Key Explains Sky City Deal

A guest post by John Key.

If you’ve been following the news you’ll know that the Government has agreed to allow Sky City to install up to 500 additional gaming machines, in return for the casino building a new convention centre.

I wanted to write to explain why we made the deal, because I’ve been asked a lot of questions about it recently.

Some people have even suggested we acted improperly in awarding the tender to Sky City, and I’ve been accused of favouring a large corporation at the expense of the taxpayer, while ignoring the social cost of problem gambling.

There has been so much misinformation spread about the deal with Sky City that I felt compelled to put the record straight.

I have looked back at the process we followed when awarding the tender, and I’m very relaxed about the deal we struck with Sky City. Not as relaxed as I would be if I were enjoying a luxury spa in one of Sky City Grand Hotel’s wonderful Presidential Suites, but if your budget is a more modest one, why don’t you try one of their fantastically luxurious Superior King Suites? Go on, treat yourself and your loved one!

The deal represents real value to the taxpayer. Almost as much value as a night out at the casino. Relax, stay a while and spend as little or as much as you want. You’re guaranteed to have a great night, and with a range of bars and some great live entertainment Sky City has something for everyone’s tastes.

Some people are now claiming that the casino has exerted some sort of undue influence over me and my ministers, that I am too close to Sky City and its executives, and that the tender process has been corrupted. Let me put it in the record right now that we assessed Sky City’s bid every bit as stringently as all the others on the table. But when it came time for the bidders to show their cards Sky City had the best hand. And it’s no wonder, when you look at the table games available at Sky City. Baccarat, Blackjack, Poker, Roulette: you’ll be impressed at the range of games you can play when you visit.

In the end we struck the best deal we could. And when it comes to deals, look no further than the Sky City Premier Rewards Programme.  Become a member now and become eligible for some great member-exclusive promotions and be in with a chance to win some fantastic prizes!

The deal of course necessitated some regulatory adjustments in order to accommodate the casino’s request for more gaming machines, but if you want accommodation Sky City has a range of modern and relaxing accommodation options, whether you’re in town on business or just looking for a night away with that special person. And while you’re there, check out some of Sky City’s award-winning restaurants.

The deal with Sky City was the very best one available at the time. Sometimes when you’re in negotiations you just have to take the best deal that’s on the table, and this was one such occasion. You have to know when to hold your cards, and when to fold them, when to walk away, and when to run, and I’m confident that we got the balance right.

Finally, I have made it very clear to members of my Cabinet that I expect them to maintain the very highest standards of conduct when dealing with organisations like the award winning entertainment venue Sky City. In order to avoid the appearance of undue influence I make it very clear that they are not to count their money when they are sitting at the table. There will be plenty of time for counting once the deal has been finalised.

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