The Government must show SkyCity who’s the boss and walk away from the dodgy pokies-for-convention-centre deal, the Green Party says.
Prime Minister John Key caved to more pressure from the casino bosses today confirming he hadn’t ruled out putting more taxpayer funds into the supposedly free convention centre at the Auckland casino.
“As the song goes, you’ve got to know when to walk away and know when to run. It’s time for John Key to run from this dodgy deal,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.
“SkyCity has tried to extract more money and concessions from the taxpayer with every turn of the screw.
“John Key says he doesn’t want Auckland saddled with an ugly centre. But the real question now is not what John Key thinks about the aesthetics of the SkyCity convention centre, but how much the New Zealand taxpayer is prepared to subsidise a profitable casino business.
“SkyCity is tipped to return more than $69 million in net profit this year, with high earnings from its Auckland casino supporting development of its business overseas. These guys don’t deserve any more taxpayer hand-outs.
“Under the terms of the contract it’s easy for the Government to walk away from this deal, with only a small penalty at this stage.
“That penalty will save New Zealand millions of dollars as this won’t be the last time SkyCity tries to heavy the taxpayer into parting with more cash or more pokies..
“The pokies-for-convention-centre deal was always unethical because it was funded by the human misery caused by increased gambling in Auckland. Now it’s even more unethical that a very profitable business is trying to heavy the Government for more taxpayer hand-outs.
“This whole saga proves that governments shouldn’t be doing business with casinos. It’s time to stop trying to manage an unmanageable situation, John, and to do what’s right instead,” Mrs Turei said.