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John Key has another un-named source???

3 April 2012 8 comments

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John Key continues to bury his head in the sand regarding Skycity’s demand for 500 extra pokie-machines, in return for a $350 million convention centre.

Considerable community concern has been expressed that National’s close connections with Skycity may result in more pokie machines, with the inevitable consequence of increased problem gambling.  Even the neo-conservative organisation, “Family First” has condemned National and Skycity’s plans to expand it’s operations.

National Director of Family First, Bob McCoskrie, said,

Tourists come to see the country and the culture – not the casinos. If tourists were really focused on gambling, they would be going to Las Vegas – not the Sky City casino venue in Auckland.”

“Casinos thrive on the false promise of getting rich quickly, but the reality is that those who can least afford to gamble are gambling themselves deeper into debt. The government should be protecting families – not fleecing them. It is ironic that the government is targeting loan sharks at the same time as increasing the number of pokie machines.” – Source

McCoskrie said that “there are far too many pokie machines in our communities. Recent figures show one  machine for every 180 kiwis, yet one for every 4000 in US“.

Indeed. Here in New Zealand, we do ‘Dumb‘ exceedingly well.

The Green Party has been particularly scathing of National’s intention to amend legislation, to facilitate Skycity’s expansion plans.

Green Party spokesperson, Kevin Hague, condemned National’s irresponsibility in no uncertain terms,

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.

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.

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.” – Source

Why is it that everything has a fair degree of common sense on this issue – except National?!

The Prime Minister, John “Dear Leader” Key, has been in utter denial about the destructive effects of gambling addiction.  It’s not just his head that is buried in the sand – he’s climbed in, and buried himself.

Amongst other statements of unbelievable naivety, Dear Leader has stated,

In a casino they are in a better environment say than attached to a pub deliberating targeting low income people in South Auckland.” – Source

Yeah, right.

Because low income people don’t go to casinos!?

Actually, they do. This blogger has visited Skycity Casino on a couple of occassions. (No, I didn’t place a bet. If I wanted to waste money, it’s easier to throw it out the window.) On both occassions, judging by dress style; worn clothing and shoes; and other tell-tale signs, many of those who seemed cybernetically linked to rows of pokie machines – were from low-income households.

I could not recall a single person in a suit, or upmarket dress, on the pokies.

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But perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of  Keys comments was when he  referred to  a “professor” from  University of Adelaide – whom he did not namewho had told of  a gambling studies conference in 2008, where it was claimed that Sky City’s host responsibility programme was “probably the most advanced in the world“.

An un-named source?

Another one?

Is this Un-named Source related to the other Un-named Source, who had supposedly emailed John Key about a supposed meeting – where Standard & Poors had supposedly claimed that New Zealand would have had a credit down-grade had there been a Labour Government in office??

(Which, later, Standard & Poors  rejected as being untrue.)

The same Un-named Source who supposedly sent Key this unsigned email,

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Cobblers!

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But it strikes me as symptomatic of the bizarre “JohnKey  In Wonderland” we have created in our country when  the Prime Minister bases government policy on mysterious, un-named sources, who we cannot discuss; nor debate; nor even understand; because we know nothing about his/her/it’s credentials.

Too many of these Un-named Sources floating around. Hard to keep track of them.  We need to start numbering them.

Or, here’s an idea, give them names?

And just maybe, New Zealanders need to be just a little less trusting of the man – whose name I  will keep confidential – who is our Prime Minister.

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Related blogposts

“I dunno. I wasn’t told. I wasn’t there.”

Drugs & Gambling – NZ’s 21st Century Growth Industries?

Additional

Govt folds for SkyCity

Green Party: Gambling Policy Summary

Green Party:  Public policy on gambling should not be for sale

Tumeke: Sky City to gain $25 million from 350 more pokies in dirty deal with Government

NZ Herald: Axe tobacco, ban cigarette exports – health professor

NZ Herald: ‘Big Tobacco’ on trial  – Canada’s biggest-ever lawsuit

NZ Herald: Government gets big bucks for bad habits

NZ Herald: Casinos safer than pubs, Key says

Scoop.co.nz:  Tourists Come to See Country & Culture – Not Casinos

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Veteran Activist hospitalised during removal of state houses

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The Mana Party has hit out at the destruction of a community in Glen Innes, which saw a veteran activist hospitalised, as he was protesting the removal of state houses in the area.

The elderly activist Jimmy O’Dea, was injured this afternoon and taken to hospital. Mr O’Dea’s ankle was crushed whilst blockading a removal truck a few hours ago in Glen Innes.

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Jimmy O’Dea

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Jimmy is a diamond of a man who put himself in harm’s way in front of the house removal truck to try and protect the state houses of low-income residents of Glen Innes” says MANA Vice President John Minto. “Contracting companies are being used as the front line of attack against a community desperately trying to save their state houses. The government is selling state houses and the land beneath them to private developers for luxury housing on the high ground on the north side of Glen Innes. State house numbers will be reduced and the residents moved into soon-to-be slums in central Glen Innes”.

