Call for convention centre re-tender
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 8:56a.m.
By Dan Satherley
Labour leader David Shearer says there was only a single line in the Auditor-General's report into the Government’s convention centre tender process that backed Prime Minister John Key's view of events.
Mr Key yesterday rejected Opposition claims the deal, which will see Sky City build a $350 million convention centre in exchange for changes to the Gambling Act, was underhanded and unfair.
Auditor General Phillippa Smith's report concluded there were deficiencies in how officials handled the tender, but nothing inappropriate that would have influenced the outcome.
Mr Shearer however disagrees, saying the report shows Mr Key was "in it donkey deep".
"This was completely unfair, a completely shonky process," he told Firstline this morning.
"Seventy-one pages of that report is about how shonky it is, and one line which John Key keeps on quoting."
He says Labour backs the building of a convention centre, but not one that will be built "on the backs of problem gamblers".
"Auckland needs a convention centre, and we accept that… I don't like pokie machines, I'll be right up front about it. I just don't think we need more pokie machines in Auckland."
He has called for the tender process to be held again, this time with an even playing field.
"Let's give these other companies a fair chance to bid on the same playing field as Sky City had," he told Firstline.
"I think we should go back to the beginning and say, this is the rules (sic), we all play to the same rules. Not Sky City having inside running and being able to talk directly to the Prime Minister's office, and these guys being left out in the dark, that's really unfair.
"And that's what the report says – it wasn't even-handed, it wasn't transparent and it wasn't accountable. John Key can say he's vindicated – he's totally implicated in this."
Mr Key says Sky City was the only applicant that was prepared to pay for the convention centre without Government assistance.
"Sky City has the right location and it was the only one prepared to put up the cash - all the others (bidders for the contract) wanted the Government to pay for it."
The other applicants were not aware the Government had no plans to contribute towards the cost of building the centre.
"They went about their bids thinking that Government was going to put up some sort of shareholding," says Mr Shearer. "They didn't know that Sky City was going to get some favours done – in the form of changing our law [to let Sky City install more pokie machines] – they didn't have that opportunity at all."
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce will be taking questions on the deal in Parliament today, as Mr Key is out of town.
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21/02/2013 10:39:21 p.m.
John Key had ruled out re-tendering yesterday morning on TV3 when asked. I noticed he wasn't in the House today to answer questions from the oppositions on his dodgy deal. He's probably under pressure again after yesterdays question time, so he's stayed away with his tail between his legs and left it to his spin master Joyce to spin more lies.
21/02/2013 8:12:02 p.m.
Re-tender the contract without Joe Keys fingerprints all over the deal and a private enterprise thinking it can stand all over a law-changing govt, to have more of their demands met. Now the bright shiny building is going to cost NZ, an annual ongoing fee and they're basically booting a govt broadcaster out of their central city location as well. Doesn't it sound exactly like Warner Bros demanding National withhold information from the NZ public a few weeks back after they had laws changed for them as well? When you make bent deals with a corporation, you become tagged as a player they can start to manipulate at a later date. That's whats happened now twice within the last month or so....Nationals crows are coming home to roost a little earlier than they would have liked and its showing kiwis what a bunch of con artists we have for a govt...
21/02/2013 11:14:05 a.m.
David Morrison wrote:
The whole set up should be scrapped forthwith,and have a fresh complete and satisfactory out come from all tenders,leaving out any political interference and gains,And no more machines installed,as machines are not required to operate a convention centre.
Now is the time for a referendum on the convention centre while the non political truth and cover ups are being presented to the publics eyes and the created burden that has been put on the tax payers.Where other areas the money could be put to a better use.As for tourism it seems to be only Chinese who come here by the plane loads,and they don't come here to buy Chinese made goods that our markets are flooded with.Also the Asian students spend millions of their parents dollars at the casino!s and our PM thinks that it is great for our economy,But many of them drop out from uni and language schools and end up having to go back home.Many people don't believe there is a problem,but there is,those who rent houses etc to those gamblers are left with a messed up home and out of pocket,un payed power bills and other debts.We had a male student staying with us who was excellent in the way he went about his life with out any problems.But he told us that one of his class mates,lost $47 thousand dollars at the Waikato casino,and another in his class lost his near new BMW and every thing else he had.this was only two he told us about.It is like horse racing people tell you the amount they have won,but not their losses and that goes with the casino cases also.
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