Sky City turns Steven Joyce into the Labour and Green Parties’ whipping boy

via Newstalk ZB

via Newstalk ZB

Stephen Joyce must be wondering: with friends like Sky, who needs enemies?

Opposition parties are urging the Government not to fund a cost blowout in SkyCity’s proposed new international convention centre in Auckland.

A resource consent application lodged on Friday revealed the centre’s initial $402 million price tag is set to increase by $70m to $130m.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce blamed inflation, and said the cost differential will be addressed through savings on the project, including in procurement.

He’s fine tuned his message.  Earlier in the day he said he couldn’t rule out that the Tax Payer would have to stump up hard cash.

Green Party Auckland spokeswoman Denise Roche says the pokies-for-convention centre deal was “a dog” from the beginning.

“(Prime Minister) John Key brokered a deal with SkyCity which will allow the casino to massively expand its gilded empire in the centre of Auckland city.

“Almost all the so-called benefits that convention visitors will bring to Auckland will be consumed by SkyCity and its onsite restaurants, shops and hotels,” she said.

Labour’s Economic Development spokesman David Clark said a cost blowout and new round of negotiations was always going to happen.

“Sadly, it is the taxpayer who will pick up the cost of National’s incompetence as Steven Joyce has shown he is an amateur negotiator,” he said.

Well, let’s reserve judgement for now, although it does appear that Sky City moving the goal posts at all strongly indicates the government didn’t lock the agreement down properly.  I think it is clear that the general response from the country is that Sky City shouldn’t get a single cent of tax payers’ money to build its private assets.

Amusingly, Labour and the Greens both mooted that they’d look for every possible way to get the deal reversed after taking office as the new government, but it appears that Sky City is doing them the favour of doing it for them.

Farrar will be feverishly polling to return the bad news.  If National so much as spends $1 on paying for Sky’s private assets, the voters won’t let them forget it in 2017.

– NZN via 3 News

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.