There are many good reasons why we can count on David – they are called the baubles of offfice

Somebody at Stuff has done their sums and come up with the obvious answer.

Law changes intended to scuttle the SkyCity convention centre in Auckland are unlikely to get enough support.

Stuff tells us that NZ First deputy leader Tracey Martin wants to repeal the legislation on the $402 million SkyCity deal.

Her private member’s bill, crafted to achieve this, is among members’ bills drawn from the ballot.

The controversial 2013 deal gave the casino 230 extra poker machines, and extended its exclusive license until 2048.

In return, SkyCity agreed to build a $402m convention centre that was expected to generate $90m of revenue each year.

Further controversy erupted this year when SkyCity indicated the convention centre would need more funding to meet specifications. Prime Minister John Key said at the time that it risked looking like an “eyesore” otherwise.

The Government eventually ruled out a taxpayer top-up of the funding for the project.

Then we are told ACT party leader David Seymour has expressed concerns about the deal, which was negotiated before he entered Parliament.

But Alf was confident David would be all in favour, because anybody who joins the ACT Party and aspires to become a Member of Parliament must have a strong gambling streak.

Moreover, giving SkyCity a bunch of gambling concessions will take the funding burden off hard-working taxpayers.

Martin’s Bill would strip SkyCity of the benefits it received in the deal, including extra gaming tables and more pokies.

This would mean the current agreement is taken off the table.

There is much at stake.

Stuff goes on to say Seymour at some juncture had refused to rule out voting to repeal the act but said it was “highly unlikely”.

“There a couple of things here – it’s no secret that I’m very sceptical of these kinds of deals where the Government says we want to pass a law so that a particular project should go ahead,” he said.

“I think the role of Government should be much more modest than that.”

But while he did not like the arrangement, Seymour said the practical consequences of changing the law were too great.

“[Martin’s] bill is the kind of thing you can do when you’re in Opposition and you don’t really have to deal with the consequences of it,” he said.

“If I thought that it was going to be costless, in terms of creating an unstable regulatory environment then we might consider it.”

Actually, Alf had a word with David and mentioned a small matter he might have overlooked.

The baubles of office – an under-secretaryship in this case – can be taken away in the same way as Northland won’t get certain things if they vote the wrong way at the byelection.

And just in case David might not pay much heed to the hard-working Member for Eketahuna North, Alf mentioned the same thing to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

Lo and behold, Joyce later asked David if the Government could rely on Seymour’s vote.

What else he might have said while asking is not recorded at Stuff. But Alf has a good idea.

And so:

“On balance I think its wrong to go and change the law just because you don’t like something, if its going to seriously disrupt the plans people have made under the law,” Seymour said.

It should be noted that Alf might have conspired to undo David and have him lose his baubles of office, instead of counselling him..

But The Boss is unlikely to have given Alf the job because – when you look hard at it – you could save a few bucks by not having it done by anybody. Anyway, Alf wants to be a proper Minister, preferably a Cabinet one.

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