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John Key’s SkyCity empire will suck Auckland dry

13 August 2014

John Key’s SkyCity empire will suck Auckland dry

John Key has gifted SkyCity the opportunity to create a gated empire in Auckland city where the casino can siphon off all the spending associated with a convention centre, while Auckland pays in increased gambling harm, the Green Party said today.

SkyCity has dramatically increased the scope of its planned Auckland convention centre, today announcing plans for a five star hotel and a 50 per cent increase in spending on the new project .

Plans include a 12-storey 300-room five-star Auckland hotel, new 6m wide pedestrian laneway to link Hobson St to Nelson St lined with shops and restaurants and an additional 570 car parks .

“John Key hand selected SkyCity for the Convention project and he alone will be responsible if SkyCity is allowed to funnel all the money international convention goers spend to its owners,” Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said.

“This project could be even more of a goldmine to Skycity than anyone dreamed and even more of a disaster for Auckland than anyone could have predicted.

“Not only has SkyCity been allowed to expand its problem gambling business, but National has created the opportunity for SkyCity to create a gated empire in the middle of Auckland where all the money earned from conventions will be kept in its own coffers.

“Local shops and hotels will be bled dry by this gated gambling empire and these expansion plans must not be approved.

“Ministry of Economic Development analysis shows that 73 percent of all money spent by international convention attendees goes on the host city, and a whopping 97 per cent of that is spent on the convention fees, accommodation, food, entertainment and retail.

“The expansion of SkyCity will allow the casino company to soak up every single cent of that spending. No convention attendee will ever need to step foot outside of SkyCity’s gated empire.

“Let’s not forget John Key changed the law to allow SkyCity to significantly grow their gambling business off the misery of local problem gamblers. Officials warned families would be driven into poverty, crime and even suicide and thousands of kids would suffer as a result.

“This is a disaster for Auckland City and it shows again who National backs – big international businesses over New Zealand businesses and families,” Mrs Turei said.

Link to MED analysis on convention centre spend: http://www.med.govt.nz/sectors-industries/tourism/pdf-docs-library/tourism-research-and-data/other-research-and-reports/conventions-research-programme/convention-delegate-survey/CDS-YE-June-2012.pdf

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