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SkyCity enquiry

Written By: - Date published: 1:56 pm, June 13th, 2012 - 13 comments
Categories: accountability, john key - Tags: , , ,

Can this year get any worse for Key? I’m starting to feel sorry for the guy. In latest news:

Auditor-General to probe Sky City deal

The Government’s controversial deal with SkyCity casinos for a $350m national convention centre will be investigated by the auditor-general’s office.

The announcement comes as yet another blow to the Government, which in the last five days has backtracked on its plans for teachers and started a clean out of the under-fire senior management of ACC. …

Deputy Auditor-General Phillippa Smith said the inquiry would consider the process for seeking and assessing proposals for the convention centre, the adequacy of the assessment of the likely costs and benefits of each and any other matters deemed of interest. …

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, who requested the investigation, said the Government could ”not possibly proceed with the SkyCity deal” while the inquiry was going ahead, because its terms of reference ”cut to the heart of the decision to award the contract to SkyCity in the first place”.

“I raised concerns about the fairness and adequacy of the process, especially given SkyCity was offered a law change that gave it more pokies in exchange for building the centre, and the deal didn’t appear to consider the huge social and financial costs of increased gambling.”

Questions were raised about the deal’s fairness after it emerged Prime Minister John Key discussed the idea with SkyCity bosses in a private dinner meeting in November 2009, before the field was opened to expressions of interest from other possible bidders in March 2010.

The late Infratil founder Lloyd Morrison personally wrote to Key urging a proposal for a Public Private Partnership for the centre – similar to one his company had set up in Melbourne – but was ignored. …

Key had touted the deal as providing a $90m boost to the economy and generating 1000 jobs during its construction and 800 jobs to run the centre. However, those figures were last week challenged by the public release of a feasibility study done by hospitality and travel consultants Horwath, which showed the centre could provide as little as 319 long-term jobs.

Further coverage on ONE News:

ONE News Political Editor Corin Dann said the move was another “big set back” for the Government, following last week’s back down on cuts to the education sector.

“It’s a set back for the Prime Minister as well because it’s his ‘pet project’ really. “He’s always been up front about the fact that he thought SkyCity was the only operator that could do this in a way that wouldn’t cost the Government money.”

The enquiry is well justified. Key’s actions have the smell of law for sale. Metiria Turei is correct, the deal should now be put on hold while the enquiry goes ahead.

13 comments on “SkyCity enquiry”

  1. And the avalanche of bad news continues.  Makes you almost feel sorry for National and for Key.  Almost …

  2. mike e 2

    How many shares do the National front bench own in sky city.
    Kick backs Key

  3. Kotahi Tane Huna 3

    Is the little money trader about to discover that there are higher standards of oversight than he’s used to?

  4. tc 4

    ‘I’m starting to feel sorry for the guy’ don’t worry his expanded share porfolio that he knows nothing about will cheer him up.

    ‘Magic City’ set in Miami 1959 has the law enforcement label gambling as the number 1 biggest threat in terms of social decline and criminal activity….not much’s changed really and key want’s more of it.

  5. ad 5

    Hard to see the dwindling local investment community looking at New Zealand’s government and going:

    “I can do deals with these guys, because I am confident that my deal has more merit and outcompetes the other bids being put up.”

    Surprising how much of that investment community is now public: ACC, EQC, NZSuper, Kiwisaver, Kiwibank, state sector pensions. Because they are under high public scrutiny already with public funds, they have to be exceedingly transparent in the decision-making processes. Otherwise they get audited to hell.

    And for those final remaining loyal companies, like Infratil, who put bids in, the idea of a comparable B/C across everyone just went out the window. Who would you put money here with that corruption of process?

    Key’s move overstepped public sector probity. Probably fine if you were Richard Seddon or Robert Muldoon, but not now. It was the kind of move that would easily get the attention of the global anti-corruption indices.

  6. http://www.mynational.org.nz/MainMenu

    “The President and Board of the New Zealand National Party are delighted to invite you to the 76th Annual General Meeting and Conference. This year the conference is being held in the Sky City Convention Centre, Auckland and will officially commence at 8:00am on Saturday 21 July, concluding following the Prime Ministers speech at midday on Sunday 22nd July.

    Friday 20th July 2012

    Candidates College: The first meeting of the Class of 2014 is scheduled for 8:30am to 12:30pm followed by lunch from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. Marlborough Rooms 1&2 on Level 5 of the Convention Centre.

    Electorate Chairs: This annual meeting commences with lunch at 12:30pm and the meeting starting at 1:30pm in Marlborough Rooms 1&2 on Level 5 of the Conference Centre. (These times are approximate and subject to change)

    Online registrations will be available from the 12th June or print off the registration form below.

    Registrations are restricted to 2012 members only, so please ensure you have renewed your membership.”



    “The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), together with the Police, has joint responsibility for investigating a range of bribery and corruption matters that can include secret commissions, ‘kickbacks’ and other forms of unlawful payments. The payment of these types of bribes is not only illegal under New Zealand law – it is also a crime to pay bribes to public officials in other countries.

    While the SFO is the primary referral agency for cases of bribery or corruption, we jointly assess such matters with the Police. The cases we investigate are typically matters that involve complex financial trails or public officials. Other cases will usually be dealt with by the Police.
    Corruption indicators

    Any or all of the following may be indicative of corrupt or unlawful payments:

    Abnormal cash payments

    Pressure exerted for payments to be made urgently or ahead of schedule

    Payments made through a third party country (i.e. goods or services supplied to country A with payment to a shell company in country B)

    Payments made to a third party with no apparent connection with a commercial transaction

    Payments made to a private account or private address

    Abnormally high commission percentage paid to an agency (this may be split into two accounts for the same agent, often in different jurisdictions)

    Private meetings with public contractors or companies tendering for contracts

    Lavish gifts or other forms of hospitality

    Individuals who never take time off, even if ill, or insist on dealing with specific contractors themselves

    Unexpected or illogical decisions in accepting projects or contracts

    Unusually smooth process of cases where individuals do not have the expected level of knowledge or expertise

    Ignoring normal decision-making processes or delegated powers in specific cases

    Agreeing to contracts that aren’t favourable to the organisation

    Unexplained preference for certain contractors during a tendering period

    Avoidance of independent checks on tendering or contracting processes

    Bypassing normal tendering/contractors procedures

    Agreeing to invoices in excess of a contract without reasonable cause

    Missing documents or records of meetings or decisions ”



    ” Mr Joyce says the government is “confident the expressions of interest process was transparent and each application was assessed on its merit”.


    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’


    • mike e 6.1

      penny his and shonkeys body language tell a different story.
      Joyce was looking side ways while giving his interview.
      Today Key Uturns again and says they will wait till the AG does the Audit.
      Why would that be given they were Confident yesterday.

    • Bob 6.2

      Penny, read this http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10812899 then, as ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’ start chasing Shane Jones and the Labour party over the ‘Cash for Citizenship’ corruption.

      The Labour party (and The Standard’s for that matter) bleating over this whole process really is turning into a stunning own goal. It has shown Labour up as being an entirely idealist based party with no experience in real world business (Tender processes especially).

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        Best to chase the corporate corruption in power as a matter of priority, don’t you think?

  7. Bob 7

    Read the article I linked too, no corruption in power so move on to REAL corruption. Cash for citizenship, how much worse can you get!

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