Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Only $128 Million out?

Our Government worked out a concession deal with Sky City Casino so that they would build a $402 Million Conference centre in Auckland. It all sounded dodgy. They were allowed more pokey machines etc. etc. But the Government argued that it was all good for the economy. Now it turns out that Sky City wants to spend $530 Million on the centre and would like the government to front up with the $128 Million shortfall. The way Prime Minister Key is talking it could well happen. Gambling in New Zealand, especially poker machine gambling is a major problem, especially for the vulnerable. (Having said that, there always seem to be court cases where people in white collar professional jobs get caught up in gambling addiction too.) It just seems wrong to me that the Government is doing deals with this sort of business, even though it may be true that an international conference centre could be handy to have.  Now Mr Key and his ministers seem to be arguing that it makes sense to pay out a further $128 million of tax payer money to bail out Sky City. How come the big miscalculation? Why the expensive change of plan? It stinks! Fat cats in power helping their fat cat buddies.

Put beside that the screeds of paperwork, audited accounts, reports and justification charities have to do to please the government just to stay on the list of Registered Charities. A $128 change of plan or miscalculation would not be tolerated!

Add to that the experience of good charities doing good and necessary work in the community as they seek to get a few thousand dollars out of the Government. At the Dunedin Night Shelter for operational funds and soon to try to raise some capital to help purchase our building - a few thousand dollars compared to $128 Million - we apply to the Internal Affairs Department. There are all sorts of hoops you have to go through to please the bureaucracy. There are hours of form filling to do and back up paperwork needed. They double check everything and you dare not make a mistake. Everything has to be justified and accounted for and then there are no guarantees.  Government run hospitals and the police freely use our services but getting government money is like pulling hens' teeth. Yet they are talking about giving $128 million to a casino!

All is not well in God's own country. I fear skullduggery in the halls of power.    

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