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An eyesore for Auckland

Written By: - Date published: 3:28 pm, February 15th, 2015 - 77 comments
Categories: business, john key, scoundrels - Tags: , , ,

Steven Joyce has announced (because Key likes to stay clear of bad news) that SkyCity will not be seeking public funding for its convention center, so looks like it will be Key’s “eyesore”. This is mostly being described as a “backdown“, but there are other interpretations…

https://twitter.com/MatthewHootonNZ/status/566772292651192320

https://twitter.com/MatthewHootonNZ/status/566773531560513536

77 comments on “An eyesore for Auckland ”

  1. Sacha 1

    Keeping all the same concessions in exchange for a smaller building is *not* a backdown. Some media are so easily sucked in to narratives like the one built over the last week. Never learn.

    • Sacha 1.1

      And the Labour Party twitter feed joins the chorus of dunces claiming the casino backed down. Duh.

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.1

        Who could’ve guessed that SkyCity would rip the nation off by renegging on the quality of the Convention Centre, and that National would go along with it.

        It has surpised us all, I’m sure.

        • Murray Rawshark 1.1.1.1

          Who could’ve guessed that SkyCity would rip the nation off by reneging on the quality of the Convention Centre, and that National and Labour would go along with it.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1

            Not sure you can honestly interpret Little’s statement that way, given that he describes Sky’s threats as “a big issue”.

            • Murray Rawshark 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I haven’t seen what Little said. I’ve only seen a congratulatory email about people power.

        • Tracey 1.1.1.2

          THIS ^^^^^^

          AND were gifted primo auckland real estate in the form of the TVNZ site… some say worth $100m…

          All in all good work by Sky City and either incompetence by our guru govt or corruption

          • Sacha 1.1.1.2.1

            I recall reading $100m is the whole block, and the TVNZ land was sold to them for about $9m.

            • Tracey 1.1.1.2.1.1

              they got 2 pieces of land from TVNZ. The second was about 10.5m. I think the point the commentator i was listening to the other day was making that together that land is worth a heckova lot more than the price SkyCity paid

  2. Skinny 2

    When asked what about the eyesore on Auckland’s sky line Key will mutter something
    that makes no sense.

    When the media ask Morrison the silver tongued Aussie SkyCity boss, he will be struggling to contain himself from crying with laughter and reply;

    “It’s not like a convention centre the size of a shoe box is going to be a blight on anyone’s sky line, say for Mr & Mrs Sewer Rat….God I love doing business with you Kiwi’s.”

    Sorry about double post this belongs here tho.

  3. vto 3

    Good. Build a smaller one. Live within means. This is the correct thing. F#%k the flashy shit, just do it with some style.

    Selling the houses of the poor and giving money to a casino was alway so so very wrong ….

  4. Good to see that Andrew Little has spotted the downsizing issue:

    We did it. The government has buckled under pressure, with tens of thousands of Kiwis up and down the country forcing it to back down on plans to bail out SkyCity’s Convention Centre.

    Today, after almost 30,000 of you signed the petition against the bailout, the government and SkyCity have reverted back to their original plan and the Convention Centre will be redesigned to fit the original budget. Together, we’ve made a real difference.

    National’s backdown shows the power of what we can do by working together. Over the course of the last week, we’ve forced the government to move its position from talking about spending up to $140m on bailing out the centre, to it being their ‘least preferred option’ and now to ruling out any public money.

    There are still some big issues with the deal. National promised New Zealand a world-class, iconic convention centre – now they’re talking about a downgrade. We’ll keep holding the government’s feet to the fire on this, but right now we should all feel proud of this campaign victory.

    All the best,

    Andrew Little
    Labour Leader

    • McGrath 4.1

      One of those rare occasions where voters from both the Left and Right were united in condemning any cash to SkyCity.

      Good to see.

  5. Penny Bright 5

    Do you REALLY think Sky City would have walked away from their (in my considered opinion) BIG, FAT ‘money-laundering’ factory, in the heart of Auckland City?

    Seriously?

    Penny Bright

  6. CnrJoe 6

    So Skycity get a hotel (?) and Key gets a ‘win’.
    This game of a ‘horrible’ scenario which gives plenty of room to dial ‘back’ to a less horrible scenario which IS STILL a horrible scenario but can be spun to seem like a win win.
    6 years of this. Like John Keys nose tug.

