A pokie in the eye by a sharp operator

Time to lay our money down again.
Time to lay our money down again.

A pokie in the eye by a sharp operator

Once again the Key Government has pulled the wool over the eyes of its sheepish population. Big business and the big liars are chuckling all the way to the bank and the Kiwis are paying for their trip there.

It is less than two years since Jianqi and his merry bunch of rogues announced breathlessly to the country that they had struck the deal of the century with that large group of bandits called SkyCity Casinos.

The bookies that grew too big for their pants had been whining for ages that the Government wouldn’t allow them to increase their number of one armed bandits. Up until that time ‘spoil sports’ such as the problem gambling foundation were saying resources were already stretched to breaking point dealing with all the problem gamblers we currently had.

But the big phallic symbol in the sky reckoned it was a pillar of the community and it was providing some kind of a social service. No doubt laundering the proceeds of crime and preying upon the vulnerable but dirty poor might be viewed that way in certain circles. I guess it certainly would be by members of this Government anyway.

However we were told that Jianqi had found a way to keep his buddies up in the Sky tower happy while also bringing good old New Zilland a new source of tourist and big business dollars. Of course this magic “El Dorado” would have to be filtered down through the coffers of the big bookie first, but no doubt after they had taken their big wedge and the other leeches along the way had sucked out their share there would be a couple of coppers left for thee and me.

As most of you will now know this was the deal to have a ‘free’ convention centre built in Auckland for the use and benefit of us all. Cue the Tui sign, please someone.

Of course as anyone who has been on the planet for more than five minutes should know there is no such thing as a free lunch and if you can’t get one of those, you are hardly likely to get a free multi-million dollar convention centre of ‘international standard’. And so it was that the only catch (we were told of) was that in return for this magnanimous gesture by the big bookie we had to agree to allow them another 230 pokie machines to suck even more money OUT of our economy and into the pockets of foreign investors.

Oh, and of course just to make the deal a bit more palatable to SkyCity there was the small matter of their exclusive licence to operate casinos in NZ. That would have to be extended of course, but only until 2048! Then, of course they would have to take over an entire Auckland street and kick out all the tenants including TVNZ whose assets they have already been able to strip with the collusion of the Key Government. For those reading this outside New Zealand, the Key Government put all the archives of TVNZ; programmes which the taxpayers of New Zealand had paid for through licence fees in the old days and later through taxes; to a channel called Heartland TV which only subscribers to Sky can view.

At this point sane men and women were wondering how these concessions were going to be off-set by a convention centre that would bring more profits to even more overseas owned companies and then allegedly trickle down what was left to New Zealand Inc.

But Jianqi and Stephen Joyce of Spring were beaming all over there smug faces as they told us how they had bargained hard with SkyCity and not let them have as many pokies as they originally wanted and how we would all be rich when this ‘free’ centre was built. We had nothing to lose – unlike Sky’s less wealthy punters and this was going to be a world class centre costing $402M and we wouldn’t have to stump up so much as a cent for it – apart that is from the costs to our community of more problem gamblers and money laundering foreign crooks jetting in to dry-clean their dirty spoils in a Laundromat situated in our back yard.

A significant number of sane people were opposed to this idea, but they were comprehensively shouted down by Key & Joyce and we were constantly reminded about how they had done such a good deal for us that we would all be eating our words when the centre was built.

So we had an election a few months back and the dumb arsed Kiwi voters voted the Nats back in again (or did they really?- The jury is still out on that one).

Well, they say a week is a long time in politics and if that is the case, then a couple of months is definitely a much longer span than the average voter can recall. Once we had finished opening our Christmas presents (for those among the population that could still afford such luxuries), we awoke to find the bookie knocking at the door.

“We need more moolah to complete the convention centre,” they bleated. “But surely that was a gift you were giving us, albeit at the cheap price of 230 more money hungry pokies and a free licence to print your own currency until most of us are dead?” we screamed.

“Oh, no,” said the bookie. “Costs have gone up considerably since we last spoke,” said the corporate rapist. “Tell us about it,” said the huddled masses from their shared garages and assorted hovels.

“Oh but you REALLY don’t understand,” howled the tearful multi-national.”Times are really tough for us right now. We won’t be able to afford to finish the centre and you will be left with a big ugly mess right in the centre of Auckland. We need you to stump up at least $130M to prevent this from happening.”

After much dodging and half-answering pertinent questions, we now learn, as if we didn’t already know, that the Government is almost certainly going to chuck $130M of our money over to the big bookie so he can get richer along with the other big foreign ‘investors’ who will profit from the centre.

Interestingly enough we don’t seem to be able to find similar sums to bolster our health, welfare, education or housing sector, but, hey, what the hell at least we can all have a flutter. Or at least those with anything left with which to flutter can.

So once again the NZ public is being pokied in the arse by a large corporate and Key and his lot are trying to make out this is still a great deal for us.

It all goes to show why you should steer clear of the roulette wheel and never try to take on the house. The wheel is fixed so that the house always wins. Either Key and Joyce are such bunnies that they didn’t see that coming or they are such crooks that they were in on this all the time. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions on which it is, but I know what I believe.

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