-income families who will pay the cost of the new convention centre.

I hope it’s the deal he is remembered for as Prime Minister because it sums him up particularly well – shallow, amoral and unethical.


  1. What disgusts me most is his casual disregard for low income families, lets hope people wake up and vote him out in the next election.

  2. The primary erroneous assumption is that Auckland “needs” a convention centre. This is compounded by the arrogance and disconnect of this government, and its determination condemn many parts of our society to crisis. The continued failure of our MSM to report beyond the scope of press releases is also bewildering.

    We need to find someway to educate the general population on how to discuss and interact on matters of political importance in this country. Democs for schools may be a good starting point.

    With an informed voting public, the faux debates and redirects by the media will be glaringly obvious.

  3. I hope everyone else is also sending an email to their local MP imploring them to use the conscience vote against the “New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill”.
    (see Green Party web page for more details)

  4. Not being an Aucklander I don’t actually know whether this gambling establishment is touting for business among the ‘lower income families’. I’m assuming ‘not’. Their gambling needs are more likely to be met by opportunities in their local communities, including among their friends and workmates.

    Those possibly more at risk of discovering the ‘joys’ of playing the pokies and tables could be pensioners, people who work nearby, and tourists.

    Most of those people could be there for a little risk-taking and chancing, and they don’t need protection.

    Those who do succumb – ensure there’s something a little more friendly than the doubtful shelter of a motorway overpass to sleep under and indifference for their addiction.

    The hypocrisy of ‘community dividends’ and payouts to sports clubs, etc, from licensing trusts and gambling opportunities is, perhaps, a more useful target for outrage and corrective action.

    And, no, Auckland probably didn’t need any more white elephants to bring penury to its citizens by way of rates and taxes.

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