Nats slam Sky City scam

While NZ Herald reports that Key warm on taxpayer funds for convention centre the reaction has been much colder.

A deal agreed in July 2013 was for SkyCity to spend $402 million on a convention centre based on artists’ impressions.

Late last year, the casino announced that increased construction costs and “design improvements” had seen the bill blow out to up to $530 million, and taxpayer help was needed.

At the very least a business case that far out of whack should raise alarm bells. Being funded by Taxpayers after the whole deal was based on a promise of no cost seems ludicrous, but that seems to be ther Governments intention.

However, Mr Key signalled a preference for at least some public money to be used on SkyCity’s new, more-costly plan.

Mr Key yesterday expressed doubts over the wisdom of insisting the casino sticks to an initial plan to spend $402 million to build and operate the convention centre, saying he would “hate to see some sort of eye-sore constructed downtown”.

Has Key not noticed what downtown Auckland already looks like? Another eye-sore  wouldn’t look out of place.

It isn’t suprising that the left strongly opposes the Taxopayers propping up what was supposed to be an agreement with Sky City’s proposed convention centre and expanded gambling business.

But the response from National’s support base has been just as chilly.

Nat cheerleader David Farrar posted Better a free eyesore than a taxpayer funded colliseum.

If the extra money will improve the construction so that more groups will want to use the convention centre, then that is a commercial decision for Sky City. It is not an issue for the taxpayer.

There are two acceptable choices for me.

  1. Sky City builds it with no taxpayer subsidy
  2. Sky City doesn’t build it

Comments from right and further right in comments are more scathing. Manolo:

If John Key gives up and agrees to a subsidy it will become his and the National Party’s Waterloo.

Likes 36, dislikes 1

Souvlaki:

Yep…I’m a National supporter.They will lose my support …along with thousands of others ! Key does this as reported and its the same as Abbott ” Knighting ” the Duke of Edinburgh ! Stupidity beyond belief !!

Likes 23, dislikes 1

Alwyn:

I think that, if the Government go ahead and put up money for this scheme it could be their downfall.
That would require that Little stop worrying about exactly which day Key knew about Sabin’s actions and that he stop giving National free hits by ruminatiin on Maori having different rights to other New Zealanders.
Little should concentrate on this matter. If National put up the money he can hammer it for the next couple of years, and if they don’t he can claim that they were going to but that he forced them to back off.
Personally I think this is one item that will resonate with the New Zealand public.

Likes 22, dislikes 1

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Interesting that while Cameron Slater posted THE GREAT SKY CITY TAX PAYER ROBBERY, COMING TO A TROUGH NEAR YOU he seems to be quiet on it now.

And comments here yesterday should be a chilling warning to Key and Steven Joyce, who seem to be putting political face saving ahead of business prudence – except if the proceed with a handout to a gambling company they are likely to be slapped in the face, politically.

Maureen:

The Flag, Skycity and Sabin continuing to sit as Chair of the Select Committee are three reasons I won’t be renewing my NP membership just now.

Sponge (also posted at Kiwiblog):

I can see the argument for the Govt chipping in (I can see the reasoning but think it is a shit argument) but from the perspective of giving the opposition a stick to beat you with this is staggeringly stupid. The Nats are now in a no win and no way out situation about SkyCity.

I got an email from National today asking me to renew my membership. They will be getting a shitty response and no money in return. John Key really seems to have developed a cloth ear in the last few months. He needs to get his shit together and pronto. Think of what the government could have been like if JK had not won – that is what we will be facing if they don’t get their fucking act sorted.

Maureen:

I wrote back to the National Party advising why I’m reserving my options. The flag is just a sideshow, taxpayers/ratepayers funding the casino is intellectually insulting, and leaving Mr Sabin in such a position while under a serious investigation – stinks of corruption. Not happy.

Goldie:

I find it hard to see the Government giving money to Sky City.

National are a minority party – they still depend on either Maori Party, Peter Dunne, or Act to pass supply bills. If any of those three passed an appropriation for SkyCity, they’d be flayed alive by their supporters.

And their own backbench are likely to become pretty restless over this. While ring-in opinion polls on Campbell Live are unreliable, a 97% NO result is still pretty decisive on public opinion on the matter.

If Key and Joyce try to prop up a smelly deal with Taxpayer money it’s likely to be a major nail in what’s already a term of arrogance that may become their political coffin.