Before you think I'm being too one-eyed, what did Phil Goff, Kris Faafoi, Annette King and Clayton Cosgrove think they were doing accepting free seats in SkyCity's VIP box at the All Blacks' game last week?
Nice for them to get their snouts in the trough while the people who vote for them pay for uncomfortable seats in the cold outside.
Attacking SkyCity for using its political influence to get itself a sweetheart deal is legitimate politics. But the hypocrisy of cosying up on SkyCity's dime loses any advantage Labour had over John Key's unpalatable deal-making with SkyCity. Did those MPs not understand that SkyCity didn't invite them because it just happened to have four spare tickets?
SkyCity knows full well that if National loses the next election, its pokies-for-a-convention-centre deal is at risk. Therefore it makes good sense to be nice to a few Labour MPs.
The cliche is true, there really isn't any such a thing as a free lunch. In the situation last Saturday, it's not too hard to imagine, after a few beers, our worthy guests winking to their hosts not to worry about Labour's public antics as it's really only those pesky Greens who take anti-gambling seriously.
Despite National's glee, I give David Shearer a pass as he wasn't a guest and popped in for only a few minutes to talk to someone present without partaking of the hospitality.
However, Goff's explanation that he accepted the free VIP tickets only so he could meet SkyCity honchos to tell them what he really thought about the SkyCity deal was just embarrassing. Maybe he planned on using the halftime break to turn on his hosts?
Maybe our politicians aren't as dumb as we think. Maybe the problem is that they think we're dumb.
The mere fact that we are still talking about an issue that should have been shut down by morning tea time on Monday with a mea culpa from the MP's concerned tells you how poorly Labour has handled this story.
Labour has completely lost the moral high ground over the SkyCity deal. The debate in Parliament is going to be hugely entertaining, especially if Shearer, Goff, King, Cosgrove or Faafoi gets allocated a speaking slot.