John Key softening the SkyCity stance

John Key

He must have had Farrar on the phone with the overnight polling results, and suddenly John Key is finding a little bit of backbone.

Prime Minister John Key has toughened up his opposition to putting taxpayer cash into the planned SkyCity convention centre.

In a further retreat from his earlier stance that a cash top up would be necessary to prevent “an eyesore” being built, Key today said he would take a lot of persuading to top up the $402m SkyCity had pledged.

We structured the deal in such a way that the taxpayer didn’t have to put in money and that’s what I would prefer to see and I’d need a lot of convincing if any other position was going to be adopted,” he said.

‘In the world we live in … in the perfect world ?… we would like to see them build a convention centre for $402m.”

it was always open for the parties to walk away – a move that would cost the Government about $10m for its share of the design costs.

Asked if the Government would re-tender the contract for the convention centre, which SkyCity agreed to build in return for gambling concessions, Key said that would be a bridge the Government would cross when it got to it.

“Let’s deal with SkyCity first.”

Let’s see if this is a genuine shift in position by John Key. ?A few days ago it was all about how poor Aucklanders would be stuck with an ugly building. ?Suddenly it’s about the original deal – no taxpayers money. ?None. ?Nada. ?Zip. ? If at all possible, maybe, let’s still negotiate.

John Key is softening the message. ?The question is: ?for whom?

Is he going to screw us over, SkyCity, or both?


– Vernon Small