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SkyCity deal must be ditched following Auditor Gen report

19 February 2013

SkyCity deal must be ditched following Auditor General report

Today’s damning Auditor General report into the National Government’s pokies-for-convention centre deal with SkyCity shows the casino got preferential treatment and the deal should be ditched, the Green Party said today.

“This report does not vindicate John Key,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“The Auditor General’s report was hugely damning, finding the process that chose SkyCity was ‘flawed’ and revealing the relationship with SkyCity was so cozy that the other proposers didn’t stand a chance.

“The Deputy Auditor General stated ‘the contact with one proposer was of a wholly different nature from the contact with others. Officials effectively worked with SkyCity for some months… while other proposers were kept on hold and given very little information’.

“John Key is clinging to one technical finding in the report – while ignoring the vast majority of the report which was hugely damning of a flawed and unbalanced process.

“SkyCity clearly got preferential treatment and the report raises serious concerns about how the expressions of interest process was run. It is unacceptable for the deal to stay on the table.

“The Deputy Auditor General has not recommended where to from here, but it is unacceptable that one company can be treated in a ‘wholly different nature than the others’ as the report says, in such a large commercial deal involving a first world Government.

“The process was not fair, open or transparent and meetings between the Government and SkyCity were ‘materially different in quantity and kind’ to those between the Government and other parties.

“The report said the process under which the Government sought for expressions of interest for a convention centre in early 2010 had been ‘poorly planned and executed. Insufficient attention was given to planning and management of the process as a whole, so that risks were not adequately addressed and managed’.

“John Key says a $350 million convention centre will be built at no cost to New Zealanders, but in reality it will be built on the back of suffering and misery – because that’s what will be created by allowing more pokie machines in exchange.

“The National Government should not be changing our laws to allow more pokie machines than the current law considers safe.

“John Key says that, on a scale of 1 to 100, the deal had been dealt with the standard of 100. I think most New Zealanders would find that quite revolting and a shocking insight into how Mr Key conducts business behind the scenes,” Mrs Turei said.

ENDS


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