Has SkyCity already had a free taxpayer gift?

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I hate to give the Greens a free hit, but this SkyCity deal smells rancid

Advice to Ministers obtained by the Green Party shows Ministers were warned in January 2014 that SkyCity?s new plan to use the former TVNZ land for a glitzy five star hotel made it much more valuable to the casino, and the deal needed to be recalculated as a result. There is no evidence ministers heeded this advice.

This follows answers to written questions from Economic Development Minister last year in which he said the deal with SkyCity “prevents the (TVNZ) land being used for any other purpose than as a convention centre” unless the Government agreed to remove a ?restricted covenant? over the use of that land.

?This is the latest demonstration of just how much of a dog this deal is, and the extent to which the Government has ensured SkyCity are the only winners in the pokies for convention centre deal,? Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

?Either John Key and his master negotiator Steven Joyce were willing participants in a plan to hoodwink the public into giving SkyCity a cheap piece of inner city land for its glitzy five star hotel, or this is further evidence of the extent to which they?ve botched this dodgy deal.

?The public of New Zealand were tricked into parting with public land owned by TVNZ and on the proviso that it was absolutely essential for building the convention centre.

?Not only was it completely untrue that the land was needed for the convention centre at all, but the Government mysteriously removed a ?restricted covenant? on the land allowing SkyCity to use it for its hotel, making the entire deal even more valuable to the casino.

?After lobbying the Government for three years with the message that the TVNZ site was essential for the convention centre, within three months of purchasing the land in September 203, SkyCity had decided to put a hotel on it instead.

?Officials were clearly concerned about this, and warned Ministers to go back and recalculate the ?value proposition? in the deal to SkyCity.

?John Key and his fellow master negotiator Steven Joyce have some serious questions to answer about why they ignored official advice, and in so doing gave SkyCity even more bargaining chips in this deal, along with a prime piece of Auckland real estate that it gets to keep for its hotel, regardless of whether a convention centre is ever built,? Mrs Turei said.

Incompetence or a rort on the taxpayer?

Either way, Steve and John are going to have to use some fancy footwork to come out of this one with nothing sticking to the Teflon.

 

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