PM: Labour's 'deep hypocrisy' over SkyCity hosting

By Kate Shuttleworth

Labour found its way to the test via SkyCity's corporate box. Photo / Richard Robinson
Labour found its way to the test via SkyCity's corporate box. Photo / Richard Robinson

Labour has confirmed four of its MPs were hosted in SkyCity's corporate box at Eden Park for the All Blacks versus France test last weekend.

Phil Goff, Annette King, Kris Faafoi and Clayton Cosgrove accepted SkyCity's invitation. Their leader David Shearer declined, but turned up for 10 minutes anyway.

Prime Minister John Key said the Labour MPs had displayed "deep hypocrisy'' after accusing the Government of being too close to SkyCity over the casino company's plans to build a $400 million convention centre in Auckland in return for concessions on gambling laws.

"These guys have been running around parading as if they're holier than thou, telling everybody how terrible SkyCity is and how the sky was going to cave in because a convention centre was being built and the moment we turn our back they are taking their sausage rolls and free beers in their box watching the All Blacks play,'' he said today.

"I think they have been caught out, I think they are very embarrassed by the fact that they have been deeply hypocritical and I think New Zealanders will judge them very badly for this.''

Mr Key said if Labour was true to what it was saying, the MPs wouldn't support SkyCity in any way.

"They have got to have a consistent position. If Greenpeace had a box at an All Blacks game, I wouldn't be attending.''

Mr Key believed "without a doubt'' that Labour would take a donation from SkyCity at the next election.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said she would be very happy to be invited to the SkyCity box.

"But then, I'm not a hypocrite like (Labour). I think they're a bunch of hypocrites and actually they should stop slagging off SkyCity and being very happy to take their hospitality.

Green co-leader Metiria Turei agreed it was a bad move to accept SkyCity's hospitality.

She said the Greens had an ethical donation policy that included declining gifts and donations like SkyCity's offer.

Mr Faafoi said he often met with businesses and organisations he did not support and said he had made the party's opposition to the Government's deal with SkyCity clear.

"We told them Labour would repeal any special privileges to be exempt from gambling laws that applied to everyone else,'' Mr Faafoi said.

Labour leader David Shearer said he declined an offer to watch the All Blacks game from the SkyCity corporate box but had "dropped in'' for 10 minutes.

It is believed the Mr Faafoi and Mr Cosgrove used taxpayer-funded flights to get to Auckland for the game.

Mr Key said this wasn't unheard of.

"MPs do fly to rugby matches and the argument can always be is that actually business.''

- NZ Herald

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