Last week, SkyCity and Prime Minister John Key finalized their plans for the Auckland convention centre deal. The proposal was presented as a bill to the local senate, and passed its first reading – but not by very much.
The deal will see SkyCity build Auckland’s new convention centre, investing $402 million into the project. In return, the casino operator will receive an additional 230 poker machines for its Auckland location, a number of new table games and an extended gambling license.
Local residents have been sceptical of the deal since it was first revealed. The Greens and other political groups tried their hardest to lobby against the deal, but it was no use. The project’s negotiations continued and its legislation has passed its first read by a vote to 59 to 61.
SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison believes that the bill has not been well-received due to supposedly slanderous media attention. He claims that his company’s reputation is being tarnished, despite the economic benefits that the convention centre will bring into the community.
The bill will be presented to senate for a second time in November 2013.