MPs’ chance to do the right thing over SkyCity legislation

The Speaker has agreed that the SkyCity pokies deal will be a conscience vote in Parliament. This came about after Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei wrote to the Speaker pointing out that in the past legislation dealing with gambling issues had been dealt with as a conscience issue. That means Government MPs can vote against this dirty deal that will lead to more problem gambling and more harm to thousands of families.

This is also an opportunity for Aucklanders and anyone who cares about the damage inflicted on children and families from problem gambling, to contact their MPs and make their feelings known.

If you wish to contact any of these MPs click on this link:


18 Comments Posted

  1. Gerrit – It costs a shade over a thousand bux for me and my wife and my daughter to take citizenship here. Damned paycheck never quite stretches far enuff to do the deed.

    Not with the kids, the schooling the dog and the wife not working… yet.

  2. The problem with Labour is, it is NOT an alternative to National.

    Labour has yet to apologise for the 80’s.

    The current lot of tepid, time serving, neo-liberals in the Labour caucus are even less inspiring, even, than National!

    It is unlikely that they will reverse much of the repressive policies of National, when they do get in.

    To paraphrase Cunliffe. “What is the point of voting for a party which will still amputate your good leg, only with more anesthetic”.

    As the blog No Right Turn said a while back. “If you do not like the policies of this lot, the only alternative is to vote for the lot you did not like last time”.

    Or as the South Americans say, “We had to shoot an awful lot of politicians, before we got any good ones”.

  3. BJ,

    You seem so enamored by your long left country that it is sad that you continue to see it in such a warm, rosy sight. Somewhat delusional I would suspect.

    Hindsight seems to be viewed, by you, through rose coloured glasses.

    Street smart New York voters are so politically savvy they don’t even bother to vote.

    On the basis of unofficial returns, about 40 percent of registered New Yorkers voted on Nov. 2. But an analysis by the United States Election Project at George Mason University found that only 32.1 percent of the 13.4 million who were eligible — citizens 18 and older who are not convicted felons in prison or on parole — actually voted.

    Whilst in New Zealand the voter turnout in 2011 was a shade under 70%

    So while the street smart, savvy voters in New York cant be bothered to exercise their democratic responsibilities , the dumb arsed kiwi voter at least tries to make a democratic difference.

    Asked the question before, when will you become a kiwi and drop this false rosy picture of the USA voter as some sort of democratic paragon of virtue above and beyond any other worldly person could possibly have attained?

  4. True enough. I don’t think we need to go to a full on attack mode. I was merely commenting on the raw meat that is on offer 🙂

  5. Hi @bjchip. I’m definitely not meaning to suggest that the government’s flaws shouldn’t be pointed out, only that it’s really important to give people positive reasons for casting their vote for someone else.

    The GP has been quite good at this in the past few elections, imho. By the same measure, Labour’s totally sucked, apparently relying entirely on being “the alternative option” for people who no longer want to vote for National, totally ignoring that MMP frees up people’s ability to choose a non-Labour alternative, or otherwise just not vote at all. If the Green Party has plans to change tactics, I’d just like to request that it doesn’t follow Labour down the same path of relying entirely on attacking National.

  6. Yeah… it’d be nice if we could all be nice. However, I don’t do the “turn the other cheek” thing all that well, it isn’t a viable way to run an election campaign, and it’s poorly handled by the media as it doesn’t give good soundbites.

    Labour has basically sucked for the past decade… as long as I’ve been in NZ really. You’re right that change shouldn’t need to wait so long, but people aren’t as a rule, interested enough until they’ve been hurt. Labour hasn’t managed to provide a “trustworthy” (as in a good enough liar to pass muster here in NZ) leader and hasn’t actually got anything useful to offer as a difference from National.

    Key would have trouble in New York because his mask doesn’t work for us.

    It seems to work well on New Zealanders though.

  7. “I think we have the “attack” for the election all set up for us. …… I think what it takes is people actually going and voting. Too many when I was doorknocking, expressed complete disinterest in participating in the electoral process.”

    I’m not speaking as a representative of any political party, but I’d like to see opposition parties focus heavily on positive messages that tell people why they should vote for an opposition party instead of why they shouldn’t vote for the incumbent.

    Generally speaking the Green Party has been quite good at this, IMHO, but the Labour Party definitely hasn’t. I didn’t manage to see the 2011 campaign, but its 2008 “could you trust John Key?” campaign was positively and demoralisingly dreadful. It was all about how horrible National was, and arrogantly assuming that voters who agreed with that sentiment would choose to vote Labour as the least worst option (a very FPP-style mindset) instead of not voting at all. Sadly much of what I’ve read and seen about the current Labour party suggests to me that it’s still in a similar mindset of “if they hate National enough they’ll have to vote Labour”.

    A change shouldn’t need to wait for an existing government to be so hopelessly awful that voters are forced to not just avoid voting in favour, but to actually want to cast a vote for someone else whom they also dislike. If people had good and positive reasons to look forward to alternatives, besides getting rid of the incumbent, it might actually effect an earlier change.

