The Sky City “deal”

April 19th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Labour Party is calling on Prime Minister John Key “to come completely clean” with details of negotiations for the controversial convention centre.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is negotiating with the Auckland-based casino to build a $350 million national convention centre in return for changes to the Gaming Act that would allow it to have hundreds more pokie machines.

Key admitted he approached Sky City and asked it to put up its best offer. But he said he had the same conversation with other bidders.

What this story and beatup doesn’t mention is there was no “admission” as if this was some secret the Government was hiding. John Key told the press gallery this in June 2011! Yes at his post-cabinet press conference. How do I know this? Well Felix Marwick of NewstalkZB tweeted it yesterday. He later tweeted why some may have forgotten it. If you want to know what is happening, follow Felix on Twitter. It is fine to have forgotten Key was open about it a year ago, but not okay to have stories appear the next day which do not mention this, and make it still appear it was some sort of secret.

Probably worth me blogging my thoughts on the “deal”. First let’s talk the general. Is this “selling” laws, which has never been done before. No – of course not. Do you recall Michael Cullen agreeing to special tax write offs for the movie industry so they would invest here? This is the normal job of Government – to try and get businesses investing in New Zealand. When Nokia was looking to invest here, they were offered all sorts of inducements.

Now on the specific, some say that increasing the number of pokies at Sky City will increase gambling related harm. Let us accept that. Let us even accept all gambling has some associated harm with it. But New Zealand does not ban gambling. If we did, there would be no money for the Lotteries Board and the thousands of organisations they fund, no money for the racing industry, reduced money for NZ sports teams, and a lot fewer jobs and tax paid in New Zealand.

So when it comes to this deal, surely the appropriate measure isn’t will there be some increased harm from gambling, but how significant will that harm be, and how does that measure against the gains for New Zealand from having an international convention centre.

An ICC means that Auckland can host major world congresses. These to to be of professional disciplines, and the delegates tend to be wealthy. Many will tour New Zealand while they are here.

An earlier Stuff story reported:

TIA has long been advocating for a national convention centre.

It was highlighted as a top priority in the 2008 Tourism Industry Election Manifesto and reiterated in the run-up to last year’s Parliamentary elections as a top priority for government action.

It was estimated a national convention centre would boost New Zealand’s economy by more than $90 million a year, Mr Thompson said.

The estimate is an extra 100,000 visitor nights a year.

And on the jobs front:

  •  Around 1,000 trades job during the construction of the $350 million building
  • Around 900 800 permanent jobs (according to Heart of the City)

For my 2c I want to see the final deal, and the estimated gains and harms before casting judgement on it. But to be blunt if 900 800 families gain a working parent due to these extra jobs, that is a very big gain.

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56 Responses to “The Sky City “deal””

  1. flipper (4,068 comments) says:

    Excellent (your part), DPF.

    As for the stuffed twits at Fairfax, they would not recall what they had for breakfast.
    They bring journalism into disrepute.

    I never use pokies, but defend the right of those that so choose. The social engineers can engineer themselves into a black hole!

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  2. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Gambling is a tax on stupidity. The government supports more gambling. Go figure.

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  3. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    I never use pokies, but defend the right of those that so choose

    I support choice too. As an aside, would you care to guess how much welfare money, intended to feed, clothe and house NZ’s is instead wasted on gambling?

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  4. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,069 comments) says:

    I never use pokies, but defend the right of those that so choose.

    The whole point is that a proportion of the people using pokies don’t ‘choose’ – they have a psychological weakness that compels them to gamble on them and destroys their lives. Yes, there are other types of gambling, but all the research shows that pokies are the most addictive form – thus the most profitable, which is why Sky wants more of them.

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  5. smttc (752 comments) says:

    Danyl, the national interest doesn’t get trumped by a few pokie machines and a bunch of idiots who have not confronted their addiction and poor choices. Only a stupid lefty would think otherwise.

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  6. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    There is a world of difference between funding incentives to make movies and “selling” a law change to enable more gambling. Gambling is a vice, like prostitution, and neither of these vices received a degree of legal protection because of the benefits those activities accrue to society. Rather, the aim was to minimise the harm individuals and society suffered due to lack of legal oversight.