  7. sabine 7

    define ugly

    pretty much any building apart from the pre 1940 ones are butt ugly. It seems that the only buildings build down town are ugly, if they are not ugly they don’t get approved.

    Sky City should be very pleased, they get to put a concrete slab shoe box convention centre and get to keep their extra pokie machines.

    suckers

    • Sookie 7.1

      Agreed. Central Auckland is full of cheap ass ugly buildings. Why not one more? NZ is full of cities and towns in stunning settings with truly shitty urban design. Whangarei, most of Nelson, central Auckland and so on…

      • idlegus 7.1.1

        dunedin has been in decline since the goldrush, kept us some wicked architecture. whangarei used to have a few old wooden & limestone building in its city, not any more.

  8. Ffloyd 8

    So just like that sky city have backed down. I smell a rat. It was too quick and too easy. Skulduggery afoot imo.

  9. logie97 9

    So we get an enlarged casino that we need like a hole in the head.
    So we get a convention centre that we need like a hole in the head.
    Key gets what he wants.
    Skycity gets what it wants.
    …and Labour are now hailing this as a victory????

    • Halfcrown 9.1

      I couldn’t have said it better.
      It is heartening to see there are others out there that can see through all the fucking bullshit.

      • Rodel 9.1.1

        Hooray for heroic Key and Joyce being ‘tough negotiators’. Sighs of relief that we don’t have to pay the $130 or so million extra for the casino appendage convention centre..
        Whew! aren’t Key and Joyce looking after our tax payers money …!(sarc)
        New media and oh no surely not Labour? hailing it as a triumph.

        Joyce coming out as the man to get things done..guess what- a prelude to his ascension and Johns quiet departure. Voters swallowing the bullshit.Well done nats.

    • tc 9.2

      Agreed the deal has a corrupt stench about it from the dodgy tender right through to the TVNZ land and this FFS Labour so much for being an effective opposition and using this to remind people of the shonkey saga overseen by the dealer in chief.

      They should be whacking key and Joyce with this, whatever next a major leaflet campaign.

  10. Colonial Rawshark 10

    I think that it is up to the architects to make sure that NZ gets a good result.

    Who has been given the design contract?

  11. fisiani 11

    The weeping and gnashing of teeth can be heard from the Labour Party as John Key and Steven Joyce play hardball with Sky City and we end up with a convention centre employing 800 people and injecting $47,000,000 into the economy.

    • Weepus beard 11.1

      I’m unsure what releases from the Labour party you have been reading. Perhaps the ones in your head?

      The Labour party have taken a positive line on this. It’s a win for the people of New Zealand, but that they have to be alert if the government tries to shift the goalposts again.*

      * That should read, when the government tries to shift the goalposts again.

      • phillip ure 11.1.1

        how is sky casino getting to build a smaller/shittier convention centre..

        ..and still walk away with their extra pokies..

        ..how the fuck is this in any way a ‘win’..?

        ..except for them..?

        ..nationalise the bastards..!

        • Weepus beard 11.1.1.1

          They’ve won the battle and Andrew Little has said,

          We’ll keep holding the government’s feet to the fire on this, but right now we should all feel proud of this campaign victory

          Didn’t you get the email?

          I’m prepared to accept that it is a victory in this battle. The war, as you say, is another story.

          • phillip ure 11.1.1.1.1

            next campaign:..lobby/push for full-nationalising of gambling/casinos..

            ..and then have a fall-back/comprimise position of partial-nationalisation..

            ..51% will do…

            ..nationalise the bastards..!

            • Weepus beard 11.1.1.1.1.1

              While it doesn’t seem like an industry that can lose money because, by definition, “the house always wins”, I’m against government involvement and promotion of gambling activities in any form.

              Lotto and horse racing is bad enough.

              • care to think that thru a bit more..?

                ..u wd rather have all of that money sucked off offshore..?

                ..if nationalised/partially-nationalised..

                ..those profits stay here..are spent here..

                ..and i know in an ideal/perfect world it wd be best to have no gambling..

                ..that ain’t gonna happen..

                ..so why not face that reality…

                ..and act accordingly..

