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The Sky City Convention Centre

Written By: - Date published: 7:41 am, December 23rd, 2014 - 81 comments
Categories: john key, national, Public Private Partnerships, same old national, Steven Joyce - Tags:

National is in big political trouble over the Sky City deal.  The pre christmas timing of the news that there has been a surge in the anticipated construction cost is evidence of this.  The project was originally costed at $402 million.  This could now be $530 million.

The reasons given for the increase are recent and expected construction cost inflation together with the construction of a new five star hotel.  Apparently in July 2013 when the deal was signed no one could have predicted that the Christchurch Earthquakes would have caused pressure on construction costs.

Yesterday morning a belligerent Nigel Morrison said that the Government would have to help plug the funding gap and that the shareholders “were not going to make a donation”.  Stephen Joyce then muddied the water by saying that Auckland Council should pick up some of the expense.  Given recent pressures on the City’s budgets and Len Brown’s desire to cap increases the answer is unlikely.

The response of the right wing on Council to this proposal will be interesting.  Already Cameron Brewer has said that a Council subsidy should be considered for the revised project.  What is it with the right and Sky City?  It speaks volumes that this Government will not fund a transformational transport project but will increase gambling and the attendant misery and hardship to fund a convention centre.

And why would the city fund something that would be in direct competition with a convention centre owned by the city?  Especially after a majority of councillors have already expressed opposition to the deal, even if this was symbolic?

Morrison is well known for his belligerent approach to negotiations.  He previously threatened to have the convention centre built elsewhere if Parliament did not pass the poke concession law.

No doubt the terms of the agreement will now be scrutinised to see who is responsible for the increase and change.  The small print does say that the total construction budget cannot increase without the consent of both parties.  It also says (clause 4.1) that the contract is conditional on both parties approving preliminary, concept and approval designs.  Unless these conditions have already been satisfied Sky City can walk away from the deal.  But so can the Government.  Or at least it could if it had not invested so much political capital in the project.

It is interesting to review some of the comments made about the deal last year and compare these with what is happening now.  It is clear that the Auditor General’s criticisms of the transaction are ominously accurate.  Released back in 2013 the report criticised a lack of documentation and analysis for the procurement process.

Key thought the report exonerated his government.  Such unmitigated optimism in the face of reality is a trademark of his leadership.  His views were in stark contrast with the views of pretty well every commentator.  Bryce Edwards set out the following selection:

Commentators are refusing to let the SkyCity scandal lie, with economist Rod Oram now labelling the Auditor-General’s report a ‘whitewash’ – see: No way to run a country. John Armstrong is also harshly critical of the Government’s response to the Auditor-General’s report – see: Nats battle hard to tame report. And Tim Watkin says that it all reflects a modern modus operandi in which only results matter, not process – see: Pokies & smokies: When the means and ends don’t meet

Armstrong’s description at the time was particularly appropriate and particularly scathing:

Verging on banana republic kind of stuff without the bananas – that is the only conclusion to draw from the deeply disturbing report into the shonkiness surrounding the Government’s selection of SkyCity as the preferred builder and operator of a national convention centre.

Rod Oram was also highly critical about what had happened:

Whitewash is the only word to describe the deputy auditor-general’s report on the Government’s relationship with SkyCity.

The report dumps all the blame on civil servants. But its description of events makes it very clear the prime minister, his office, his Tourism Ministry, and the Ministry of Economic Development spent a year trying to stitch up a convention centre deal with SkyCity before any other interested party got a glance in.

By doing so, John Key and his officials subverted the normal processes required for government procurement. These are designed to ensure solutions are canvassed widely and the best option chosen. As a result we’ll get the convention centre SkyCity wants to build on terms highly favourable to it, which may not be the convention centre New Zealand needs.

This latest development is just what the Government did not want.  It reopens a festering sore where legislation was given away for money and an increase in human misery used to fund a convention centre.  And the one sided nature of the negotiation and the slipshop process meant that deficiencies in the agreement were almost inevitably going to occur.  This attempted grab of further money is a stark reminder of how shonky the process was.

