Mike Hosking thinks that Sky City should be bailed out by the government. Since he never disagrees with Sky City any claims of a 'conflict of interest' are totally false.

IT WILL NOT COME AS A SURPRISE that Mike Hosking is entirely relaxed about his favourite government handing over $140 million to Sky City so it can complete a convention centre it promised to build for free.

As a virulent critic of beneficiaries, a reasonable person might of thought that Hosking, if he was being consistent, would have attacked this shonky proposal as 'corporate welfare'. Apparently though Hosking operates by two sets of rules - a punitive and hostile set of rules for the poor and a 'you're my kind of people' set of rules for the rich and powerful.

Anything that Hosking says about Sky City should, of course, always be tagged as 'sponsored comment'. In 2012 it was revealed he stood to make up to $50,000 that year in cash and perks from the casino operator. He was scheduled, like TV3'S Paul Henry, to receive a $2000 a month retainer.

TVNZ said at the time that Hosking would not be permitted to cover stories about Sky City because of a 'perceived conflict of interest'. However Newstalk ZB clearly think there's no problem with Hosking talking about an organisation he's received cash from. There is no conflict of interest, perceived or otherwise, because Hosking always agrees with Sky City. Simple.

So in his Newstalk ZB editorial this morning he goes into bat for his secondary employer. He dismisses all criticisms of Sky City as nothing more than 'cynicism'. Hosking meanwhile, who is better than us, is only interested in 'the reality' of the situation.

Hosking, who is a bit of an intellectual poseur, evokes the name of the famous American architect Louis Kahn in his defence of John Key. After consulting Wikipedia, he informs us that Kahn was a great architect :

"The Trenton Bath House, the Uni at La Hoya, the Bangladesh Parliament, he built beautiful and he built to last. It cost more than the others but it was money well spent.

This is what Key is arguing. If the Government has to cough up to avoid ugly then he’ll do it and good on him."

To use the legacy of Louis Kahn to defend something as squalid as a casino operation is low ball stuff.

To quote one writer, Louis Kahn "believed strongly that architecture should appeal not only to practical and aesthetic needs but also to the humanistic needs of the people and communities it serves."

Perhaps Hosking would like to explain how a casino operator like Sky City meets the humanistic needs of the Auckland community.

Four Freedoms Park
It was Louis Kahn who designed Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park in New York. The design was inspired by a speech Eisenhower made in 1941 , in which he said that he looked forward to a world founded upon four human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Kahn revered Roosevelt. He credited Roosevelt for enabling him to support his family during the early years of his architecture practice through housing and community planning projects that were part of Roosevelt's New Deal programs.

Hosking might have no problem with casino capitalism - after all, he financially benefits from it - but he really should not evoke the name of someone like Louis Kahn to justify the behaviour of a corporate vampire like Sky City and its government mates. He should stick to someone more appropriate. I suggest Donald Trump.


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