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National MP must explain SkyCity contradiction

22 October 2013

National MP must explain SkyCity contradiction

The Green Party is raising serious questions about contradictory evidence provided to a parliamentary select committee by National Party MP Sam Lotu-Iiga’s electorate chairman in relation to the SkyCity Convention Centre deal.

The concerns focus on evidence given by Lotu-Iiga’s electorate chairman Seamus Donegan to the commerce select committee in which he misrepresented the views of the Catholic Peace and Justice Commission over the SkyCity deal and the impact of problem gambling in casinos versus other venues.

In addition neither Mr Donegan nor Lotu-Iiga declared their political relationship to the committee.

“Sam Lotu-Iiga is politically and morally conflicted as questions emerge concerning his electorate chair’s involvement in the political spin concerning the SkyCity deal,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Neither Mr Lotu-Iiga, nor Mr Donegan disclosed their political relationship during the select committee meeting or after. Members of the committee did not know their political connection.

“It is normal for political relationships to be disclosed. It is all the more relevant given that Mr Donegan’s testimony was contradictory to the actual position of the Catholic Peace and Justice Commission. That raises serious questions.

“Sam Lotu-Iiga’s electorate chairman gave the impression to the public, and to the select committee that the church approved of the deal. That was a major misrepresentation of their real view.

“The evidence Mr Donegan gave around the supposed safety of casino gambling was wrong. Department of Internal Affairs officials have told the Government that casino gambling is at least as harmful as gambling conducted in pubs and clubs.

“This Bill could live or die on the vote of Mr Lotu-Iiga and of John Banks, both of whom are now seriously conflicted by their involvement with the casino and the backroom political spinning around this Bill.”

ends

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