Sky City is following the rulebook established by Warner Brothers and Rio Tinto and Chorus.  Threaten to walk away and this Government will open up the cheque book …

81 comments on “The Sky City Convention Centre ”

  1. The government should walk away and start all over again.

    The thing that really stunned me yesterday was listening to Mr Joyce’s lecture on the radio about how the government could help SkyCity cut costs by using better procurement methods – competitive tendering etc. So galling from someone who got us into this mess by completely ignoring the principles of competitive procurement.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Very good point.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1

        And the MBIE report ‘ dumped just before Xmas’ to hide the colossal disorganization within Joyces own department shows Joyce and his people shouldnt go near any project.

        Its amazing that he talks this bullshit and they let him get away with it. Its a $400 mill project. There are dozens of experienced people that would be working on the tendering and design process for the owner.

        Maybe this is setting the ground work for the contract to be let ‘offshore’ with a likely Chinese builder to bring their own people in ?

    • Ovid 1.2

      Unlike Warners and Rio Tinto, there are no lay-offs at stake if they shut the deal down right now. Shareholders might be pissed that the new casino licenses are withdrawn, but fuck em.

      • Tracey 1.2.1

        Yeah but what penalty clause is there if it is cancelled? The whole contract favours sky city so why wouldnt termination? There clearly isnt a clause for possible overruns, which is remarkable, if true.

        I wonder if the govt will offer to bring forward its contribution to the CRL in return for we ratepayers pcking up this extra amount.

        Given the abject failure of MBIE and Joyces failure to foresee cost overruns, he needs to be sacked or replaced because it obviously isnt like running a radio station, afterall.

        • Ovid 1.2.1.1

          Section 11.9 of the agreement is pretty explicit:

          11.9 SKYCITY will be responsible for all the costs of construction in all respects. Such costs will include all the costs of the Building Works, SKYCITY’s consultants and advisers, the Land, the Approvals, and all other costs associated with or arising out of the construction of the NZICC incurred directly or indirectly by SKYCITY.

          Further, under section 9.1(a):

          …the Total Construction Cost will not exceed the Total Construction Budget except with the agreement of both parties

          And in the interpretation section:

          Total Construction Budget means $402 million less the Land Value.

          So the Crown would have to agree to increase the total construction cost, otherwise Skycity must suck it up.

          • Tracey 1.2.1.1.1

            Thanks Ovid.Given rio tinto and warners as precedent why wouldnt sky city try it on. Given that clause I would be telling them to adhere to the contract and foot the bill or tell them to indicate they are canceling the contract and take the argument to the Court for payment of damages to the government. THEN take the high damages award and set up a fund to help organisations treat problem gamblers.

          • Tracey 1.2.1.1.2

            What about clause 2.3 and the interpretation of “reasonable”?

            And clause 11 which relates to the building works contract and cost adjustments.

            11.40+ seems of particular relevance cos it suggests if costs are higher the design can be altered to keep within the budget

            It is 400+ pages and i havent read it all but it would be useful to see the building works conteact too. If we are not at building works contract stage then the contract may have provision for adjustment of the costs and crown contribution but I havent read the whole thing.

    • Murray Rawshark 1.3

      That’s all the explanation necessary for a section of voters that can’t remember past the last press release or photo op. They’ll be thinking about how a competent minister trying to do his best for the country has been let down by a foreign corporation.

  2. Skinny 2

    Joyce’s dirty SkyCity deal sounds like its heading down the same path as the previous America’s Cup funding debacle. From a firm NO to a maybe to further taxpayer funding, on to granting funding.

    SkyCity should be told to get lost for any shortfall funding, from both the Taxpayer & Ratepayers. No one should be surprised by this tactic employed by SkyCity. They were never happy with the deal as they wanted more pokie machines from the get go. All their doing here is using leverage to get what they originally sort, something any fool knew would happen.

    The gullible public are being played by this jack up between SkyCity and National.

    • Brendon Harre 2.1

      The government has all the power here. They just need to stand up to the bullying behaviour. Maybe if Steven Joyce found some reason why SkyCity was in non-compliance with its use of all those ‘pokie’ machines then SkyCity would be less belligerent.