    So I find the comparison inappropriate – a red herring.

    More to the point, surely, is this: if Sky City rocked up to parliament and requested a law change to greatly increase the number of machines and ancillary services, would parliament reverse the established trend of minimising our gambling footprint?

    If the answer would be in the negative, then we are basically selling our souls for thirty pieces of silver.

    If the case for an ICC stacks up, my free-market acolyte buddies tell me that private enterprise will pony up the money and build it, anyway.

    This is the course a true right-winger should be advocating for, not Faustian bargains.

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  7. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    DPF says: “Now on the specific, some say that increasing the number of pokies at Sky City will increase gambling related harm. Let us accept that.”

    Actually, let’s not – because it isn’t correct. Its like saying that an increase in the number of Lotto outlets across the country will somehow increase ‘gambling harm’ – because it won’t. Or saying that an increase in the number of TAB outlets will increase ‘gambling harm’ – because it won’t either.

    And an increase in the number of machines at Sky City will not increase ‘gambling harm’ at SkyCity either – but it will increase the choices available to those patrons who choose to be entertained at their venue. If someone wishes to go to Sky City and wishes to spend their money at the venue, then so be it.

    In fact, this is an unbelievably good deal for the Auckland ratepayer – a commercial entity has offered to spend $350 Million on a new convention centre and the trade off is that they ask to be allowed to increase the numbers of machines on their floor.

    How could this deal with SkyCity be anything but a commercial no-brainer?

    Only if you are an economic dunce, an anti-gambling zealot or a rabid Gweenie (opposed to anything that smells of common sense).

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  8. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Denise Roche did some benefit-harm analysis back in February, based on the MED feasibility study, and assuming 500 additional pokie machines (she didn’t take into account the additional gaming tables that it now appears are part of the deal).

    Even at best case, it doesn’t appear to stack up economically.

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  9. Ryan Sproull (7,153 comments) says:

    Put the new pokie machines into a room that can only be accessed with a foreign passport.

    Problem solved. What’s next.

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  10. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    toad says: “Even at best case, it doesn’t appear to stack up economically…”

    Then it’s a great idea that any ‘risk’ lies with a publicly listed (NZX), commercial entity rather than with the Auckland ratepayers, isn’t it….

    Pfffttt….

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  11. tvb (4,425 comments) says:

    Gambling is a highly regulated industry and if you are going to have new investment then inevitably there will be negotiation with the Government about taxes and regulation. Again this is pure politics and the Government should be able to work this through. But I am beginning to think this Government cannot negotiate itself out of a political paper bag. The Labour Party sense this too.

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  12. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    I love all this ‘selling our souls’ hysteria. Are people totally nuts?
    Yesterday on the panel Mora had a couple of lefties who spent their whole time ranting about John Key and the National Government and urging us not to worry about money, not to have a car, just enjoy a hippy dippy life playing the kazoo. Fine but don’t come knocking when you want schools, hospitals etc.

    This is such a brilliant deal it’s no wonder Shearer can’t even think straight when he is burbling against it. I know it’s the role of the Opposition to oppose everything but just once it would great to hear some sense from them or at least some viable alternatives.

    John Key must wonder why he sticks around to take this asinine crap when he could be enjoying the good life. I just hope he doesn’t give up in disgust, leaving us to the tender mercies of Labour, the Greens and NZ First. What a nightmare!

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  13. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    LAC

    My point exactly.

    The two issues, a centre and increased gambling in our society, should not be linked and it’s another failure of political nous for the PM. These failures are mounting up.

    Which brings me to my next point: poor DPF is bewailing the fact that this didn’t seem a problem a year ago – well, a year is a long time in politics and there is a sense of renewal and the scent of political blood for the opposition parties.

    This deal just confirms the worst suspicions of having a forex dealer as PM.

    “The Gambler” as our new national anthem, perhaps?

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  14. smttc (752 comments) says:

    Luc, it is all very well saying leave it to private enterprise. The reality is no other bidder has the site, the means and the will to built a ICC without government funding. Sky City has the lot and doesn’t require any government funding – just some lousy pokie machines for the feckless and stupid to blow their hard earned on. It is a no brainer really.

