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ResponseTo Criticism About Community Contribution


18 March 2004

Skycity Responds To Lobby Group Criticism About

Community Contribution

New Zealand's largest casino operator, SKYCITY Entertainment Group, today responded to lobby group criticism that the community contribution of casinos is "stingy" in comparison to that of gaming machine trusts.

General Manager Operations for SKYCITY Entertainment Group, David Kennedy, said that the issue required clarification.

"When assessing the contribution organisations make to the communities in which they operate it is important to look at the broad picture," said Mr Kennedy.

"Cash funding for community organisations and local initiatives, such as that provided through the three community trusts SKYCITY has established, is simply one way that community contribution can be measured. Factors like employment, the purchase of local goods and services, local and central government taxation and levies, tourism contribution, and sporting partnerships - like SKYCITY's lead sponsorships of t Auckland and Waikato Rugby - combine to represent an incredibly significant level of community participation and contribution," he said.

Mr Kennedy pointed to SKYCITY's shareholder base - close to 60% of whom are New Zealanders - as a further example of New Zealanders sharing in the company's success.

"As a listed company, SKYCITY has consistently rewarded those New Zealanders who own the company, through a dividend pay-out policy that returns 90% of company profits to shareholders," he said.

Mr Kennedy also corrected information released by GamblingWatch regarding the dollar value of SKYCITY's community contribution.

"In the last financial year, SKYCITY Auckland directly contributed more than $6.5m, SKYCITY Hamilton contributed close to $720,000 and SKYCITY Queenstown paid out $220,000 to their respective communities by way of trust funding and local sponsorship. Additionally, the cost of employing more than 3,000 staff in New Zealand and operating major enterprises that require the ongoing supply of goods, services and utilities from their local communities, signals a far greater contribution than when viewed in cash pay-out terms only."

Mr Kennedy added that the company also faced significant costs in terms of levies relating to taxation (including gambling tax, PAYE and GST) and compliance costs associated with the nature of its business, operating within one of the most highly regulated sectors in the country.


Additional information:

SKYCITY Community Trusts

- Since establishing the first SKYCITY Community Trust in Auckland in 1996, close to $12 million has been distributed to support a wide range of community initiatives.

- Established to provide funds for community and charitable purposes (with the annual funding amount based on a minimum percentage of each property's net profit or revenue), SKYCITY's Community Trusts are only one of the vehicles through which the company supports local organisations.

- SKYCITY Community Trusts have been established in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown and plans are progressing for the establishment of a trust in Adelaide.

- Each independent trust aims to help local and regional organisations carry out community assistance and development work, focusing on community projects related to health, education, tourism, entertainment, arts and culture.

Community Partnerships

- SKYCITY is also a proud sponsor of health, entertainment, arts, culture and sport in our communities.

- Since opening our first property in 1996, the SKYCITY Group has developed a significant community sponsorship portfolio. Organisations that SKYCITY continues to support through sponsorship activity and fundraising initiatives include the SKYCITY Starlight Symphony, the Starship Foundation, Kidz First Children's Hospital, Special Olympics New Zealand and the New Zealand Breast Cancer.

- SKYCITY is also a major supporter of sporting teams and events from Auckland Rugby, Waikato Rugby, Boathouse 8's - a rowing event on the Waikato river, Vodafone Warriors, Rally of New Zealand and the Placemakers V8 International.

© Scoop Media

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