The Sky City Casino / Convention Centre government back-paddle seems to get us back to the position of “no cost to the tax – or ratepayers”. Don’t bet on it !
For starters it was never and still is not without costs to tax – and ratepayers.
Remember that the casino company intends to pay for the convention centre out of the profits of an extended term of their license and increased number of gaming facilities mostly poky machines. These come with enormous costs to the poorest members of society who are bussed in from South Auckland to pay for the convention centre they will never set foot in other than as cleaners or security guards. Gambling is associated with great social costs of addiction, family violence, deprivation of children and crime. The cost of which will – you guessed it – be borne by the above tax- and rate-payers.
The old story: Profits are privatised, losses are socialised.
That brings us to the wider picture of our present neoliberal capitalistic economic system, which is quite contradictory to a democracy. This is made clear by Noam Chomsky in his 2014 lecture “Why you can not have a Capitalist Democracy!”
Instead of “democracy” – the rule by the people – we in New Zealand and other Anglo-American capitalist countries have what is called “kleptocracy”, which is the rule by the thieves. In other words our system is defined by the Rich stealing from the Poor.
The Sky City back paddle came only about because the thieves had their fingers so blatantly in the public till that even the hardcore John Key / National Party supporters could and would not ignore it.
However Sky City is by far not the only international corporation stealing from us with the help from our neoliberal government.
Remember Hollywood’s Warner Brothers riding into town picked up by government limousines and enriching themselves at the cost of the taxpayer through generous tax breaks and at the cost of New Zealand actors and workers via an overnight labour law change.
Remember Rio Tinto, the very profitable Australian mining giant getting a 30 million dollar handout for the privilege to use discounted power at the expense of ordinary electricity users.
And right now the greatest heist in history is happening right under our noses with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
First I thought this picture funny, pointing fun at the incompetence of our leaders. On second thoughts I find it rather misleading. They are not clowns who don’t know what they are doing. Rather the opposite !
The people who are doing this thing are the big corporations (according to the US Supreme Court corporations are people even if psychopathic). They are the people who steal from the poor. Just one example in the agreement, which by the stroke of the pen extends intellectual property rights like pharmaceutical patents by years, adds billions to the balance sheets of the big corporations at the costs of patients and taxpayer funders, who are deprived of cheaper generic products.
Another even more fundamental, almost the ultimate, prize is democracy. Corporations hate it – at least the real thing they can’t buy.
So the ultimate prize is getting rid of democracy. This is being achieved by establishing the right to sue governments and override their decisions or even acts of Parliament for instance, in the interests of public health, the environment or child protection – if that happens to negatively effect the corporation’s bottom line. And to do that in a private “court” with “judges” all comprising of corporate lawyers who constantly change roles between corporate advocate and “judge”. A “court” not part of any countries judicial system or democratic oversight no ordinary citizen has access too.
The TPPA negotiations are conducted by corporations and governments in total secrecy. Unions, environmental, health, internet user groups and the rest of civil society are excluded – obviously for good reason.
The governments’ role in these secret negotiations is to receive the corporate drafts, sign and ratify them in the interest of their own corporations hopefully without the people noticing.
When are the people waking and rising up
(7th of March country wide TPP protest) ?
Even the Tui advertising agency, which normally has a good idea of the mood of the crowd has got it.