      Any deal requires goodwill, if Sky City is acting in bad faith then it should expect other parties to act accordingly.

      • Skinny 2.1.1

        The Auckland City centre is a dog and has been dying for years. The convention centre and hotel will bring life to the retail & restaurant sector. Add the likes of the proposed rail loop and rail corridor upgrade, with new stations with shopping complex’s, and further hotels mooted to be built, you can see the leverage that both SkyCity and the National Government will lump on the Auckland City Council. Ultimately the ratepayer will be forced to stump up if they want the convention centre dream kept alive. Either way SkyCity are in the box seat to get a handout and don’t they know it.

        • karol 2.1.1.1

          The CBD is not just about commerce. It has art galleries, maritime museum, library, Aotea Centre, Town Hall. The CBD should be a community centre, not a centre for corporate commerce siphoning off wealth from the common good.

        • Paul 2.1.1.2

          Improve public transport to the CBD
          Simple.

        • AmaKiwi 2.1.1.3

          @ Skinny

          No international organization is going to pass up Las Vegas and hold their convention in NZ.
          Look at what we do NOT offer:

          Close to major populations where the conventioneers might come from.
          Low airfares and short travel time.
          Brilliant weather 12 months a year.
          Exciting nightlife, shopping, restaurants, beaches.
          World class entertainment, historic, sporting, and cultural attractions.

          This was always about SkyCity getting more gambling profits from us, not overseas visitors.

      • Tracey 2.1.2

        Have you seen the contract, is that what makes you think the government has all the power?

        • Brendon Harre 2.1.2.1

          No Tracey I have no specific information. I studied the economics of contracts years ago. The thing about written contracts is that it is impossible to cover every possible eventuality for two reasons. Firstly the contracts would be a million pages long and inconceivably complicated and secondly because not all eventualities are known before hand.

          What that means is that the best contracts are the ones done in good faith. A honest handshake that neither party will take advantage of the other no matter what happens in the future.

          Why I say that the government has all the power is that if the other party starts to act in bad faith then the government is not powerless to respond. All sorts of government agencies could start to investigate Sky City…… with the clear message of if you want to play hardball then so can we…..

          • Tracey 2.1.2.1.1

            Well, there is little new under the sun Brendon, so construction contracts and other commercial contracts are largely template based with tweaks to cover the situation specific matters. They do not need to be a “million” pages and cover all of the likely and some unlikely scenarios. Cost overrun and increases in costs are not unforeseen when contracts are drafted.

            I agree that honest intent solves a lot of problems but this is a government with no such moral compass and nor has SkyCity.

            If you were able to OIA the lead up to this contract, the drafts, the final and the legal bills, I wager (pun intended) you will find they did indeed try to cover all eventualities.

            • Brendon Harre 2.1.2.1.1.1

              I think the comment of ‘government with no such moral compass’ is the point.

              If the government didn’t approach the negotiations in an honest and upfront manner clearly communicating what the expectations were is it any wonder that we end up with the outcome of Sky City blackmailing the taxpayer or ratepayer?

            • aaron 2.1.2.1.1.2

              There is no construction contract anywhere that tries to cover all eventualities. Trying to get the contract documentation (drawings and specifications) to a state of near perfection would double the cost of the design fee for starters, then you can’t know what state the ground is in until you start digging either and that’s before you’ve even built anything.

              Also, large construction firms have people who’s job it is to find all the mistakes in the contract documents so they can charge for ‘extras’. There will be a contingency sum allowed for but whether the extras stay within that sum is anyone’s guess.

              I once heard about a building in downtown Auckland where they discovered an underground cavern well below the ground. They didn’t know it was there until a driven pile ‘popped’ through into the top of it. I can’t remember now whether they had to fill the cavern with concrete or if they found another way of doing the foundations but I bet no one had allowed for that eventuality.

              And this is all based around a costs estimate that might have been ‘massaged’ for political purposes.

              • tracey

                You make some great points.

