NZ Herald 23 December 2014
Auckland Council and Mayor Len Brown were yesterday blindsided by suggestions from the Government and SkyCity that ratepayer money be used to fund the shortfall in costs for a controversial convention centre.
SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison yesterday also confirmed his company wants a taxpayer-funded top-up and was willing to walk away from the deal if it doesn’t get it, after last week revealing a rise of up to $130 million for the centre, originally priced at $402 million.
SkyCity was favoured by the Government to build the centre over rival bidders for its willingness to fund and operate the facility itself without taxpayer funds, in return for gambling concessions including more gaming machines and a licence extension.
Mr Morrison said SkyCity “absolutely” wanted a taxpayer top-up and issued a veiled threat to walk away from the project.
“This is an unprecedented investment in tourism infrastructure in Auckland.