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Major issues with SkyCity deal – legal opinion

4 June 2013

Major issues with SkyCity deal – legal opinion

The Government’s deal with SkyCity can be unwound by a future Government and the Heads of Agreement on which it is based could be unlawful according to a damning legal opinion by Franks and Ogilvie released by the Green Party today.

The Green Party engaged Franks and Ogilvie Principal Stephen Franks to provide advice on the constitutionality of the Government’s deal with SkyCity.

“The advice highlights the Government’s disregard for our constitutional law and the highly dangerous public law precedent the SkyCity deal sets,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“The Franks and Ogilvie advice is damning of the legal implications of the concession given to SkyCity, stating, ‘the ability to “purchase” a dispensation from regulation sits uncomfortably with the rule of law’.

“The National Government is undermining our democracy by giving special treatment – favours that ordinary New Zealanders could never dream of - to its special friend SkyCity.

“The opinion states ‘there is a special sensitivity in our constitutional history to dispensations and law changes for the benefit of particular persons, and more so when they pay for that exclusive privilege’.

“Of serious concern is the view that the Heads of Agreement could be unlawful as it contains provisions contrary to the law as it stands.

“The Government is ignoring the ruling in Fitzgerald v Muldoon that says Governments can’t undertake actions that are contrary to the law at the time.

"Crony capitalism is not a smart way to run a Government or an economy. This SkyCity deal sends a signal to business that the real money to be made is through lobbying Government for sweet deals, not by honest, hard work.

“It is pleasing that the opinion affirms the right of a future Green Government to revoke the SkyCity contract, however it is critical we do that as soon as possible to limit the costs associated with unwinding this undemocratic deal.

"In Government, the Green Party will take all reasonable steps to overturn the SkyCity law and return our country to normal democratic law making where everyone is treated fair and equally.”

Link to Franks and Ogilvie legal opinion on SkyCity deal http://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/skycity_opinion.pdf

ENDS

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