                ..in the best interests of society as a whole..

                ..to continue doing the same thing..and hoping for a different outcome..

                ..is a definition of madness..

                ..eh..?

    • Wynston 11.2

      Fisiani, I note with interest that you have such strong convictions that you have to hide behind a nom de plume.!

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 11.3

      I draw Fisi’s attention to the following TV3 item.
      “Convention centre jobs figures disputed”

      “The Government’s figures for the number of jobs a national convention centre would generate are much higher than experts estimate.

      Prime Minister John Key has been saying the centre would create 900 construction jobs and running it would provide employment for 800.

      But a feasibility study by hospitality and travel consultants Howarth Ltd, commissioned by the Government, estimates it would create between 318 and 479 long-term jobs.

      There’s also doubt about the 900 construction jobs, the New Zealand Herald reports.

      Howarth director Stephen Hamilton says the 318 to 479 estimate is for the whole economy, not just the centre.

      “Some will be at the convention centre, some will be in the hotels and some will be additional taxi drivers,” he said.
      The company’s report says 150 construction jobs could be created each year over a five-year period, making a total of 750, but they would be filled by people already employed on other projects.

      Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/convention-centre-jobs-figures-disputed-2012060509#ixzz3RnRC7Yrd

      • Pascals bookie 11.3.1

        And that was before they shrunk the centre. Whole point was for it to be bigger and better and top notch to attract the flashest big spenders. So those dodgy numbers are now defunct, and anyone who cites them is a hack.

    • North 11.4

      Well that’s what they said FusedAss @ 11 – 800 jobs yeah right – wanna bet whatever the figure is the majority will be zero hour slavery contracts. And if they made a fuck-up on the costings from day one what’s this business about $47 mill’. How reliable’s that ? People gotta wanna travel half the globe to sit in a concrete cube in Hobson Street first. We should all be happy for FusedAss though. Being that the EyeSoreCC will be an outpost of Planet Key (where there are no toilets) FusedAss’s all fixed up with a permanent job as many hours as FusedAss wants – Official EyeSoreCC Toilet Roll. “Oh, John tastes SO lovely !” wipe the chin.

      FusedAss Fucking Nutter with a crush on the headmaster !

    • Skinny 11.5

      It will be no surprise if someone lays a complaint tomorrow against both parties to the SFO for manipulation of SkyCity share price.

      • phillip ure 11.5.1

        there was some serious money made there..(value up by $77 million on that promised-gift news..

        ..buying beforehand..and selling at peak wd be the obvious first insider-trading pattern to look for..)

        ..there should be a forensic examination of the share-buying patterns before this surge..

        ..corruption isn’t always suitcases stuffed with used notes..

        • Skinny 11.5.1.1

          Absolutely Phil, classic pump and dump number. So the share price drops on the non government chip in. Joyce has set another trap by holding off announcing 10℅ pokie/table reduction, both to allow Key to drop this in the house. Also by not announcing today SC share price won’t drop more than Sky may expect.

          Hmm now who is has a reasonable knowledge of share trading?

          • tc 11.5.1.1.1

            A potential share trading investigation based on insider knowledge would not have the beneficiaries quaking in their boots.

            NZX is part of the cosy boys network and after tranzrail the cronies know they can do as they please……as they had done up to that point anyway.

    • Rodel 11.6

      fis
      precisely as the script was written.
      Sad that Labour and kiwis are so susceptible to the charades.
      Well done key.Joyce Sky City.

    • Lloyd 11.7

      I’ll believe that the centre will employ 800 people when it happens and not one day sooner. I also believe that if if employs 800 people one day the next it might employ 20. Conventions are most unlikely to be queued up to use the centre continually. The centre is likely to be an empty building a good part of the time, and if it is holding New Zealand events, the jobs are likely to have been taken from some other place where there is likely to be a loss of jobs with the final result being no new jobs. Only if the centre brings in foreign conventions will there be new jobs.

      I suspect anyone who can guarantee there will be a steady supply of foreign conventions lining up to use the facility is like the banker who can guarantee the exchange rate on the NZ$ next year – in other words a con-man.

    • mac1 11.8

      Fisiani, this is such a victory for National that ‘Honest John’ Key has magnanimously ‘jolly rogered’ his faithful lieutenant, Steven Joyce, by making him walk the plank for him.