                I concur with your second paragraph. My father was once employed by Fletchers for just that purpose.

                However wrong costing is an obvious eventuality and if the crown didnt properly contract for that eventuality with protection for taxpayer as paramount, there need to be major sackings from Joyce down.

                There is no suggestion to date that the costing variations can be laid at the feet of the kind of problems you refer to. In fairness to the Government, on the face of it they have left the full risk with SC but I have grave doubts Sc would have agreed and dont intend reading the whole contract, not before christmas anyway.

  3. karol 3

    Excellent analysis, micky. What is this “freemarket, small government” ideology whereby a powerful corporate demands funding from the state and taxpayers?

    And what does the Taxpayers union have to say about it?

    • veutoviper 3.1

      Here is the Taxpayers Union’s (aka the ‘Tax Evaders Onion’) press release:

      http://t.co/zGXaIOPrtE or if that one doesn’t work, here

      http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=c86359d14575615d6ae8c2b60&id=04bae1ddea

      As it is relatively short, the release in full

      GOVERNMENT SHOULD SAY NO TO CHRISTMAS SHAKE-DOWN
      22 DECEMBER 2014
      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on the Government not to bail-out Sky City for expected cost overruns of the National Convention Centre. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

      “The whole idea of the SkyCity deal was that Auckland and New Zealand would get an international class convention centre, paid for by SkyCity, in return for various concessions to the casino. It was never suggested or intended that the taxpayer or ratepayer would have to shoulder any of the burden. If SkyCity underestimated the cost of the centre when they signed the deal, that’s their problem.”

      “If the centre is so important to Auckland then central and local government should have funded it in the first place. The fact that they didn’t suggests it is a nice-to-have not a must-have. If it is a nice-to-have then perhaps we can do without it after all – especially if taxpayers or ratepayers money is now required.”

      “The SkyCity deal shows precisely what’s wrong with corporate welfare. Now that the Government has spent so much political capital in getting the project off the ground, SkyCity has it over a barrel. Its management will know that the Government would rather throw more money at it than risk the political embarrassment of failure.

      “Unfortunately for taxpayers, it’s a recipe for an expensive Christmas.”

      ENDS

      ENQUIRIES:
      Jordan Williams

      While calling for a No, the final paragraph suggests that they still think the Government will go ahead and cave in to save political embarrassment.

      • Tracey 3.1.1

        Let if fall over. Chchch, wellington and queenstown all haveconsent to build international convention centre.

        Our provincial divisions will cripple us. Imagine if you will that NZ were a city of 4.1m people. How many international convention centres would that city need? How many world class sport stadiums?

        Ratepayers are being crippled by competition between cities…

      • fender 3.1.2

        I’m sure a donation to Chaos & Mayhem Ltd. would see Williams sing a different tune..

        • Tracey 3.1.2.1

          How do you know they havent chosen this topic to pretend to be even handed cos they know the outcome in advance…

          • fender 3.1.2.1.1

            No amount of pretending will ever convince most people that Farrar or Williams are even handed. Their claim to be a “politically independent grassroots campaign” is just a sick joke that most would call false advertising.

      • AmaKiwi 3.1.3

        Andrew Little had an excellent reply (quoting for the NZ Herald):

        “The Government should not be asking New Zealanders to stump up extra cash to bail out John Key and Steven Joyce’s dodgy SkyCity convention centre deal.

        “A deal is a deal is a deal. SkyCity offered to build the convention centre. If they can’t come up with what they now say is a shortfall in costs that’s their problem. Taxpayers should not be asked to dig into their pockets… John Key needs to rule out any public hand-out right now.”

        Precise and direct. Well done, Andrew.

  4. Paul 4

    Walk away and tell Sky City to leave these shores.
    Without compensation.

    • Paul 4.1

      Or do nothing and accept that our rates and taxes will be used to pay for Sky City.

      ‘Auckland Council and Mayor Len Brown were yesterday blindsided by suggestions from the Government and SkyCity that ratepayer money be used to fund the shortfall in costs for a controversial convention centre.
      SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison yesterday also confirmed his company wants a taxpayer-funded top-up and was willing to walk away from the deal if it doesn’t get it, after last week revealing a rise of up to $130 million for the centre, originally priced at $402 million.’

