“..Prime Minister John Key is standing by the controversial Sky City convention centre deal – as Opposition parties call for the project be put back out to tender.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is negotiating with the Auckland-based casino to build a $350 million national convention centre in return for changes to the Gaming Act that would allow it to have hundreds more pokie machines.
Mr Key has admitted he approached Sky City and asked it to put up its best offer.
But he said he had the same conversation with other bidders.
There were five tenders for the project and the Economic Development Ministry also looked at offers from infrastructure company Infratil, Auckland Council and ASB bank.
Speaking from Singapore, Mr Key said he had spoken to “a number of different parties” involved in bids for the convention centre.
There have been questions over Mr Key’s intervention -
- and his chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, is friends with lobbyist Mark Unsworth, who includes Sky City among his clients.
The pair holidayed together in Las Vegas.
Mr Key said there was no conflict of interest for the Government. “We’ve been completely upfront.”..”
(d:..this govt is all about crony-capitalism..eh..?
..they ‘holidayed together’..?)
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