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  15. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @Elaycee 1:54 pm

    You obviously didn’t bother to read the post I linked to @ 1:45 pm.

    Aside from the services that are funded by the problem gambling levy, it is the taxpayer and New Zealand families that bear the economic costs of problem gambling, not casinos and pokie bars.

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  16. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    As a long suffering Auckland Rate payer I am more than happy with the idea of Sky City stumping up the coin to build the new convention cebtre.

    As I read the other proposals there was a significant contribution required from the public or ratepayers purse. There are enough demands on that at the moment so to have some-one else pick up the tab is something to be applauded.

    If the trade off for Sky City building the Convention Centre is an extension in the numbers of pokies on the gaming floors then that is fine by me.

    Given that the pokies will be in one place – Sky City, the fact that there will be more pokies there doesn’t that mean more people will want to go there. It just means that there will be more pokies to choose from thats all.

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  17. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    @Elaycee

    “Actually, let’s not – because it isn’t correct. Its like saying that an increase in the number of Lotto outlets across the country will somehow increase ‘gambling harm’ – because it won’t. Or saying that an increase in the number of TAB outlets will increase ‘gambling harm’ – because it won’t either. ”

    You are probably correct about the Lotto outlets. You can do that on-line anyway.
    Increasing TAB outlets might increase gambling though.
    However, your anology is wrong. They are not increasing the number of outlets, just the number of machines.
    A better analogy would be to say that a liquor outlet putting more bottles on the shelve is going to cause more people to drink.

    As Alex says, “Given that the pokies will be in one place – Sky City, the fact that there will be more pokies there doesn’t that mean more people will want to go there. It just means that there will be more pokies to choose from thats all.”

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  18. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    Luc Hansen said

    This deal just confirms the worst suspicions of having a forex dealer as PM.

    Luc; I;d far rather have someone with business acumen and experience running the country than people whose enire working lives have been spent in academia and politics.

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  19. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    toad: “You obviously didn’t bother to read the post I linked to @ 1:45 pm.”

    Actually, I started to read it but stopped after I spotted that the author was Denise Roche – as we have already noted (and discussed via KB), she just parrots the views of her partner (and former head of the Problem Gambling Foundation) John Stansfield and as such I believe she lacks the balance required to make a proper evaluation of the issue at hand. Indeed, based on comments attributed to her to date (and based on her various questions in the House), I would categorise her as an anti gambling zealot.

    Because she misses a major point – ‘problem gambling’ affects less than 4% of people using pokie machines. By definition, that means that 96% of people using pokie machines do NOT have a gambling problem. Now, whilst the manufacturers, casinos, clubs, pubs and gaming machine charitable trusts all contribute levies to assist with the treatment of problem gamblers, this should not affect the right of the other 96% to spend their money as they see fit.

    If you had done your homework, you would know that every single pokie venue in the country has to have harm minimisation measures in place – as determined by the DIA. In addition, all pokie machines have to have HM measures in the software as well – again determined by the DIA. Patrons who need help (no different to problems faced by alcoholics) are identified and supported via a variety of measures. One of the many, industry funded support mechanisms for problem gamblers is the PGF that Roche is familiar with.

    But you cannot ignore the reality that this deal is an economic no-brainer. Auckland gets a $350 Million convention centre and the Auckland ratepayer doesn’t have to pick up the tab.

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  20. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    The point is surely that convention centres on their own don’t make any money. The profits come from pre and post tours, hotels, meals and drinks, travel, shopping etc etc.

    Sky City can make it work for them because they also own hotels, the casino and the site. Auckland gets a great facility that brings in top professionals with plenty of money, we get lots of new jobs and still far fewer pokie machines than under Labour.

    There would be no need for any law modifications if gambling wasn’t so highly regulated.

    But you have to come to the conclusion that there are some who want everything but don’t want anything that might pay for it.

    No wonder we are such a low wage country with so many numbskulls cheered on by a moronic media.