      You say “and injecting $47,000,000 into the economy.”

      I’d prefer to say taking more profit than that in a year’s out of addicts, gamblers and the poor. As mickeysavage says in the Post above, they tried to take even more cash out of the young, succeeded in removing millions out of the productive economy and nearly succeeded in pirating another $140 million off the taxpayers.

  12. Tracey 12

    Tiso nails it again…

  13. Neil 13

    What does a $402 million eyesore look like?

    • Pascals bookie 13.1

      Ask Key, it’s his line.

    • that ‘eyesore’ claim by key was a shark-jump of some magnitude..

      ..it must be now clear to the dimmest national party voter..

      ..that key is a serial-liar..(not a good look in a prime minister..)..

      ..and that he will try on the most outrageous examples of bullshit..

      ..a ‘$402 million eyesore’..indeed..!

      • Hanswurst 13.2.1

        that ‘eyesore’ claim by key was a shark-jump of some magnitude..

        I doubt that, but it’s further evidence that Kay is neither especially astute nor especially clever. Once again, he offers up a stick to be beaten mercilessly and repeatedly with, and the MSM largely says, “No thanks”.

        • phillip ure 13.2.1.1

          i am talking about in the eyes of his true-believers..

          ….and i stand by that call..

          ..they are the ones he has shark-jumped for..

          ..imagine how this has gone down in gore..?

          ..(they’ll be harrumphing up and down the main street..)

  14. RedBaronCV 14

    Sky City get the extra pokie machines, a site owned by taxpayers at a bargain price, and in return they build a convention centre about the size of your average dunny that never attracts any business so after a couple of years it gets taken over to be part of the hotel??
    Watch for some serious downsizing and price inflation on the convention centre.

    • Exactly. These monopolistic misery-peddlers make me sick.
      Danyl at the Dim-Post has run an excellent series on this issue:

      https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/win-by-not-playing/

      Firstly, it is widely acknowledged by pretty much every independent economic analysis of convention centers you can find that they’re a massive scam that construction companies and politicians perpetuate on taxpayers. The promised benefits never match the tax write-offs and other public costs these companies impose, and in the case of casinos they’re completely wiped out by the negative impacts of the business.

      Secondly, this reference to regional competitors is very meaningful, because this is a strategy that casinos and convention center construction companies practice all over the world. They play regional (and in this case national) tourist destinations off each other.

      https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/on-hooton-on-sky-city/

      Key and Joyce will never be able to out-negotiate Sky City because of the massive asymmetry in resources between the two negotiating partners. This isn’t a new problem (although this government seems to think it is). The problem of how the state and the private sector interact in free market democracies has been with us for a while now, and solutions to all of these problems of influence-peddling and conflicts of interest and information asymmetry have been solved and implemented in New Zealand for several decades. We have the SOE model and the State Services Commission and laws and processes and the Auditor General and basically a whole fucking public service to avoid this exact situation which Key and his Ministers have blundered into. This disaster stems from the right’s contempt for the public service. They’re just bureaucrats. Glide time. It’s all walk-shorts and red tape. The idea that those hated bureaucrats were actually an apparatus designed to protect Key, Joyce et al and prevent them from making a huge, predictable and easily preventable mistake wouldn’t have occurred to them.

  15. Richard 15

    National / Sky City remind me of Cadbury’s…..no price rise, but less chocolate

  16. rawshark-yeshe 16

    and hasn’t the timing of it all distracted from the by-election up north and the reasons for it. Perfect panda posturing by pinocchio prime minister .. oh look ! Over there …..

    and share price manipulation as well !

    sigh.

  17. Ed 17

    Radio News has just talked about the decision meaning that Sky City will receive no money from the government for constructing the convention centre. I had thought that they were receiving both money (for marketing or running costs?) and benefits in kind (licenses that needed special legislation), and favourable treatment on purchase of land(??).

    Does anyone have a quick summary of what money (and value) they are receiving for this convention centre /gambling centre?) that will now be an eyesore instead of a “world-class convention centre)?

    The description surely be that they will not be receiving _more_ money!

  18. Clemgeopin 18

    John Key’s main profession before was being a foreign exchange currency gambler.

