SkyCity has come under fire yet again, fighting off criticism from local residents over its potential role in a new immigration deal. This week, Immigration New Zealand announced its new deal with China Southern Airlines, which would allow flyers expedited visa processing when visiting the New Zealand. Last year, SkyCity mentioned its own involvement in a similar deal, causing local residents to wonder if the casino operator had any sort of influence on Immigration New Zealand.
According to reports, SkyCity had been pushing for a deal with China Southern Airlines for over a year. The casino operator wanted to increase the number of high rollers that would have access to its various gambling venues by making it easier for players to enter the country. Now that Immigration New Zealand has launched its own deal with China Southern Airlines, citizens are concerned that the government is in the pocket of SkyCity.
This news comes shortly after the announcement that government has relaxed gambling laws to allow for SkyCity to install up to 500 new poker machines. In return, the casino operator would build Auckland’s new convention centre, a project which will cost $350 million. With these types of deals taking place, residents wonder if SkyCity has an unfair influence on the local government.
Both SkyCity and Immigration New Zealand have denied claims that they worked together on the new China Southern Airlines deal. However, opposition is still strong, as politicians and residents worry that the deal would welcome a potential increase in casino-related crime.