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 Sky City 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.