Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Labour quiet on SkyCity deal's future

Mr Cunliffe would not confirm that Labour would change the legislation. Photo / NZPA
Mr Cunliffe would not confirm that Labour would change the legislation. Photo / NZPA

New Labour Leader David Cunliffe has come under pressure to reveal whether a Labour-led Government would tear up National's pokies-for-convention centre deal with SkyCity.

Legislation enabling the casino giant to build a $400 million convention centre in downtown Auckland in return for hundreds of additional gambling machines and other regulatory concessions was reported back to Parliament this week.

Labour's view on the bill, included in the commerce committee's report, noted advice from officials that the bill - including provisions for SkyCity to be compensated if any regulatory concessions were removed - could be amended in future.

The report also says that Labour MPs "reserve the right to change the law when in government".

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said Labour's position was similar to the Greens'.

"They have reserved the right to change the law in the future ... it is our intention to repeal the SkyCity bill and to implement stricter regulations to prevent problem gambling."

Ms Turei said the deal was "hanging by a thread" as the Government was relying on the vote of "disgraced MP John Banks who has a conflict of interest" over charges of electoral finance fraud partly related to mayoral campaign donations from SkyCity.

But Prime Minister John Key said there was little chance of Labour dumping it.

"My understanding out of sources out of Auckland is they've made it quite clear they won't rip up the contract," he said.

Mr Cunliffe would not confirm that Labour would change the legislation.

- NZ Herald

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