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Deputy Auditor General confirms Ministers not ‘vindicated’

27 March 2013

Deputy Auditor General confirms Ministers not ‘vindicated’ by SkyCity report

The pokies-for-convention centre deal should be scrapped after the Deputy Auditor General confirmed minsters did wrong over the deal, and were not completely vindicated as the Prime Minister has claimed, the Green Party said today.

“Deputy Auditor General Phillippa Smith today confirmed to a select committee that she found Government ministers at fault in her damning inquiry into the SkyCity deal, contradicting John Key’s claims that the report “completely vindicated” his Government,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“John was wrong when he said that his ministers were vindicated by the report. That was a blatant attempt to spin the report before it was released in a bid to mislead the people of New Zealand.

“Ms Smith confirmed that she found that both officials and Ministers had not followed good process in the Expressions of Interest process which she found favoured SkyCity right from the start.

“She confirmed that SkyCity was the least preferred of all the bidders for the convention centre at the start, and that it wasn’t till ministers staff and officials exclusively worked with the casino on their bid – including working up ideas to increase gambling opportunities – that SkyCity emerged at the end of the process the favoured option.

“Ms Smith agreed that the process that chose SkyCity was not an example of the kind that other businesses would want to be involved in and that fundamentally people needed to trust the Government to stick to the rules.

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“This was a dirty process to achieve a dirty deal, and the Deputy Auditor General has confirmed that Minsters hands were all over it.

“John Key and his Ministers were in no possible way vindicated by this damning report, and must now be answerable for having mislead the people of New Zealand.

“It is wrong to change the law to increase gambling harm in New Zealand. This deal must go now,” Mrs Turei said.

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