Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Political Idol, or whatever you want to call it

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  • llew40, in reply to BenWilson,

    Well .., it would be a helluva precedent. You might not like this particular government deal with a corporate (for good reasons) and may well be ok with the idea of a new government reneging and telling them to go fuck themselves.

    But who gets to decide what is a 'good' deal or not, and what would unintended consequences be on future corporate interest in investing in NZ when deals or regulations (e.g. auckland airport and OIO rules) might get reneged on or changed with the political wind?

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to llew40,

    who gets to decide what is a 'good' deal or not

    basic humanity is a good guide

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Green, in reply to Jonathan Ibell,

    Attachment

    I used that Native Affairs screenshot as an inspiration for my cartoon-of-the-day (part of my 100 Days project).

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 53 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Dunne will be gutted #ties

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Carol Green,

    outstanding #onya

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to llew40,

    But who gets to decide what is a ‘good’ deal or not

    In a technical sense, the government decides. There is no higher authority.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10654 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    There is no higher authority

    tribunals, dude :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    tribunals, dude :)

    No, you already bid that, and got raised.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10654 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    sayin it aint raisin it
    #sultana

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • llew40, in reply to Sacha,

    Heh, yes that would be a good guide. But what does it mean to you?. Take, for example, the Lange/Douglas Government policies. Surely they were motivated by a genuine belief that long-term future well being of NZ would be best served by modernising the economy, knowing there would be a lot of pain on the way. Is that humane? Is the belief that something is humane enough, or does it need to pass another test for basic humanity? Say, an election? Or a Parliamentary bill?

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to llew40,

    But who gets to decide what is a ‘good’ deal or not

    Not tampering with the principle of parliamentary sovereignty would be a good starting benchmark. Easily followed, and ought to be obvious why it's a benchmark. If the deal can't stack up without trying to force future parliaments to adhere to the current parliament's views on acceptable regulation, it's so shady it's pitch black.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to llew40,

    But who gets to decide what is a ‘good’ deal or not, and what would unintended consequences be on future corporate interest in investing in NZ when deals or regulations (e.g. auckland airport and OIO rules) might get reneged on or changed with the political wind?

    On the other hand, it’s not just any old contract. I can’t think of another commercial deal that commits every elected government for the next 35 years on a whole area of social legislation. Treasury strongly warned the government against doing so.

    And more to the point, Stephen Franks, who was deftly retained by the Green Party, says the government doesn’t have the power to sell the law:

    The Government’s pokies for convention centre deal cannot bind future governments to compensate SkyCity if the deal is revoked, leading constitutional lawyer Stephen Franks says.

    Mr Franks’ law firm Franks & Ogilvie was asked by the Green Party to advise on the constitutional implications of the deal.

    In his report, Mr Franks said it was not possible for SkyCity and the current Government “to exclude the ability of the NZ Parliament to revoke the contract in whole or in part”.

    He also said the current Government could not prevent a future government from acting to “negate Government liability to SkyCity including under the compensation provisions”.

    SkyCity could seek compensation under arbitration for actual losses suffered, but it couldn’t simply assert its contract over and above the sovereignty of Parliament.

    Franks concluded:

    Mr Franks’ analysis also suggested the preliminary deal or “heads of agreement” signed by the Government and SkyCity last month “exhibits an approach to procurement that skirts important constitutional safeguards.”

    The Government was in effect selling dispensations from the Gambling Act to SkyCity which were not available to others in return for the convention centre.

    “The ability to “purchase” a dispensation from regulation sits uncomfortably with the rule of law”, Mr Franks said.

    So it’s not just a commercial deal. It’s an undertaking the government didn’t have constitutional power to make.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Stephen Franks, who was deftly retained by the Green Party

    Whoever thought of using Franks is a genius. As a former Act MP he cannot simply be dismissed as a tool of the simpering lefty establishment.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R,

    That won't stop PgpKey saying that Franks doesn't understand the legislation though.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    regime chains…

    It’s an undertaking the government didn’t
    have constitutional power to make.

    Something they are doing a lot of lately…
    … and after being told they are wrong
    they still want to get their own way…

    Key and cronies are proving there may be some truth in that hoary old adage – ‘How do you start a Kiwi off in a small business?
    Give him a big business to start with….’

    (and it’s starting to look like the govt may have created most of the furore about ‘Botulismilk’ etc – another own goal?)

    The National ‘Government’ is turning into a bit of a constitutional clearing house come fire sale all round, really…

    I can see Br’er Key grinning, gloating –
    “ta baby, for throwing me in the Brierley Patch!
    It’s been fun, sell sell, sell!”