Comrade Jimmy O Dea has been taken to hospital- his ankle was crushed whilst blockading a removal truck an hour ago in Glen Innes. People are mobilising to defend the community now and tonight. Get out there.

Houses under immediate threat are at 25 Silverton St and 6 Melling Streets.

There are currently Mana supporters on site and coordinating support for the community and opposition to the removals. Protests are planned throughout the night.

 

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Acknowledgement

Reprinted with kind permission. Originally published by TangataWhenua.com.

 

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Housing redevelopment project

Updated at 10:09 am 3 April 2012, Radio New Zealand

A housing group in the Auckland suburb of Glenn Innes says a redevelopment project is tearing the community apart.

Housing New Zealand has begun an urban renewal programme by removing the first of dozens of vacant state houses in the area.

About 40 state houses will be removed over the next two months.

The agency is redeveloping more than 150 properties to create at least 260 new homes in northern Glen Innes.

It says the state houses have been attracting crime and anti-social behaviour and it is removing them to improve safety.

But the Tamaki Action Housing Group says Housing New Zealand is ruining lives and families are being dislocated from the community.

Source

Listen to more on Radio NZ Morning Report

 

 

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Key defensive?

3 April 2012 3 comments

There seems to mbe a common theme appearing in the media. It is a theme that, taken in context with the previous two weeks, does not bode well for John Key and National’s second term,

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Someone is getting defensive?!

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Postscript

Two polls associated with two of the stories above give good cause for John Key to be on the defensive. National’s policies appear to be alienating the public,

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Categories: Media, The Body Politic Tags: ,

Inside Child Poverty – Bryan Bruce asks…

3 April 2012 1 comment

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Fathers in Sweden enjoying 9 months parental leave to look after their daughters.

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“…  Here’s my challenge I will be sending to Housing New Zealand this week .

They own 70,000 properties. Why don’t they bulk buy electricity for those 70,000 properties so that the occupants can get cheaper power? It’s a win win situation.

Drier homes means better health for young kids. Means people won’t huddle together in one room to keep warm.. but it also means a dry house won’t rot and HNZ won’t have such a huge maintenance bill cause by mould and dampness.

I’ll let you know what CEO Lesley Mc Turk and the Minister for Housing Phil Heatley have to say.” – Bryan Bruce, Inside Child Poverty, 3 April 2012

Why not, indeed? If Comalco at Bluff could negotiate an absurdly low tariff for the power that they use to make aluminium, why can’t we – as a nation – do the same for low-income families?

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Bluff aluminium smelter and Meridian in secret deal

The highly profitable Bluff aluminium smelter and Meridian Energy have signed the country’s biggest power contract, in a secret deal thought to be worth more than $5 billion over almost 20 years…

… Latest Companies Office reports show smelter company Rio Tinto Aluminium New Zealand made a $277 million profit last year, more than double the previous year’s gain.

… The new contract – understood to be about 4.7c a unit, about a quarter of the cost to the average home – covers the price New Zealand Aluminium Smelters will pay Meridian from the start of 2013 to the end of 2030, and will involve about 15 per cent of New Zealand’s power. ” – Source

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It is not unusual for many other companies to negotiate bulk-buying deals. From Meridian Energy,

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Rural co-operatives

We’re proud to be associated with New Zealand’s leading rural co-operatives.

We work closely with these groups to establish pricing, services and terms that specifically suit their members. If you belong to one of these co-operatives, you really need to be with us.

CRT

CRT Co-operative exists for one simple reason – to use the collective power of its shareholders to negotiate better deals and improve their individual profitability across all forms of agriculture.

The co-operative has a significant presence in the rural market with more than 25,000 shareholders who transact over $1 billion worth of business through the co-operative annually.

Meridian Mates Rates Pack

If you’re a member of CRT, you’re eligible for our Mates Rates Pack. This special deal includes an increased prompt payment discount of 12 percent (our standard discount is 10 percent) and a choice of variable or fixed term plans. We’ll also work with you to help find ways to reduce your electricity overheads. Source

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As Bryan states, we’d be saving money in the long run, both in house maintenance, and fewer people with cold/damp-related diseases.

Considering how much profit powercos extract from every household and business in the country, we have no excuse not to do this.

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Making vast profits on the backs of society’s poorest is obscene.  This will have to be an issue for the incoming Labour-led government, post2014 (if not earlier). It will be a ‘litmus test’ as to how much Labour is really in touch with the under-class of New Zealand,

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If not, the Greens and Mana Party are waiting in the wings to assume that role. One way or another, this must be done.  Damp homes and sick children cannot be the face of New Zealand in the 21st Century. Not unless our long-term goal is to be the newest addition to the world’s  Third World Club.

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Child with respiratory illness in Wellington Hospital. More than 25,000 NZ Kids are hospitalized year for chest infections spread by overcrowding and damp unhealthy housing.

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Additional

Inside Child Poverty

Children Against Poverty

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A music moment

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If you can feel the gentle breeze of change in the air, you’re not alone…

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This is for the workers at Ports of Auckland, AFFCO, and Oceania Rest homes.

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Categories: On A Lighter Note Tags: