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Convention Bill Progresses

The second reading of the New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill has been completed with Labour saying it would not be bound by the deal if elected into Government.

The Bill gives effect to an agreement between SkyCity and the Crown called the New Zealand International Convention Centre Project and Licensing Agreement. In effect SkyCity will build a National Convention Centre in Auckland in exchange for an expansion of its gambling operations in the city.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the bill would provide jobs and growth for New Zealand which was opposed by the other parties, though since it was a personal vote individual MPs would be able to say where they stood.

Labour had supported the bill at times, but there position was unclear to whether they would seek to repeal it.

The agreement with SkyCity would bring substantial investment and was a fair deal to both parties, he said.

Labour’s Trevor Mallard said an incoming Labour Government would bring in measures to reduce gambling harm and would regulate for this without compensation.

Labour would not stop the construction going ahead, but the deal was “gold plated” and Labour would not be bound by it.

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A vote the amendments as recommended by select committee adopted passed by 61 to 59 with National, ACT and United Future in favour.

A personal vote was held on the second reading and this was completed though it was immediately unclear what the result was.

MPs began the first reading of the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Amendment Bill.


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