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SkyCity played National for a fool

17 July 2013

SkyCity played National for a fool

Documents released today show that SkyCity played National for a fool when negotiating its gold-plated deal to get more pokie machines and law changes, the Green Party said today.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) today released information on the New Zealand International Convention Centre deal.

“Documents released by MBIE today show that SkyCity had the National Government over a barrel from the start because of its decision to rule out other tenders,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“The National Government put all its negotiating eggs in one basket, SkyCity knew that and squeezed them for every possible advantage they could gain.

“The documents show SkyCity took a very aggressive position, they called the shots and maximised every opportunity. SkyCity were far better negotiators and knew how to drag out the process to extract every possible win.

“SkyCity knew National had invested way too much politically for it to ditch the deal, that’s why it got so many pokies, so many more tables, such a long contract and protection from future law changes.

“The documents show that SkyCity brazenly made the most outrageous demands. Examples of demands included lowering the casino gambling age to 18, installing 900 more gaming tables, and a casino in Wellington.

“The letters and briefings show the weak bargaining position National put itself in was exploited by SkyCity to win an unprecedented compensation clause. SkyCity forced National to agree that the taxpayer would give the casino a pay-out if gambling laws are tightened in the future.

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“That was the point when the National Government should have woken up and smelt the coffee. The National Government should have realised what a dirty deal it was getting into when SkyCity started making outrageous demands and retendered so that it could find a partner that would build the convention centre without having to sell New Zealand laws and put thousands of Kiwis at risk.

“All MPs should read these documents and vote against the next reading of the law to enact this deal. These documents highlight that SkyCity will benefit from this deal at the expense of children and families.

“This is a dirty deal that seeks to trade the safety of people off against a supposedly free convention centre. It breaches the protections in the Gambling Act, defies the rule of law and gives a special privilege to SkyCity that no other person or business in New Zealand is allowed,” Mrs Turei said.

ENDS

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