Matthew Hooton is generally a bit too Progressive for my standards, but he does show occasional glimpses of brilliance and IMHO he has excelled himself today with his NBR article on the SkyCity Convention centre fiasco.
I highly recommend it as a detailed bit of reporting/ opinion on a matter that is set to become another millstone around the National Party’s neck. As I read it I became more and more appalled at what I think is the rank cronyism that has underpinned this whole business, from the very start.
I strongly advise a read of Hooton’s column, and I am not going to go into the detail here that Matthew has presented so well. I just want to say WTF were Key and Joyce and Eagleson doing so deeply involved in this in the first place?
For a start, and as I have already said, I think it is rank cronyism. Secondly, none of the gang of three have the faintest idea about the construction industry. Key’s expertise is in Forex. Joyce’s in radio. Eagleson is a backroom politician. Thirdly, the close friendship that exists between Eagleson and Skycity lobbyist Mark Unsworth should have meant Eagleson recusing himself from the project. Fourthly, the deal was a complete bungle and the process so murky as to be a disgrace. If it had been Trevor Mallard and Labour involved in this, the usual Nat party fanboys would be screaming from the rooftops.
The worst thing though is the ammunition this gives the left. They’ve yearned for the opportunity to show the Nats and John Key as in bed with “big business’, corrupt and using their positions in govt to line their own pockets and those of their mates. And here is the perfect opportunity for them to finally get some traction with this strategy. Worse, its probably going to be based on at least some truth for once.
Just incredibly bad judgment and I think bad enough to see all three, Key, Joyce and Eagleson leave office. This isn’t Eagleson’s only disaster and his alleged conniving with Jason Eade over the use of the Whale Oil blog as a propaganda outlet should have seen him fired then. Inserting himself into this project was another major misjudgment and he should go.
Hooton says the govt has no choice but to cough up the extra $130 million required to build the project, as it would cost them $402 million to walk away.
The whole idea was flawed from the start and just another socialist rip off where the taxpayer pays for the incompetence of cronyist bungling self promoting officials involved in something they knew nothing about. Once again we see an example showing the difference between Labour and National is really paper thin.
National has an excellent set of founding principles and a part of them says- “to oppose interference by the State in business, and State control of industry”.
Its long past time we stopped people who don’t have a skerrick of belief in those principles from controlling the party.