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11378108

  5. philj 5

    Re Joyce! How will this government sort out yet another Shonkey deal?
    Still laughing at this running gag of a government. Sad for the have nots. We need to wake up.

    • rawshark-yeshe 5.1

      Can you dare to imagine the incompetent stuff ups they will create for us in TPPA?

      Also, they were basically ‘gifted’ the precious TVNZ land so far below any intelligent valuation, and without any tender process, forcing massive costs on to TVNZ to relocate in part. Surely that hidden savaging of the public purse must have been beneficial to their original costings ?

      Key runs this country like a demented self-serving village idiot and is destroying us one bad self-serving deal after another.

  6. Brendon Harre 6

    What is it about this government and Convention centres?

    In the Christchurch CBD rebuild, the convention centre needed to be rebuilt on land owned by Philip Carter brother of Speaker of Parliament -David Carter.

    http://polity.co.nz/content/christchurch-cronyism-centre

    This is after the government land grab of CBD property with the stated purpose of increasing the value of inner CBD land.

    “It doesn’t match the scale of the Maori land confiscations of the 1860s, but Cera’s plan to compulsorily acquire 53ha of central Christchurch private property for an estimated $636 million has certainly generated outrage and a sense of dispossession….

    Or, as Puddleglum at The Political Scientist blog puts it: “This building and development pocked ‘green frame’ turns out to be a gigantic, state imposed ‘gap filler’ or ‘greening the rubble’ initiative awaiting future development and expansion of the CBD.” The blog points out the obvious effects of reducing the supply of land. “Simply, rents are set to skyrocket in ‘The Core’ and the lucky landlords left with property there, or the investors with enough money to buy there, are set to make a killing.”

    Columnist Matthew Hooton made a similar point about the plan in NBR. “It halves the size of the CBD, making land scarce to improve returns per square metre, creating competition among investors and developers for the best spaces. There is going to be a gold rush.”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10835336

    If this happened in Russia or South America we would call it for what it obviously is. But here in NZ we are under the delusion that corruption doesn’t exist.

    • alwyn 6.1

      It is happening in Wellington as well.
      A developer put up a proposal to build a Hilton and a Convention Centre near Te Papa. Our crazy Council, who all appear to think they are wonderfully successful business tycoons raved about how wonderful it was, what great things it would do for Wellington and how the ratepayers would rent and take financial responsibility for the Convention facilities.
      Now the developer has come out with what he wanted all along. He wants to build it on Council controlled, via the port company, owned land on the waterfront. The Council is bowing down before him.
      No doubt they will also throw in a few more millions each year and allow the project to go ahead. Like all politicians they will never admit to making errors and there is always the taxpayer, or ratepayer to bail them out.
      Politicians should never, ever be allowed to get their constituents involved in business deals. None of them have ever worked out well, have they?
      By the way, if anyone in Auckland is unhappy about their projected rate increases be grateful you don’t live in Wellington with its Green and lefty dominated council. Here the rates are projected to grow at 4.9% per year for the next decade to finance our idiot mayor’s desires.
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/64406632/100m-Hilton-project-back-to-drawing-board

      • millsy 6.1.1

        I would disagree with you, were it not for the fact the the good people of Wellington arent getting anything tangible for their rates increases.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        Thing is, it’s not that the council is getting involved in business but that the businesses are taking the council and government for a ride by claiming how good there business will be for the city/nation. It’s all absolutely BS of course with neither economic nor social benefits.

        Here’s another point. If the SkyCity deal had been left to democracy with everyone getting a say rather than just the representatives and the sharks at SkyCity it would never have gone ahead. Auckland and the nation didn’t want it.

        • tracey 6.1.2.1

          Like the rort that was the rugby world cup… Leaving councils with stadiums to pay for.

          • Skinny 6.1.2.1.1

            Oh please rugby is our national game!

