Provided by NZX
  • SKC3.87

    $0.010.26%

  • Open 3.88 High 3.88 Low 3.81 Bid Price 3.86

    Offer Price 3.87 Value 3375940.16 Volume 876632

Current as of 22/10/14 07:40PM NZST

Celeb cash, perks worth $50K a year

By Kathryn Powley

Mike Hosking likes SkyCity restaurants. Photo / Supplied
Mike Hosking likes SkyCity restaurants. Photo / Supplied

Mike Hosking stood to gain up to $48,000 this year in cash and perks from casino giant SkyCity, according to financial information obtained by the Herald on Sunday.

The information projects a $2000-per-month payment and up to 2000 "points", set aside for him to spend at the casino's hospitality facilities. Hosking is said to have carried out regular work there.

Former RadioLive host Paul Henry was also to be paid $2000 per month cash, potentially, and up to 3000 points. That deal would be worth almost as much as the average wage of $54,000.

Both men also earn hundreds of thousands of dollars through lucrative radio and television contracts. It is not clear whether they collected this year's projected payments: neither broadcaster would discuss the deal, though friends of Hosking have insisted he works for his money, regularly MCing and doing commercial work.

Some celebrities were sponsored, some received a "chairman's card" allowing them free rooms, meals and drinks, and others got both.

Rachel Lorimer, spokeswoman for Henry's New Zealand employer MediaWorks, said it would be inappropriate for her to detail an employee's contract.

"As stated previously, Paul made RadioLive aware he had an association with SkyCity."

Hosking is still refusing to discuss his close links to the casino, revealed in last week's Herald on Sunday.

This week he said it was a "non-story" and he wouldn't be commenting on it as the newspaper's staff were "pond scum" and "reprobates".

The Radio Network's general manager Dallas Gurney said: "I have no knowledge of the amounts involved and neither do I have any interest in knowing. Mike has been open and honest with The Radio Network about this."

TVNZ ruled this week that the occasional Close Up host would not be allowed to cover stories about SkyCity because of a "perceived conflict of interest".

Until last Sunday's story, the state-owned broadcaster had been unaware of Hosking's relationship with the casino.

Last night, spokeswoman Megan Richards said: "We did not seek specific detail of any arrangements and the amounts have no bearing on the way we consider any potential conflicts of interest. It's the relationship with the organisation which we asked Mike to declare and we're comfortable we have the information we need to determine any conflicts that may present themselves in his fortnightly fill-in on Close Up."

Last Saturday night, having ignored phone messages inquiring about SkyCity, Hosking spent the evening watching a Vodafone Warriors game from a SkyCity corporate box with wife Kate Hawkesby. Also in the box was SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison.

Morrison is now overseas and has not returned our calls. But a SkyCity spokeswoman said details of relationships between SkyCity and individuals were private.

"The commercial details of any of these sponsorships we are never willing to share."

News of Hosking's links with the casino has not gone down well with anti-gambling groups or media commentators.

Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive Graeme Ramsey opposed the involvement with SkyCity. Celebrities brought glamour to the casino, which helped draw in customers.

"In my opinion, there's a clear conflict of interest and that should have been declared up front."

Hosking's tweets reveal an affection for SkyCity's restaurants.

On March 16: "Just been for the pre-Close Up dinner at Depot, Al's got some awesome new stuff on the menu he's a genius."

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 22 Oct 2014 20:37:54 Processing Time: 232ms