    In this Sky City casino skulduggery, Key has been a BIG loser and in the process, he has made New Zealand also a big loser in several ways.

    Allowing Sky City to renege on the agreed deal in which National promised New Zealand ‘a world-class and iconic convention centre’, in return for hundreds of extra gaming tables and machines as well as practically gifting the TVNZ land shows that Sky City has outwitted this dumb government hook, line and sinker. (unless it was a joint secret plan all along)

    The honorable and correct thing to do now are the following:

    * The convention centre should be built to the exact specification, design and standard as originally agreed upon by both the parties. I hope Key, Joyce and this government’s stupid negotiating team did not even manage to get such details during the initial signing of the deal/contract.

    * Any RISE in cost to the construction and other new expenses should be solely borne by Sky City who MUST keep to the previous agreement completely.

    * If they refuse to agree to this and insist on building the centre with a 10% reduction in size, quality, facilities etc, as Joyce has indicated, then the government should immediately

    (a) Cancel the deal.
    (b) Cancel the extra gambling tables and machines agreed upon previously.
    (c) Take back the TVNZ land/building at the exact price it was sold to Sky City.
    (d) Reallocate as before, the machines that were taken off from clubs etc.
    (e) Monitor all kinds of gambling more seriously and increase fines for misdemeanors by the operators.
    (f) In order to reduce the financial and social evil brought upon individuals and families by the scourge of gambling, legislate a programme to gradually reduce each year, all kinds of gambling in the country, not necessarily to eliminate it completely, but to reduce it drastically.
    (g) The tenders for the Convention centre should be called for again to see if some respectable entity is still keen (as they were before) to construct and make it a viable business for them. Shy City should be barred from this tender process. If none come forward, then the Government should build one, either as a valuable/profitable state asset, or by offering a public/private partnership through shares, 51% to 49%.

    • Clemgeopin 18.1

      Whoops, Correction:

      Fifth Paragraph, First *, second sentence:

      I wonder if Key, Joyce and this government’s stupid negotiating team did not even insist on getting those basic but crucial details during the initial signing of the deal/contract.

  19. Kenya 19

    Kind of bizarre to see people in this thread attacking the labour party here. Labour led and won this campaign and mobilised tens of thousands of people for it. That’s something we’ve not seen in a while.

    Yes, of course they’re going to claim the victory of stopping a taxpayer bailout and they’re going to congratulate their supporters. But they’ve also clearly said the govt has reneged on its promise with the talk of downsizing and they’ll be (to use Little’s words) ‘holding their feet to the fire over this’.

    I sometimes think commenters on this site are like beaten dogs. So expecting weakness and incompetence from Labour that your responses have become reflexive and counter-productive.

    • sabine 19.1

      this.

      there is no war to be won, only battles.

      and this battle mobilised a few ten thousand people to say no.

      That in little NZ is not a bad feat considering that there was no time, and the petition was mainly circulated on FB and by email.

      so there….every now and then we should breathe …..and again breathe

      • felix 19.1.1

        Let’s be clear on this though, the govt’s decision had nothing to do with Labour or lefties.

        It was opposition from the right that forced their hand. Their own supporters were against it.

        • Sabine 19.1.1.1

          the government was told in no uncertain terms by citizens of the right and the left that this is not going to be business as usual.

          and as such Mr. Little has been right, this battle was one by New Zealanders that refused to rubber stamp the activities of this current national government.

          so yeah….well done us on the left, the middle, the right and non-affiliated.

          edited….:)

          • felix 19.1.1.1.1

            Sure.

            Except that on the left we protest about this govt all the time and they couldn’t give a damn.

            The difference this time is that their own supporters protested.

            I think you’re mistaking the govt listening to their supporters for the govt giving a damn what the left think.

            • Clemgeopin 19.1.1.1.1.1

              Nevertheless, the left can and should make their protestations clearly and strongly in order to try and enlighten the people what the issue is all about and thus influence the thinking of people.

              If we don’t protest and make our views well, then it will be our failure and this nasty government’s easy win.

        • mac1 19.1.1.2

          “it was opposition from the right that forced their hand”

          This good point raises for me the whole issue of how this government operates. It seems to be government by “what we can get away with”.

