28 February 2015
There’s talk that John Key has been outsmarted by SkyCity. It would appear so. But hold on a minute.
The Prime Minister, in trying to avoid questions, has revealed he wears several hats as a husband, PM and cat owner.
The one he hasn’t mentioned is his best hat forever. That’s the one he puts on when big business texts. Think SkyCity.
He’s very obliging under this hat. That’s why he’s all for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement now being negotiated. Leaked documents suggest it’s much more about scoring concessions for business than it is about trade. Perfect for the PM.
Mr Key will sign anything if it benefits the profits of the big players. He knew exactly what he was doing when he put through legislation, that New Zealand First opposed, giving SkyCity more pokies and gaming tables in return for a convention centre in Auckland. They got prime TVNZ land too. He was so obliging he even allowed the casino company a chance to ask the government for more, which they did.
But, staring a public backlash in the face he’s had to wriggle out of that one, but no one knows what ‘card’ the casino played to let their mate off the hook.
SkyCity is one of National’s best friends. It has been a virtual HQ for the National Party. It was the venue for National’s campaign launch in 2005 and HQ for election night in 2008 and 2011.
The Prime Minister has been very close to SkyCity. On the whole he spends more time with business executives than Kiwis at the opposite end of the pay scale. It’s the CEOs who are at the functions he attends, they’re often sponsoring the events, so they have his ear.
The big corporations are so close to governments, not only in New Zealand, that they have handed over many details of the Trans Pacific Partnership while the public in the negotiating countries are kept in the dark. These corporations are about to get unbelievable powers over New Zealand if the PM keeps his favourite hat on.
The treaty will be signed by the National government, not by Parliament.
Mr Key wants to allow foreign corporations to sue New Zealand for compensation if they believe any changes in laws or policies affect their business. So, in essence, if a risky investment goes belly up they will ask for compensation from the Kiwi taxpayer.
There’ll be a hearing in front of a tribunal outside New Zealand. A finding of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars against New Zealand is not affordable.
New Zealand First is not opposed to foreign investment that benefits New Zealand but we are taking action to try and prevent these lawsuits being part of the TPPA.
This is gross irresponsibility by the National government, which has a duty to look after its citizens first and foremost. It should not be giving special privilege to private companies who could send us seriously into the red.
Listen out for an announcement soon from New Zealand First.
Winston Peters is the leader of New Zealand First.