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  21. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    @Other Andy: Fair enough. Point taken. :)

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  22. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    It seems that the controversey has become less about the rights and wrongs of poker machines at the Auckland Casino but is becoming more about the murkiness of the process.

    If the process was made properly transparent then I suspect a lot of the debate may go away.

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  23. Nookin (3,344 comments) says:

    Mark

    What, specifically, would you have changed. We have known about this from day 1. You build convention centre. We allow pokies.

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  24. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    Morally I can never agree with you DPF with regard to increasing pokies and other institutional gambling.
    But then, I don’t by choice, others do and that’s their choice, even if I consider it misguided.

    However, Maybe all people who are beneficiaries (not retirement) should be banned from pokie machine and institutional premises as it’s not their money they are spending but ours!
    I think that’s fair, why don’t they?

    That of course doesn’t help the 4%? who are addicted and possibly damaging their lives and families lives.
    Don’t know what we can do for them as if we were to legally constrain them like we do for bankrupts, then we’d have to do the same for alcoholics, porn and drug addicts, smokers and the obese too :-)

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  25. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    The shit-fight on the left is about to intensify; look who supports the proposal:

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/mayor-brown-backs-break-even-convention-centre-wb-117175

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  26. Nookin (3,344 comments) says:

    “That of course doesn’t help the 4%”. Is that 4% of gamblers or 4% of the population?

    When is the tail going to stop wagging the dog in this country?

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  27. RandySavage (222 comments) says:

    wow a really big and contentious issue getting feeble nibbles and sweet nothings on one of the rights most trumpeted blogging sites
    you guys are a disgrace

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  28. smttc (752 comments) says:

    Randy, it is a f**kin storm in a teacup. Stop exaggerating.

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  29. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    On 13 June last year, Kevin Hague, who was then the Greens’ spokesperson on gambling, released this press statement:

    Public policy on gambling should not be for sale

    John Key is setting up people with gambling addictions, and their families and communities, to foot the bill for the new Auckland Convention Centre, said the Green Party today.

    “The profits that Sky City believes it can extract from vulnerable gamblers are obviously immense to make it worthwhile for them to build the centre,” said Green Party Spokesperson on Gambling Kevin Hague.

    “This ‘public policy for sale’ approach by the Government is strongly reminiscent of its rush to change industrial relations law to suit another multinational corporate, Warner Brothers.

    “I predict that the ‘behind closed doors’ negotiations between the Government and Sky City will find ways of allowing Sky City to extract more profit from the New Zealand public without needing to change the law, thereby entirely shutting the public out from having a say.”

    Mr Hague said that the extraordinary hardship and suffering caused by the gambling industry in New Zealand should see the Government trying to find ways of reducing the size and reach of the industry, not cosying up to it and making the regulatory framework looser.

    The Greens have been onto his issue from day one. Not their fault that the MSM have only picked up on it in the last few weeks.

    But it does appear Kevin was wrong in his prediction that the dirty deal would be done without changing the law, because that is now clearly on the agenda.

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  30. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Don’t forget that the new ‘Super Brothel’ needs plenty of customers too. Socially this is all shit. Leadership wise, morally, all shit. Once we were warriors.

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  31. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    nookin asks: “That of course doesn’t help the 4%”. Is that 4% of gamblers or 4% of the population?”

    A good question – but the 4% relates to gamblers only. And, according to the website for the largest Charitable Trust in NZ (Pub Charity) it states:

    “Gaming machines are an accepted part of life in New Zealand in the 21st century. For thousands of New Zealanders, they provide a harmless and enjoyable form of entertainment and leisure activity. However, research shows that just under 1 percent of the population are problem gamblers”.

    Yup – 1% of the population…….

    http://www.pubcharity.org.nz/index.php/problem-gambling

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  32. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    The Greens have been onto his issue from day one. Not their fault that the MSM have only picked up on it in the last few weeks.

    Labour must have been asleep as well. Their conspiracy claims don’t make a lot of sense given this has been known for a year now. One might disagree with the decision but the process has been straightforward

    I’m not sure what I think of this deal, the centre would be good for Auckland and I can understand the govt opting for the tender which doesn’t involve the govt subsidising it.

