It was all just pillar talk

Steven Joyce’s confession that he can no longer guarantee a pillar-free design for the New Zealand International Convention Centre shows the Government has abandoned its dream of creating an ‘iconic’ ‘world-class’ structure, says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Clark.

“Steven Joyce knew 14 months ago that SkyCity would refuse to build a world-class structure under the existing deal.

“Today we learned he was repeatedly advised that SkyCity believed ‘iconic’ designs demanded a bigger budget. Until today, Mr Joyce suppressed the cost advice contained in his 26 February 2014 briefing.

“We have also learned that the Government has not sought or received a revaluation of land acquired in 2013 from TVNZ for the express purpose of building a convention centre, which it now intends to build a 300 bedroom 5-star hotel on. Mr Joyce has failed again to protect taxpayer interest in negotiations.

“His incompetence knows no bounds.

“For more than a year, Mr Joyce continued with the fiction that a ‘world class’ and ‘iconic’ centre would be built for ‘free’. It was only after the election taxpayers were asked to bail him out of his political hot water.

“What is now clear is that SkyCity continue to play Steven Joyce’s incompetence for all it is worth. They have got him to promise he won’t interfere in the construction. They’ve seen him in action and they don’t want him anywhere near the place. 

“SkyCity have called time on the Gerry-mandering, John-mandering and Joyce-mandering they entertained and flattered the Government with during early negotiations.

“Now taxpayers are being asked to fund a sub-standard convention centre that boosts SkyCity’s bottom line,” David Clark said.