    NB: commissar-orations extended, if offence given
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7947 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I can see Br’er Key grinning, gloating –
    “ta baby, for throwing me in the Brierley Patch!
    It’s been fun, sell sell, sell!”

    NB: commissar-orations extended, if offence given
    ;- )

    Oooh you're good Ian!
    The Commissar is growling in the background that normal show trials will be resumed as soon as the Great Town Hall of the People has been restored. He don't take offence: he makes lists.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    (and it’s starting to look like the govt may have created most of the furore about ‘Botulismilk’ etc – another own goal?)

    They're going botulistic?

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    If people are upset with a future government denying Sky City compensation, they could always pay the money out and then levy a tax on casino operators to claw it back. Governments have the absolute right to choose what taxes to levy, right?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If a government makes a stupid, stupid cripplingly expensive deal, and the next government decides to can it, I don’t have a problem with that. It might teach the corporations not to be so greedy in future.

    I've been waiting most of three decades for the government to come to this realisation about some of the assets that the 4th Labour government hocked off to the Business Round Table in some criminal deals, but nothing seems to have been done.

    Not tampering with the principle of parliamentary sovereignty would be a good starting benchmark.

    I don't buy this argument. Parliament is still sovereign, the government has just signed up to a deal allowing compensation if parliament exerts it's sovereignty. Parliament can wipe the law any time it wants, and if it really wants it can go further and say "fuck you" and not pay the compensation. But the last step I think would be wrong, and if we wanted that end result we should have paid for the convention centre ourselves, or not had one - I don't care either way.

    The idea that parliament can't bind future parliaments in this way is nonsense. Governments sign up to all sorts of agreements and deals with corporations and other countries - trade etc - all the time which bind us for the future. In as much as any parliament can be bound - the government could tomorrow go around and nationalise ever major asset across the country. But there would be consequences.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    But there would be consequences.

    Naturally, as there is from not doing it, too. Which one is worse? A consequence of reneging on the 30 year part of deal would be that other parties in future might not believe the government if they attempted to negotiate such a deal again. It would set up a precedent that corporations couldn’t buy our laws, so we’d never be able to sell them again. I think I could not only live with that, but indeed would actually prefer that.

    ETA: And the consequence of not undoing this deal is that there is now a precedent for making deals like this. It's the thin end of a scary wedge, IMHO. If we are going to start eroding the supremacy of our own parliament, I'd rather we did it on things like human rights, rather than corporate rights.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10654 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I think that people should be able to work with governments on time frames longer than three years. Obviously I'm not a fan of the SkyCity deal, and we need to take firm regulatory action on pokies etc (hi Tony!), but we also have to make sure that the government acts in a predictable, fair, transparent way. (Which are precisely the things the SkyCity deal screwed with.)

    On a similar note, as far as asset sales go, it's not Labour's job to run around trying to put things back exactly as they were in 2008. Labour's going to have to make decisions about where to allocate scarce resources, and it's not a great idea to prioritise simply by "what was the most recent bad decision and how can we undo it".

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    I don’t buy this argument. Parliament is still sovereign, the government has just signed up to a deal allowing compensation if parliament exerts it’s sovereignty. Parliament can wipe the law any time it wants, and if it really wants it can go further and say “fuck you” and not pay the compensation. But the last step I think would be wrong, and if we wanted that end result we should have paid for the convention centre ourselves, or not had one – I don’t care either way.

    There was an orchestrated litany of wolf cries about "property rights" and "capital strike" when David Cunliffe opened up the local loop to proper competition. Instead, there was an initial flood of competition for the copper wires, at least until Chorus was given preferential treatment by the usual suspects.

    Proudhon said that "property is theft". He forgot to add, "when it becomes an excuse to rent-seek". And those who actually do understand Adam Smith, as opposed to merely reading him, will make note of the section: "People of the same trade seldom meet... "

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5434 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I think that people should be able to work with governments on time frames longer than three years.

    Perhaps if there’s a financial reason for an arrangement to last longer than 3 years, it would make sense to come to an agreement llikely to have cross-party support?

    If you know you wouldn’t get your contract if the opposition were in power instead, but you sign up anyway, and a subsequent government reneges, then haven’t you only got yourself to blame? Wasn't it really a business gamble that lost?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Perhaps if there’s a financial reason for an arrangement to last longer than 3 years, it would make sense to come to an agreement llikely to have cross-party support?

    You mean… work together? Across party lines? How completely ridiculous! A strong leader doesn’t need bipartisan accord on anything, (s)he just needs to set the course and force things through over any opposition (with and without a capital 'O').

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I sat on the Labour Policy Council when we were drafting the current Platform

    Good work, sir.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

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