    But more pokies isn’t a great idea. If they got rid of as many as would be in the convention centre then that would make sense.

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  33. Inky_the_Red (759 comments) says:

    To me it sounds like Key saying build Auckland a Conference Centre and I’ll change NZ law to benefit you. Now that is so dodgy.

    If a conference centre is such a great idea then why is there need to take the Casino’s money to build it?

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  34. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    Sorry but Key’s role in this has been immoral, unethical, and borderline corrupt.

    Despite the derision of some of the commentators here about “psychological weakness,” gambling is a real addiction. No less so than alcoholism or drugs. Some people have a path through life that limits their exposure to addiction; others are inherently more vulnerable. Maybe its peoples’ “fault” or maybe bad luck and circumstance – the answer is probably in between.

    But the people who tragically succumb to such adiction, are still New Zealand citizens – your neighbours and mine. And they are entitled to have their interests factored into decisions about the trade off between convention centres and more enticing gambling opportunities.

    That’s why we have specialist bodies to advise government and parliament on how to deal with gambling – just as we do in relation to other addictive habits.

    For the Prime Minister – whose background may happily have given him little awareness of the misery that addictions can cause – to override the role of bodies established to protect those who for whatever reason cannot control their addiction, is irresponsible and borderline corrupt. He is subsidising the rich to go to conventions, at the cost of the less advantaged who pay the price.

    If John Key wants to be a deal-maker and merchant banker, he should go back to his old job. But while he is PM, I expect him to follow due process and take a wider view of what is really important to all of his constituency. That way competing community interests can be properly weighed.

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  35. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    orewa1 says: “And they are entitled to have their interests factored into decisions about the trade off between convention centres and more enticing gambling opportunities…”

    Of course.

    No different to the rights of the remaining 99% of the population who manage to treat gambling as a pastime and as a form of entertainment. Their rights should also be factored into any decision. And weighted accordingly.

    And given that 1% of the population has a ‘gambling problem’ and that the industry pays for gambling support organisations via a DIA levy, I’d suggest that the industry already acts responsibly to assist people who cannot control themselves – in a manner similar to the way the ALAC levy is paid by manufacturers and importers for the treatment of alcoholics.

    But should the fact that 1% require assistance outweigh the fact that 99% of the population can manage themselves OK?

    Of course not.

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  36. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    “Despite the derision of some of the commentators here about “psychological weakness,” gambling is a real addiction. No less so than alcoholism or drugs.”

    And where do we stop?
    What else do we have to ban to stop some people self-destruct?
    Cigarettes?
    Alcohol?
    Fatty food?
    Sugar?
    Salt?

    Coca Cola?

    A mother-of-eight who had an up to 10-litre a day Coca-Cola drinking habit never knew that excessive consumption of the beverage was contributing to her health problems, an inquest into her sudden death heard today.
    At the time of her death, her partner Chris Hodgkinson spoke out that it was the result of drinking too much Coca-cola and held the company responsible for her death.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10800055

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  37. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    If a conference centre is such a great idea then why is there need to take the Casino’s money to build it?

    it’s of benefit to Auckland in general but the cost will be borne buy whoever builds it.

    So the tenders were mostly asking for a govt subsidy, except for Skycity.

    It’s not that mysterious and not that strange the govt has gone for the one that doesn’t require a tax payer subsidy – which would have perhaps not gone down well outside of Auckland.

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  38. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @ Elaycee 6:34 pm

    The gambling industry pays a problem gambling levy. That pays for the rehab of problem gamblers who want to kick the habit.

    It does not pay for the fraud, theft, drug dealing etc of those who are captured by the lure of the pokies but don’t want to seek treatment.

    Nor for the financial impact on their families, eg the DPB costs of those who have left their recidivist problem gambler partners.

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  39. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Jeez toad – sweeping generalisations from a Gweenie. No facts at all – just generalisations. Quelle surprise.

    But I’m pleasantly surprised you have a concern with the costs of the DPB – maybe there is hope for you after all. :)

    Or maybe not… :(

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  40. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    It seems to have been assumed by some here that the extra pokies machines will just be providing more choice for the punters. Ha ha. Don’t you think Sky City will be looking for a big increase in take in return for the $350 million investment?

