Key has repeatedly claimed that there was no alternative to SkyCity for funding his coveted convention centre:
“It went through the normal tendering process, Sky City was the only bidder prepared to look at a deal that didn’t involve any Government resources,” Mr Key told reporters in Singapore on Thursday.
“There’s no one else out there that could come up with a deal like that.”
It only looks like a good deal if you don’t count the true cost of course (which the Nats never do). Also:
But John Key said it was the only credible plan in what were tight financial times.
It’s pure hypocrisy for him to claim it’s the only credible deal – when he deliberately kneecapped the opposition:
Government officials were told to stop working on a business case for a new convention centre in Auckland after Prime Minister John Key cut a secret deal with Sky City, Labour says.
Party leader David Shearer says he’s got cabinet documents that prove Mr Key directly intervened in the tender process. “This looks like a secret deal was done behind taxpayers’ backs,” he said on Thursday.
“It’s no surprise that Sky City emerged victorious from the tender process because it was a one-horse race from the start.”
At the same time John Key was also made aware of Sky City’s plans to expand its own convention facilities. He then called an immediate halt to further work on a business case.
There were other contenders too. As The Greens point out:
Four other contenders are known to have put forward expressions of interest to build the convention centre.
“This reveals that the other bidders were unknowingly competing on a completely uneven playing field,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
“With John Key intervening in the process and offering exclusive deals for the casino, the other bidders had no way of ever being able to compete with SkyCity’s offer.
“Their bids could have taken on a completely different shape had John Key offered law changes for them too.
Hey why not, if we’re changing the law for SkyCity (and Hollywood), why not change it for everyone? In fact, why bother with having laws at all? Key has lost it:
The papers have emerged as Key today said he “advised himself” to chase Sky City for a deal to build a new national convention centre in exchange for changes to gambling laws.
No need to bother with the facts or the law when Key can just “advise himself” to do whatever he likes.
There’s a serious smell about this. There’s going to be a serious backlash against Mr Key. His approach to this is arrogant and offhand. We cannot have this kind of deal in this country. The perception of John Key and his government is very bad. It is a moral issue and the community needs to stand up against this. Why should community groups need to go cap in hand to alcohol barons and gambling operators to get funds that the government refuses to hand out?
In a similar vein – this from Stuff in Auckland:
Our government is brazenly deceitful
Credit where credit’s due. This might not be the most deceitful New Zealand Government of the past 50 years but it’s certainly the most brazenly deceitful. If there were to be awards for sneering-in-your-face dishonesty; for being deliberately misleading and for sweeping inconvenient truths under the carpet, the Class of 2012 would already be assured of the silverware. Seldom, in the field of shameless chicanery, has one Government achieved so much.
The only remaining question is how many imaginery “Shiftys” our National-led coalition deserve. They can certainly look forward to multiple nominations for their performance over the Sky City scandal, in which they’re blatantly exchanging Government policy for the equivalent of a brown paper bag full of money. The PM’s declaration that he wasn’t, before conceding in his next breath that he’d actually initiated proceedings, also puts him in line for Best Accidental Comic.
Key has advised himself into his worst public relations fiasco yet. Like a tinpot general, above the law and convinced of his own invincibility, he’s the architect of his own Waterloo.