          I’t’s driven seemingly not by honourable principles but by ideas which are floated to see how the public and especially supporters react, and then proceed after focus group style evaluations.

          In other words, let’s do what we can get away with while retaining popularity.

          The technique has other benefits in that the ‘opposition’ spends energy protesting, protesters such as in Auckland can be vilified, and the government is seen to be reasonable as it withdraws from unpopular positions. Also, the PM gets to get the credit where there is advantage and lesser lights in the government get to do the backdowns maintaining Key’s popularity.

          The Left has to find a counter to this.

          Less than before. though, but still we are getting ideas floated from the left which are too complicated or fraught with easy and/or deliberate distortion. For example, Maori sovereignty is a recent case.

          • Sabine 19.1.1.2.1

            what makes you think that it not always was like this. Essentially democracy only works if politians and citizens work together. The left and the right float their ideas or policies, and the public votes accordingly.

            However, it says a lot of our citizens and their ideas of new zealand considering that they have supported National almost lock stop. If some of these enablers and voters are now having second thoughts or are comming out of their rosy bubble realising that Nationals shit looks like shit and stinks like shit, than that is good.

            Will they vote left or opposition next time? Don’t know. Will they abstain voting next time because they can’t support whomever is supposed to lead National, i have no idea.

            but this time, in this particular case, the public has spoken, on the left and the right, National was forced to drop the ball and go home, tail between legs.

            And that is what labour has to do, inform about the ongoing business as clearly the media will not or only sometimes do their job, and continue to speak to New Zealanders instead of only trying to appeal to Left voters.

            There was a million people that did not vote last election and I know a few of them, most were male, most were white, most were middle aged, and most could not be arsed. It would be good if we could get them to go to the booth next election cycle.

  20. ScottGN 20

    It’s not often a Cabinet Minister calls a press conference on a Sunday afternoon. That, combined with the speed of the u-turn last week suggests the polling on this was not only bad for the government but was getting worse. And then this morning Key comes out and directly attacks Labour over the issue on Morning Report which I reckon gives us further insights into how the polling has played out. A really good effort from Little and Labour.
    Also, in spite of all the columns last year (Armstrong, Watkins, Small et al) assuring us that while the deal was a bit dodgy NZers didn’t really care that much, the size and breadth of the backlash indicates otherwise.

    • sabine 20.1

      30 thousand cared to sign a petition, and another few thousand cared enough to participate in a phone poll for TV 3 Campbell Live.

      Now that is quite a few people that ‘don’t’ care 🙂

      • greywarshark 20.1.1

        @ sabine
        This is part of ScottGN’s comment –
        “Also, in spite of all the columns last year (Armstrong, Watkins, Small et al) assuring us that while the deal was a bit dodgy NZers didn’t really care that much,
        the size and breadth of the backlash indicates otherwise.”

        Which says that media reports which indicated that NZs were okay with the deal were wrong and the backlash indicates otherwise, Which you have repeated in your reply.

        It is easy to skim a comment and get the gist but not the full meaning. We end up making pointless replies to misunderstood points when that happens.

  21. Ovid 21

    Chris Roberts from the Tourism Industry Association said on Morning Report that the convention centre would draw 33,000 visitors a year.

    Given that its capacity will be 3,000, that’s only 11 conferences per year. I doubt that’s enough to keep it in the black.

    • Sabine 21.1

      which centres will be loosing those 33,000 visitors or are these NEW visitors?

      Was that mentioned at all? or was this again a number pulled out of thin air to support this most important business venture?

      • greywarshark 21.1.1

        There was mention that there was a market for larger conventions than those of 1,000 presently available in this country. The tourism guy on Radnz said there was a big convention market and the bigger size centre would bring in $millions to Auckland and on that basis it sounded viable.

        There are these bigger convention places in Australia so they know already about how viable these are. So having a look at their profitability and use would be useful for us to judge. And thinking how long the present bubble of feverish spend up and fossil fuel extravagance will continue, will they get payback before the inevitable becomes unavoidably visible?

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  • Speech to LGNZ Conference
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  • NZ-PNG Sign Statement of Partnership
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  • Christchurch Learning Community Hubs supporting ethnic families
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  • Government consults on freshwater farm plan
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  • Prime Minister's Speech to NZIIA Annual Conference
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