The New Zealand public have once again been deceived by National and SkyCity regarding the cost of the International Convention Centre deal, the Green Party said today.
SkyCity is building a hotel on land that the Government surrendered to SkyCity on the proviso that the land was essential to build a Convention Centre. In response to a written question from the Green Party Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce stated that the contract with SkyCity "prevents the land being used for any other purpose than as a convention centre."
"The New Zealand public have been hoodwinked by SkyCity and National," Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
"Steven Joyce and SkyCity have misled the public by their insistence that TVNZ's land was essential to build the international convention centre.
"The truth is that SkyCity now gets a prime piece of Auckland CBD real estate with harbour views for a hotel that they wouldn't have been able to purchase without the Government's assistance.
"SkyCity's decision to change their story after the deal was signed shows just how dodgy the deal always was.
"SkyCity will benefit financially from piecing together a new deal over the use of land originally sought for the Convention Centre.
"Once again the public and the taxpayer have lost out.
"Due to SkyCity's tough bargaining TVNZ have lost land and the cost of TVNZ having to move from their former land has come at a cost to the New Zealand taxpayer.
"National has been pushing TVNZ into a more commercial model and forcing job cuts so that it can pay higher dividends only for National to turn around and let it cut those dividends to subsidise the SkyCity deal.
"TVNZ never wanted anything to do with the SkyCity deal. It was forced to sell its land by a National Government hell-bent on cutting a deal to that will lead to an increase in gambling and social harm.
"SkyCity's extra profits from this deal will come at a high cost for the rest of the community," Mrs Turei said.
"The extra social harm from the increased gambling opportunities pushed through by National will include more crime, child abuse, mental illness, family breakups, hospital admissions and suicide.
The Green Party considers that to reduce the harm caused by pokies in casinos like SkyCity New Zealand needs a package of harm minimisation measures including mandatory pre-commitment cards and restricting direct advertising.