Silly comparisons

July 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Just noticed a blog by Russell Brown where he basically compares the convention centre deal to the Electoral Finance Bill. This is over a clause in the agreement which says:

In considering the acceptance of bookings for Events to be held at the NZICC, SKYCITY must use good judgement in considering first the type and style of Events that are best suited to the NZICC and secondly Events that would not reasonably be expected to be materially prejudicial to international relations or to national security interests of New Zealand and would not reasonably be expected to materially affect the reputation or brand of the NZICC.

I think people forget how draconian the original Electoral Finance Bill, approved by the Labour Cabinet, was. It would have made it illegal for me to e-mail someone and talk about a policy issue, unless I put an authorisation statement on my e-mail. Any comparison of the deal to it, is hysterical nonsense.

While I probably should not dignify the nonsense with a response, I will point out three rather pertinent points. They are:

  • National announced the convention centre deal prior to the 2011 election. Labour never mentioned the Electoral Finance Bill prior to the 2005 election and had no mandate for it.
  • National gains no personal benefit from the Sky City deal. The only benefit is jobs. While Labour’s Electoral Finance Bill was designed to stop people attacking them, and help Labour get re-elected.
  • The convention centre is unlikely to be completed and operating while National is in Government, so the hysterical suggestions that the clause above (which is probably pretty standard in most contracts with a Government) is so National can stop Greenpeace having a conference there is ridiculous.

I don’t care whether or not such a clause is there. Any Govt of the future that used the clause to block a legitimate convention would suffer a political backlash.

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24 Responses to “Silly comparisons”

  1. Manolo (13,577 comments) says:

    The many times discredited Russel Brown deserves no oxygen. He’s a write-off.

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  2. flipper (3,981 comments) says:

    DPF and Manolo ……

    Absolutely correct.

    Oh, did not petersparty1 support that EFA measure???? Did the gweens (lovely word that) support it?

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  3. Reid (16,290 comments) says:

    the hysterical suggestions that the clause above (which is probably pretty standard in most contracts with a Government) is so National can stop Greenpeace having a conference there is ridiculous.

    That’s a shame, it would be rather good to stop Gweenpeace, the ILO, the UNDP, the Gweens, Liarbore, etc etc. Perhaps they should also have a clause in it providing for a big fine if the output from a conference turns out to be a complete waste of the building’s time.

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  4. lastmanstanding (1,281 comments) says:

    Wussell talking thru his arse? Situation normal then.

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  5. Andrew M (49 comments) says:

    Here’s what I’m having trouble understanding.

    I assume the convention centre will be built and owned by SkyCity, who will then rent out its facilities at normal commercial rates, including to government and its agencies, when required.

    So basically, in exchange for allowing more pokie machines (not a major) and having their license extended, SkyCity will build a convention centre that it will utilise for commercial purposes. I’m really struggling to see how this is as big of a win as its being touted..

    I might be missing something.

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  6. smttc (741 comments) says:

    Andrew M, NZ and Auckland in particular needs a decent convention centre to attract international business. If the govt can get one built without having to shell out taxpayer money by chucking a few legislative sweeteners then I would call that a pretty big win for NZ. No-one else is offering to built it without significant govt funding.

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  7. flipper (3,981 comments) says:

    Andrew M…
    The norm is for city/state owned facilities such this to end up costing rate/tax payers the earth to operate – in addition to construction costs. Since all the monies would be borrowed for a state/city owned operation, the cost of capital would be a perpetual anchor around our collective neck..
    This way, Sky provides the capital, takes the risk and, as is normal in private enterprise, gains a commercial return.

    No big deal on that score.
    But it does score for employment (short term and long) and for available facilities, not to mention spins-offs in all other directions.

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  8. berend (1,705 comments) says:

    I don’t get it why Labour is so worked up over the Convention Centre. I mean, they must have done polling and I suppose it resonates with their voters, but why exactly? I get it when people don’t like pokie machines, but they never seem to mention that really. So what’s the argument?

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  9. Redbaiter (8,530 comments) says:

    “While I probably should not dignify the nonsense with a response,”

    Quite right, you shouldn’t. The bigger problem is letting these raving extreme left idiots set the narrative.

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  10. peterwn (3,243 comments) says:

    Presumably the line of ‘acceptability’ would be drawn between a Greenpeace international conference and an international conference of Holocaust deniers, with Greenpeace being well within the limits af acceptability (even though I am no Greenpeace fan). With a Labour – Green coalition, the Greens would probably be demanding that all sorts of groups be banned eg international summits, National Party conferences etc. There is possibly a converse requirement – that Sky City does not unreasonably decline bookings for use of the facilities by, for example an anti-gambling convention.

