Think of it was a rare event: Everyone except National and Sky City agree – no deal!

Andrew Little has joined the chorus of people telling Stephen Joyce and Sky City to get knotted.

SkyCity must find the cash to meet the shortfall for its international convention centre, Labour leader Andrew Little says.

“A deal is a deal,” he said today. “SkyCity offered to build the convention centre, if they can’t come up with what they now say is a shortfall in costs, that’s their problem.”

Mr Little says there’s no way taxpayers should meet the extra cost.

SkyCity agreed to pay for the $402 million centre in exchange for gambling concessions. The Government kept its part of the deal, and put legislation through parliament.

Now SkyCity is saying construction costs have blown out by between $70m and $130m, and it wants the Government to pay at least part of that.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says that’s the least preferred option. He wants the plans re-examined to see where money can be saved, and he’s suggested Auckland Council might come to the party.

That surprised the council, which says it can’t afford to get involved.

Mr Little says Prime Minister John Key should rule out any public money going to SkyCity.

He certainly should.  Farrar should have told him which way the wind is blowing right now.  And basically, the only people in favour are Sky City, and the only person not against it is Steve Joyce.

The fact that Sky City are seeing the National Party as an easy mark is deeply embarrassing, and the longer that National leaves this hanging without a firm “NO”, the more damage it will do.

It is an intereting move by Sky City though.  The answer from Auckland Council is “we would have paid if we could afford it”, which is kind of sickening, and the answer from the Government is “we prefer to look at options, but we’re not ruling it out”.

And these are the people in charge of your taxes and supposedly thinking about how it spend it wisely so we, as a country, benefit.

– 3 News


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  • Blue Tim

    I think you’ll find that Mr Joyce and his cronies are getting it in the ear from Narional Party members

  • Wallace Westland

    This debacle is creating plenty of headlines.
    Joyce needs to pick up the phone have a 3min converstation with Key then let Nigel Morrison know that he can feel free to walk away.

    A two paragraph press release and it’s over.
    Then we will see if Mr Morrison’s shareholders are going to be happy about losing all the benefits they had acquired?

    • Wheninrome

      It would be interesting to see whether the Super city Auckland would be happy not to have a convention centre. The major cost of which does not fall on the tax payer. The Maori lead initiative was going to require huge input of Taxpayer rate payer money.
      The Sky City deal was the cheapest option for the City.
      Whether the City needs a convention centre and extra hotels is another matter.
      The taxpayers who live in Auckland might be the best people to talk to, if they want a convention centre they will be happy to pay, they might be the majority of tax payers in the country.

      • Wallace Westland

        I’m an Auckland taxpayer and I was a huge supporter of this. I have good friend who occasionally press gangs me into helping him when he puts on trade exhibitions (he also goes to international conferences regularly as a part of his business…I don’t ) so we have watched with great interest to see if Auckland would get something decent.

        I still want Auckland to get a decent centre but I don’t believe in corporate welfare so…..

  • peterwn

    Come on, Andy – have you not heard of second tier bargaining, this is just what is going on here. Most unions except Tony Neary’s sparkies union indulged in it. (meant to say that I also think a bargain is a bargain).

  • Hard1

    Tell Skycity to get stuffed and authorise a new casino with a different owner in Takapuna or thereabouts. Skycity is getting a bit uppity.

  • LabTested

    Joyce has made a tactical blunder. I personally will be less trusting of his announcements going forward on all issues. He is burning personal capital leaving this out there – for what benefit?.

  • sheppy

    There is only one answer to this – no casino, no extra pokies etc and the licence extension is cancelled and goes to the highest bidder with no favourable terms for skycity.

  • Tom McKechnie

    It’s a no brainer. If Sky City want to change the contract, they need to pay the additional costs. If Sky City wont pay, cancel the deal and reissue tenders for the convention centre.

    • rangitoto

      Also no licence renewal

  • Whafe

    Joyce and National need to nip this in the bud before Christmas, with it being Christmas eve, best they act real quick…
    This will linger and fester….
    Lance this sore please….

  • Cadwallader

    Where do the additional costs arise? I thought Joyce had said NO to taxpayers $$$$$? Is the cost over run due to the inclusion of a few secret bathrooms?

    • OneTrack

      That was the price of Len’s support.

  • Lord_Montrose

    The convention centre is stated to have a floor area of 85,000 square metres. At a cost of say $510 million, the construction cost would be $6000 per square metre. When I last looked it up, expensive buildings cost $2000 to $3000 per square metre. If any taxpayer money is going into this I would like to see an itemised costing.

  • armotur

    Seems simple to me. Change the design to suit the money available or Sky City should take a walk.

  • taurangaruru

    No taxpayer money should go into this, if the Casino cannot build the convention centre to the specifications already agreed then revoke the additional gaming licenses & while you are at it open up the gaming licenses to another major casino player in Auckland. That should make the SkyCity execs sit up straight & pay attention.

  • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

    Pay half but take back half of their licence period (would be worth more to them than fronting the cash themselves), or cancel the whole deal including their whole licence extension. Then advertise for another company willing to do the deal including the licence. I bet a Chinese group would love to fill the void.

    Sky city are business people and are trying it on. If they get smacked hard enough I bet they will “find” the money.

  • cows4me

    Are not all casinos struggling at the moment, Las Vegas, Alanatic city, Macau, and many others. I suspect the builders of the convention center aren’t raking it in like they once use to and this is simply butt covering. Why should the poor taxpayer be coughing up for this monstrosity. If they are short of cash lend the mongrels a 100 mill and charge them a decent whack of interest.

    • Michael_l_c

      If a business the size of sky city needs $100m+ they either go to the banks etc or their shareholders. Either way leads to a drop in the share price, particularly when the shareholders are hit up for $. Sky could reduce their dividend but again the directors would get a kicking at the AGM & their egos require that they feel liked.
      It maybe that the tactic of releasing bad news at Xmas has backfired.

  • Neil

    Sky city can walk away from this deal and the only people that lose are the people of nz. Jobs and tourism with many companies gaining from the high end visitors. We should bury our heads in the sand and pretend it has no gain for us.Thats the way of the left….and others it seems

    • Raibert

      What you seem to forget is that the major beneficiary of this deal is Sky City. The only reason they agreed to build the centre was PROFITS. It may benefit a number of Aucklanders ( predominantly businesses) and will provide some employment. However the exercise of how the additional spend plus the cost of the pokies and licence extension for Sky City could otherwise benefit all Aucklanders if spent elsewhere needs to be done.

      • Neil

        See my top comment

  • Neil

    The share price was unmoved by the original deal going ahead so analysts dont think at 402 mill the spend will affect profit by much.Air nz,airport, taxis, cafes, prostitutes and service industries all benefit. It also exposes nz to high income earners that can afford to return as tourists. It isnt something anyone else can build without government money and sky city wouldnt have done the deal without extra gambling concessions…..not profits from the centre. Jobs Jobs Jobs….important for nz to get on this gravy train of international conventions…thank goodness the government know this.

    • Wheninrome

      The only other deal on the table at the time was going to cost the taxpayer, i.e. the deal involving Maori. Now that would have been a gravy train.

  • Dairy_Flat

    Simple solution to this. JK lets his new mate the Chinese Premier know that he would like to see Sky City have a little competition in the gambling market; let it be known that for the inclusion of an upmarket convention center the government would look favourably on a casino license application. The Chinese would jump at the chance to establish one here and Sky City gets a slapping.

  • viking

    All it needs is for the maori groups who were trying for a license to buy up the $100 million shortfall and then they have their play without it costing tax payers and rate payers. Using their own capital and collateral of course.