Government officials should not be discussing the timing of the release of the Auditor-General's investigation with SkyCity, the Green Party said today.
In an answer to a Green Party written question it has been revealed that SkyCity discussed the possible timing of the Auditor-General's inquiry with officials from Stephen Joyce's Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment in November.
"The issue of whether there was inappropriate involvement by Minsters in the deal goes to the heart of the Auditor-General's investigation," Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
"It is therefore inappropriate for SkyCity to be discussing the release of this report with public servants that work for Stephen Joyce.
"Recent comments by SkyCity Chief Executive Nigel Morrison are also adding to the pressure to wrap up the investigation into this 'dodgy deal'.
"The Government should ignore SkyCity's bullying and deal with the Auditor-General's report in a considered and timely way.
"A deal that gives a casino more pokie machines to profit from problem gamblers needs the utmost scrutiny.
"This deal raises serious issues for the way Government interacts with corporate interests in New Zealand," Mrs Turei said.
Green Party written question lodged:12/12/2012
Question: Did any of his officials meet with representatives of SkyCity in November 2012 to discuss the Auditor General's investigation into the convention centre deal?
Portfolio: Economic Development
Minister: Hon Steven Joyce
Answer Text: Officials met with SkyCity on 9 November 2012 to continue negotiations relating to the building and operation of an international convention centre. I am advised by officials that the content of the Auditor General's investigation was not discussed as part of that meeting, although passing references were made to the possible timing of its release.