            The real sporting rort was the taxpayer stumping up for the America’s Cup. An elite sporting cup for the 1 percenters of this world.

            • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2.1.1.1

              Pretty much all sporting events are a rort and need a lot more transparency about them so that the people know where and their money’s going to. The real problem I have with them is that they’re always pushed as benefiting the economy and the people which they inevitably don’t do. They do benefit a few people who make a massive profit from it but society sees very little of actual benefit from them.

              That said I think that such things should be fully funded by the government so as to stop the rorting that is obviously taking place within major sporting events.

              An example of this would be NZ America’s Cup challenge team. This would be fully funded by the central government to the tune of several million dollars per year with the technologies that result from that investment then licensed out around the world so that the government gets some of that money back.

        • AmaKiwi 6.1.2.2

          Draco +1

    • BLiP 6.2

      . . . In the Christchurch CBD rebuild, the convention centre needed to be rebuilt on land owned by Philip Carter brother of Speaker of Parliament -David Carter . . .

      Good points. Remember also that the Sky City deal involved obtaining land owned by TVNZ.

    • Paul 6.3

      The confiscation of public space in Hagley Park for NZ cricket is just one more example.

  7. Skycity really is the high point of casino capitalism in NZ.
    http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2014/12/a-liveable-auckland.html

    • Murray Rawshark 7.1

      “Workers are housed in the cheapest housing, transported the shortest distances, and worked for the longest hours under the most exploitative conditions to serve profits.”

      That’s partial changed since Engels wrote about it. Workers now generally travel the longest distances.

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    It would be cheaper to buy out Sky City, sell off the other casinos and turn the current building into a ‘convention centre without gambling’

  9. millsy 9

    How about the government just take over the NZCC, and have it run as an SOE.

    That is what should have been done from the get-go.

    John Key’s predesessor, Sid Holland (who I belive he is most like), had a similar idea. His government realised that this country needed some decent hotels to cater for the growing tourism industry, so instead of making concessions to multinationals, they decided to build and run the motels themselves. Thus, the Tourist Hotel Corporation was born.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Yep and those hotels were built by the Ministry of Works. What governments are supposed to do when they see a need that isn’t being catered to by the private sector is they step in and do it themselves.

      It’s how NZ got trains the length and breadth of NZ as well as power, telecommunications and water reticulation. Nations don’t get built by the private sector, they get built by the people who live there.

    • Murray Rawshark 9.2

      Funny that you mention Sid Holland. On my perambulations through the internet, I found an unfinished scenario where Holland becomes the fascist ruler of New Zealand. It’s quite entertaining.

      http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=331149

  10. vto 10

    the best case in a long time of jumping the shark

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    Already Cameron Brewer has said that a Council subsidy should be considered for the revised project. What is it with the right and Sky City?

    What is it with the political-right and their need to subsidise business at taxpayers expense?

  12. NZJester 12

    The value of the free license expansion they gave Sky City is worth far more than the extra money this build will cost. If sky city wants to pull out they should be able to yank the new free gambling license that was part of the deal.
    But this government will never do that as a large part of the anonymously donated party funds would more than likely dry up.
    It should be illegal for a party to have the amount of anonymous funding they have.
    Just like how Dot Com was asked to split his donation into 2 to John Banks so it could be claimed as anonymous the big players have been doing that with their large National Party donations to keep them anonymous to the public.
    But National knows who all those anonymous donations are really from.

  13. philj 13

    The line between Government and big business has just about disappeared. Increasingly, user pays has become taxpayer pays and Corporate interest is ‘sold’ to the masses as public interest. Perhaps the new flag could represent this reality, and flap proudly as ‘ NZ Inc.’

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      User pay inevitably costs more than the users are willing to pay and so government subsidies roll in.