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  11. enxx (1 comment) says:

    When I read comments about the NZICC I wonder if anyone has ever been to a convention or knows what they are about. A convention center is just a group of interconnected rooms that can be configured into an enormous selection of sizes and shapes. The point is to have an area large enough for giant trucks to unload sets and booths, signage, carpeting, multimedia displays, stages, etc. The groups having conventions cover every kind of business, political belief, hobby, sport, industry, etc. The management of a convention center book out the room and supply all needed services (from catering to power outlets, wifi, satellite feeds, etc). It’s not for them to censor or control the renters or organizers. Conventions usually last 48-72 hours. Then everything disappears, everybody goes home — and a new group arrives to do the whole thing again. It will bring in tourists, it will make some people consider Auckland and NZ as a destination for the first time. It’s not a national icon, it doesn’t represent a political view or opinion, it doesn’t represent anything or anyone. It’s a business that employees an enormous number of people (a ton of part timers in addition to the full time staff). As someone who has been to close to 100 conventions, they are something you attend, hopefully gain knowledge or contacts from, leave, and rarely think about again. Stop over-thinking it.

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  12. CJPhoto (219 comments) says:

    Would be interesting to see what sort of convention would cause the Veto to be used:

    – Sex expo
    – Anti/Pro abortion conference
    – Nazi party conference
    – Pro whaling conference
    – Nuclear armament conference
    – Fracking and oil drilling conference (should Greens be in power)

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  13. Scott Chris (6,058 comments) says:

    Yeah, Russell Brown’s a precious twat, but his strings his words together nicely.

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  14. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Russell Brown was comparing the convention centre deal with the Electoral Finance Bill in terms of the possible effect on free speech of the government being able to veto use of the convention centre by some groups. Possibly a bit of a stretch, but not as far fetched as DPF makes out.
    Brown also linked this issue with ‘Key’s dimissive (and deceptive and bullying) swatting away of concerns about the GCSB bill from the Human Rights Commission, Privacy Commsssioner and the Law Society.’

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  15. peterwn (3,243 comments) says:

    CJ Photo – only a Nazi Party conference (at a guess). Greens would welcome a pro drilling/ fracking conference as if gives them a protest opportunity.

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  16. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    Russell Brown still blogs? Who knew?

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  17. bringbackdemocracy (425 comments) says:

    Didn’t Winston also support the anti-democratic “electoral finance bill” ????

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  18. OneTrack (3,020 comments) says:

    “Russell Brown was comparing the convention centre deal with the Electoral Finance Bill in terms of the possible effect on free speech of the government being able to veto use of the convention centre by some groups.”

    And, Russell, which is the most likely government to actually make use of any provision to veto use of the convention? Yes, those freedom of speech loving greens would be first, followed closely (as usual) by labour.

    I must get a green dictionary to work out what they are really saying when they say they support freedom of speech and “democracy”. I suspect it means we are simply free to say what they have “approved” as being “acceptable”. And that is the way it has always turned out across history when hard-left groups gain the levers of power. Why is that?

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  19. Kea (12,380 comments) says:

    Events that would not reasonably be expected to be materially prejudicial to international relations

    Sounds good. Here are some things that would qualify:

    1. Supporting the anti nuclear ban.

    2. Being critical of China.

    3. Being critical of the USA.

    4. Being critical of our oil suppliers.

    5. Being critical of Japanese whaling.

    6. Supporting any political party that supports the above.

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  20. leftyliberal (646 comments) says:

    If you actually read the piece, you see that Russell isn’t saying that it’s bad because it was implemented by National, rather that it’s bad for ANY government to implement such a clause, as it’s damaging for free speech. Thus the comparison to something Labour did that was also damaging for free speech (perhaps more damaging than this).

    Instead, you’ve interpreted the piece as an anti-National rant, which it really isn’t at all.

    Surely freedom loving individuals that respect the right of corporations to do what they want should be disgusted that the government is telling Sky City who can and can’t have conferences in the facilities that they’re building, right?

    Take the blinders off every now and then, and you might see something you can actually agree on.

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  21. Kea (12,380 comments) says:

    leftyliberal, if the Greens were in power you never would have posted that. One of the distinguishing features of the left is their restrictions on freedom of expression. There is nothing you people hate and fear more.

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  22. leftyliberal (646 comments) says:

    @Key: I have no qualms whatsoever in pointing out when the Green’s do retarded things, or Labour, or NZ first, or Act, or anyone else.

    The Green’s have had a number of silly policies in the past, and I’m sure they do now as well. For example, I think the introduction of a capital gains tax with an exemption on the family home is retarded. If you’re going to do it at, then no exemptions at all. Exemptions distort and are inefficient.

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  23. gump (1,634 comments) says:

    Haha. The Herald sub-editor is a Game of Thrones fan.

    See if you can find the subtle joke they slipped in to this article:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10902031

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  24. hj (6,918 comments) says:

    Russell Brown, 3 years ago
    Email Web Twitter

    If you’re going to “be honest”, look up some numbers. Canada has the highest per capita net immigration rate in the world and still manages to be quite admirable. Spain, which has absorbed more than three million immigrants since 2000, is flourishing. Immigration to Norway is at record levels.
    And really, even in New Zealand, where a dizzying 23% of the population was born elsewhere, I can’t see the social fabric tearing, let alone any “cultural genocide” going on.
    One of the things I liked most about the years I lived in London was the diversity of faces and voices (I don’t think that’s unconnected to Britain’s continued cultural vitality). It was actually a relief to return to New Zealand and find our cultural homgenity breaking up.
    http://publicaddress.net/speaker/what-diversity-dividend/

    Kiwis priced out of the property market y’damn prick!

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