Matt McCarten tries to sieze the moral high ground this morning in his Herald on Sunday column; he opines:
One of the things our political and business elites pride themselves on is that ours is a country that ranks consistently in the top three as the least corrupt in the world.That New Zealanders take such a rating as the norm is a credit to the generations who preceded us and built the sort of societal ethics we enjoy today.The most recent respected Forbes survey, which ranks countries on how uncorrupt and friendly to business they are, has New Zealand at second. Only Canada is ahead of us. The World Bank gives us third place after Singapore and Hong Kong. Previously, we were first.If being capitalist darlings wasn't enough to puff our suit jackets out at, every reputable international survey ranks us high in the top 10 for just about every statistic possible. We are considered a model society that the rest of the world looks up to.That's why it's not a surprise that a TV3 poll on Thursday showed 72 per cent of us don't approve of the shonky deal John Key cooked up with the SkyCity casino.
We guess that Matt McCarten is the ideal person to be talking about shonky deals. The systematic tax evasion by Unite Union and McCarten's own company Unite Social Services Limited (placed in liquidation at the request of the Inland Revenue Department) has been well chronicled, and the detail need not be repeated today.
So whilst Matt McCarten can try and occupy the moral high ground, his credibility is shot, and his argument is diminished accordingly. At some point in time, surely someone in the editorial area of the Herald on Sunday will realise that.
Despite the protestations of the likes of McCarten, the Labour Party and the Greens, we believe that the government is on the cusp of negotiating a fantastic deal with Sky City. Yes; it will involve a 3% increase in the number of pokie machines nationwide (but all located at the Auckland casino), but the sinking lid policy that successive governments have run will see the overall number of pokies continue to fall over time.
It's worth remembering that in 2003, there were more than 25,000 pokies in New Zealand; in December last year that number had progressively fallen to just over 18,000. There's been a 10% fall since the John Key-led government took office in 2008. That's hardly suggestive of National going all-out to increase gambling opportunities.