  14. BLiP 14

    John Key’s lies about the Sky City deal . . .

    the Sky City deal will provide 1000 construction jobs and 800 casino jobs

    all five bidders for the convention centre were treated equally

    my office has had no correspondence, no discussions, no involvement with the Sky City deal

    I did not mislead the House (8)

    I can’t remember what was discussed at my meeting with the SkyCity Chief Executive on 14 May 2009

    I have no record of the 12 November 2009 email from Treasury advising that the SkyCity deal was dodgy and needed to be referred to the Auditor General

    there was nothing improper about the Sky City deal

    SkyCity will only get “a few more” pokie machines at the margins

    any changes to gambling regulations will be subject to a full public submission process

    Sky City has approached TVNZ about the purchase/use of government-owned land

    I did not mislead the House (9)

    this government has been very transparent about all its dealings with SkyCity

    I did not mislead the House (10)

    the Auditor General has fully vindicated National over the Sky City deal

    I did not mislead the House (11)

    the Deputy Auditor General supports the view that there was nothing inappropriate about the Sky City deal

    I did not mislead the House (12)

    I did not breach the confidentiality of the Auditor General’s Report into the Sky City deal

    the Labour Government did exactly the same sort of deal back in 2001

    Labour has promised to not revoke the Sky City legislation

  15. dave 15

    having suffered a 10.1 percent rate increase no wage rise and cuts in services there is no way our tax or rate money should be given to a casino operator we don’t pay our taxes for this.
    TIME FOR KEY TO CUT THE CRAP!

  16. dale 16

    Totally agree, skycity is a private company. I wouldn’t have minded if the government had banned pokies from pubs and given sky sole use of these insipid machines.
    As for the share holder’s, well that’s business.
    I own shares and would never expect the tax payer to top up the dividend.
    This government missed a great opportunity to rid the suburbs of this poverty creating ill.
    I think on this very important social issue that both left and right should stand as one.
    This is the first big step to tackle poverty in our most vulnerable areas.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      I think on this very important social issue that both left and right should stand as one. This is the first big step to tackle poverty in our most vulnerable areas.

      I gave you shit last night over the Hagar book – but credit where it is due – you have my 100% support with this. Colour me wowser if you like.

  17. North 17

    NZ Herald 24/12/14 – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11378528

    Auckland City councillors in revolt what, at the prospect of the ratepayers giving money to amoral, greedy SkyCity, its hands outstretched by puppeteer Steven Joyce ?

    Why no mention of the councillor the seeming odd one out, Cameron Brewer. The councillor clearly not in revolt judging by the equanimity of his view that the prospect might properly be “looked at…..”.

    Come along author Adam Bennett – did you consider it churlish to mention in this article the preparedness of the ratepayers’ guardian and friend Cameron Brewer to at least consider giving in to this heist ?

    The man should at least be identified as a potential lobbyist for SkyCity, surely ? Especially given the excruciated drumbeating from the right wing of the Auckland City Council over Len Brown’s bloody bathroom.

  18. dv 18

    Here is a solution.

    If Govt want to ‘help’ sky city introduce a surcharge tax of say 10% for incomes over $300,000

    • Colonial Rawshark 18.1

      It is CAPITAL including land, which needs to be taxed more highly, not income. Half of NZ’s wealthiest people earn less than $70K pa according to their tax returns.

      • dv 18.1.1

        Yeah I suppose CR.
        But I enjoyed imagining the squealing that proposal would engender.

        >Half of NZ’s wealthiest people earn less than $70K pa according to their tax returns.

        They declare less than $70k.

        • Colonial Rawshark 18.1.1.1

          I’ll also add that foreign owned corporations and business interests suck about $15B pa out of NZ every year in profits, internal payments and other scams.

    • DAVE 18.2

      risk reward oh no not any more not on planet key , the public society takes all the risk while these crooks take all the reward and not just sky city its ordinary worker doing jobs where we see the risks of business transferred to workers wage theft and explanation are rife in new Zealand and the crooks want access to help themselves to public finances the like of Cameron brewer ,Cameron slater ,John key,Steven joyce have hijack our country in there interests
      TIME TO CUT THE CRAP!

  19. Al 19

    Nigel Morrison – what a tosser. Obviously been studying John Key, but unlike Key his only true responsibility is to the shareholder. He bleats on about leaving a legacy for NZ … the only legacy we would get would be increased gambling addiction and misery … thanks National

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