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Govt should stop SkyCity deal not just delay it

14 June 2013

Govt should stop SkyCity deal not just delay it

It is no surprise that the dirty deal between SkyCity and the Government has been delayed, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.

The deadline for completing the SkyCity convention centre deal has been extended. The deadline for the final contract being signed has been moved from today until June 30.

“It is vital that the Solicitor-General scrutinises this flawed deal as it is potentially an illegal contract,” Mrs Turei said.

“The deal between SkyCity and the Government involves selling a dispensation from the Gambling Act to SkyCity.

“Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce admitted this week that the Government has not sought any advice on the bill of rights, or rule of law, implications of signing a deal amending the Gambling Act before there is even legislation prepared.

“Leading constitutional lawyer Stephen Franks has prepared a legal opinion for the Green Party stating that ability of a company such as SkyCity to ‘purchase’ a dispensation from regulation sits uncomfortably with New Zealand law.

“The attempt to bind future Governments in the current Heads of Agreement between the Government and SkyCity is also unconstitutional.

“Steven Joyce and John Key have downplayed the extent of the increase in gambling harm that will flow on from the SkyCity deal,” Mrs Turei said.

“When questioned in the House on this by the Green Party, Steven Joyce refused to release any information regarding the social costs of this deal, till after the final contract is signed.

“In a democracy, signing a contract like this without giving the public the full facts is unacceptable.

“The price the Auckland community will pay for this deal is a massive increase in social harm and the ills that come from problem gambling.

“The 12 extra automated tables included in the SkyCity deal will significantly increase the opportunities for gambling. These tables allow up to 20 people per table to play automated games from a central computer. Together with the 230 pokie machines the potential for increased social harm from this deal is huge.

“Rather than delaying the deal for a few weeks the Key Government would be wiser to scrap this unconstitutional dirty deal that will hurt the wider Auckland community,” Mrs Turei said.


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