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Taxpayer the loser after Government folds

Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.

“The Government has insisted that any scaling down of the centre would be limited to 10 per cent. The truth is this centre is getting incrementally smaller and 10 per cent is just the latest cut.

“In response to Labour’s questions, the Minister for Economic Development calculated the maximum conference capacity is 50 per cent to 60 per cent smaller than what was under discussion when other bidders were excluded.

“The Auditor-General has called the evaluation process neither transparent nor even-handed and the downsized centre demonstrates how much SkyCity has extracted from the taxpayer through Steven Joyce's incompetent negotiations.

“Added to this is Steven Joyce’s admission today that further concessions on the laneway retail development are valued at $4 million.

“At yesterday's launch, the Government touted the extra value it squeezed out of SkyCity.

“But as details slowly emerge, it’s again apparent the Government has been forced to fold because the casino always wins,” David Clark says.