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  41. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    OK toad, put it on the list at number 89.
    Under oil drilling, fracking and ironsand mining.

    The Greens banned list

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/10/the_greens_banned_list.html

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  42. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    @mike

    Think mike, where will, that increase, those extra punters come from?
    I give you a hint.
    What are they going to build next to the casino?

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  43. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    “Don’t you think Sky City will be looking for a big increase in take in return for the $350 million investment?”

    Of course:

    A new ICC = new revenue stream from Convention Centre hire / increased number of rooms sold / more meals & beverages sold / more people up Sky Tower / more sales via concessions / more parking revenue and yes, more people in the Casino…

    At NO cost to the Auckland ratepayer!

    Yay!

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  44. KH (695 comments) says:

    Only a minority of pokie gamblers have a problem. But problem gamblers spend more.
    43% of gambling income comes from people with a problem.
    Pokies are unbelievably harmful.

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  45. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    If O_A and Elaycee really believe that the people playing on the new pokies will be attendees from international conventions all I can say in “wow”.

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  46. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    @mike

    Why do you think installing more pokies will mean more New Zealanders will decide to come to the casino and start gambling?
    Do you also think that when a liquor shop puts more bottles on the shelve people will buy more alcohol?

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  47. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @ Elaycee 6:55 pm

    Oh, FFS, don’t play silly games. Go to Twitter #socialcost; and learn something about gambling harm.

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  48. big bruv (13,904 comments) says:

    Toad

    Who cares if morons want to put money (benefit money) into the pokies?

    There should be more of them not less, if the stupid want to give away their money to charity or businesses that create jobs then I am all for it.

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  49. big bruv (13,904 comments) says:

    Just add pokies to the Gweens banned list Toad.

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  50. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    toad, on no account allow people freedom to make mistakes. Keep them in a socialist State prison to stop them harming themselves. We, the government, will save them by ruling their lives.

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  51. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    toad says: “Oh, FFS, don’t play silly games. Go to Twitter….”

    Bwahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…. Do you actually read what you write? You try to justify your earlier statement by linking to Twitter???

    What next – Facebook?

    Pfffttt.

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  52. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    O_A
    Do you think that when liquor stores put more bottles on shelf it is because they think demand is increasing? Why would pokies be different?

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  53. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    “Do you think that when liquor stores put more bottles on shelf it is because they think demand is increasing? ”

    I’ll keep it simple mike.
    Do you sometimes go to a liquor store to buy alcoholic drinks?
    If yes – would you go more often if there were more bottles on the shelves?
    If no – would you now go because there were more bottles on the shelves?

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  54. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    @mike

    What I am saying is, people go to the casino to gamble. It doesn’t make any difference if there are 300 or 500 pokies, they will gamble regardless.
    It imakes more sense, in my opinion, to restrict the number of casinos.

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  55. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    If today’s Herald report is correct, it gets worse for JK.

    A joint venture project pulled from the tender when JK had his brainwave to get the poor and the desperate and the vulnerable to fund the rich, white guys playground, on the orders of the great now tarnished man himself.

    The tourism head was saying how good this centre will be good for NZ. Fine. Build it. If it’s that good, the government can fund the public good share of the cost. But don’t undo the good work of recent years in restricting access to pokies for people’s own good – yes, sometimes we do need to be protected from ourselves!

    And one major reason why this is so is because of the collateral damage to families, employers and various other victims of crime and fraud committed to fund the habit.

    I’ve seen families of poke addicts chucked out of their homes. They didn’t even see it coming.

    As I asked yesterday, would a stand alone bid to host 500 more pokies have a chance of succeeding? I doubt it.

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  56. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Good post Orewa1
    Aussies are the biggest gamblers in the world. 17 per cent of people who attempt suicide there are problem gamblers.
    I know two women who are addicted to Pokies and another man with a ganbling problem. Unsurprisingly , two of these people are Chinese. Unless they are brought up as strict Christians, gambling in in the blood from day one..It is what everyone ,including children do at Chinese New Year..Expect more kidnappings/murders in AK in this community.

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