Kiwiana for SkyCity deal - Government
Mon, 26 Mar 2012 6:19p.m.
By Patrick Gower
The Government is on the brink of signing a deal to change the law and give the SkyCity casino more pokie machines in exchange for it building a convention centre in downtown Auckland.
The Government is negotiating the look of the centre with management, saying it must have more of a Kiwiana feel.
The deal is that SkyCity builds the convention centre, and in exchange the Government allows it to have up to 500 more pokie machines.
One of the Government’s requests was for the centre to have a “Kiwi feel”, with a koru or a silver fern.
Economic development minister Steven Joyce says he wanted to have some input.
“The last thing you'd do is let me design any sort of building let alone a convention centre, but I think it’s important it reflects in some way the New Zealand-ness.”
But other parties say the pokies deal is the sale of New Zealand law, and nothing to be proud of.
“Look you could put on Silver Fern on every single pokie machine. Its not going to make it any better,” Labour leader David Shearer says.
Watch extended footage of Shearer, Norman and Joyce
Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell agrees.
“Well you might like to change the stripes of the animal but at the end of the day it still deals with pokies and gambling.”
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters worries the redesigned pokies could have a detrimental effect.
“Well, that's a snow job, to try and make New Zealanders think it’s good for them.”
But the deal looks good for SkyCity.
If it gets more than 500 pokies which it is understood to be demanding it could get up to $35 million more in annual profit.
Green Party MP Russell Norman says it could harm the public.
“This is a deal in which the Government of New Zealand, representing all of us, saying we are willing to cause massive social harm in return for a cut price convention centre.”
Mr Joyce says with an estimated $90 million a year boost to the economy – it is a good deal for the Government as well.
“Yes there can be issues in a range of businesses and those issues most be mitigated. But that doesn't mean you go into a defensive crouch and never do any development or never do any growth.”
But Mr Shearer says the idea is “abhorrent” and Mr Norman describes it as “a filthy deal”.
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31/03/2012 1:03:06 p.m.
Why don't we just let big tobacco lobby the government while we're at it, short term fix - long term harm. Is this the direction we are going for a brighter future.. for who?
27/03/2012 11:00:22 a.m.
I think it's a great deal, how is it any different from lotto money handed out to the communities. It allows a much needed conference centre to be created at no cost to the Government. It will bring millions into the economy and create much needed jobs. We will always have gamblers while there are people that can't control their urges, adding more pokies won't change that. You need to change the peoples behaviours instead.
27/03/2012 12:31:19 a.m.
Andrew Harris wrote:
That's a Key government for you, then again under Labour it wasn't much different all 'smoke and mirrors'. A kiwiana convention centre so what, and I do love the fantasy forecasts, is this the same idiot who ran the number for the RWC failure? Keys mandates and policies are contradict one another. Bennet ( you know the one with high intellect, NOT) wants benefit cards to control youth spending yet adults can withdraw their benefits from ATMS at Sky City Casino's endangering their families through poverty.
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