  8. I think we have the “attack” for the election all set up for us. Asset sales, and this refusal to allow an actual conscience vote to occur… the actual nature of the National party is starting to wear through the teflon.

    Words fail me when I am considering what to say about the gNatwits who are running us into the ground. More corrupt than Spain now? 79% realize that the government is NOT working for us? What more does it take to get this mob of looters and carpetbaggers out of office?

    I think what it takes is people actually going and voting. Too many when I was doorknocking, expressed complete disinterest in participating in the electoral process. Believed their votes do not count. Still.

    Any man who shakes John Key’s hand would be wise to count his fingers after the experience.

  9. The aim of casinos, like every business, is to separate people from their money.

    A casino tends to be split into two chunks, the big bit the public get to see, and which you see on the telly. This is targetted at “casual” gamblers, where bets take place in small numbers of dollars. This is a high volume business, low value proposition, lots of people, with small amounts of money, and the vast majority of these patrons are irregulars, they only gamble occasionally. If you are not a problem gambler or a “high roller” then this is you. This is also where the pokies are.

    There is another part of the casino you are unlikely to have seen. Unlike the big, loud, bright, brash public spaces, these are much quieter, less brightly lit, compact, well furnished spaces. And no pokies, just tables. Folks here are mostly regulars, many appearing a few times a week. These gamblers will gamble several thousand dollars a session. These are the “high rollers”. Casinos really like these gamblers, for at least two important reasons. Firstly, they are willing to drop $5K, $10K, $20K or more in a session, and they’ll be back, and in just days, to do it all again. (They also win big too, and may walk out $100K or more up) The second is that the revenue per dealer (and the people behind the dealer) and table is much higher than that on the main floor, the high rollers are far better value for the casino opex dollar. And these high rollers are not problem gamblers, they manage their money well, they just have a lot of it.

    One of the things a casino operator doesn’t want is to have more demand for gambling than the operator can supply, so there are people milling around with money to spend, but no tables or machines available. Additionally, many gamblers have a prediliction for a particular game or games. Thus the capacity of the casino has to be able to handle the peak capacity, and because of the game prediliction, the capacity has to be present in width and depth.

    And as well as the gambling operation, casinos are also fooderies and drinkeries, and employ large numbers of people in that side of the operation too. Not to mention computer and electronics people, mechanical and electrical engineers, there is a large number of unseen people keeping the place going.

  10. They (Nat Ministers) should have the moral guts to call Sky City’s bluff and tell them to f#ck off and GOOD RIDDANCE!

  11. Take a look at how Crown—operator of the largest casino in the southern hemisphere—markets itself in such a happy, tidy and progressive way on prime time Victorian television. It’s probably not a hard sell because Melbourne and its surrounds have an ingrained gambling culture.

    There’s no mention of gambling in the commercial except for one almost invisible mention of “gaming areas”. It’s all about a tourist destination, jobs, massive investments in training staff, investing in restaurants and bars, and 2,800 hotel rooms. When I went on a cruise along the Yarra a couple of years ago, the guy made a big thing about the Casino’s 2,500 pokie machines on-site.

    When asked, Crown’s standard line is that its target market is big-money foreign gamblers, such as rich and predominantly Asian tycoons. Supposedly there’s a big market out there of gamblers who just want to go to a big flashy Casino and blow lots of cash, but they don’t care where it is. SkyCity goes after this market, but Crown also wants it and claims it’s then spreading the economic benefits for Australians. If that’s the market SkyCity is also after with its extra gaming facilities, then it’s up against competition from some truly massive casinos that are spaced all around the Pacific Rim.

    If this is really the only aim of casinos, I’d like to see some serious proposals for how they’d limit the bulk of their business to those markets without affecting the low-income people who can’t afford to gamble, such as by building their biggest targeted developments behind transit lounges of international airports.

  12. I think Shaakespeare summed it up quite well. As for National and its leaders, I quote ” A Pox on all their houses.’

    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
    No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
    Than fly to others that we know not of.
    Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
    And thus the Native hue of Resolution
    Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
    And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
    With this regard their Currents turn awry,
    And lose the name of Action.

  13. Key always tries to sell Skycity deal with a guesstimate but never a promise (like the guesstimate of how much money govt will bring in from asset sales…) that the deal will bring more jobs and money to economy…yeh right,
    low end jobs and dirty money…when we all know how taxpayers will have to pay the big social cost which damaging this country even further.
    Let’s wait to see our tourism chief starting selling NZ to the whole world, hey we have got most poky machines in southern hemisphere, come to us and gambling away your money…Skycity welcome you

  14. National, the party that cannot afford a conscience.

    It is a pointed commentary on National that they are requiring their membership to vote the party line on a conscience vote.

    National, the party that cannot allow its MPs to have a conscience.

    The possibilities are delicious to contemplate.

  15. “Conscience vote”? John Key on the news tonight made it clear that any Nat MPs voting against it will be munted politically as far as the National Party is concerned. However, no doubt he rely on the Oharia invertebrate to back the deal.

  16. So please excuse my naïveté.
    What is to stop the national party putting around a whip?
    Are conscience votes anonymous?

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