NZ PM comfortable with rise in casino pokie machines
18/04/2012 - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says he is comfortable with an increase in the number of pokie machines at SkyCity as part of a possible deal with the casino operator to build and run a $NZ350 million ($AU279.25 million) national convention centre in Auckland.
Find related suppliers
Key told media in Jakarta on Tuesday he believed the increase would be "extremely modest in number and overall the number of pokie machines is reducing across Auckland and New Zealand".
Negotiations were continuing but Key rejected suggestions public opposition to a deal was growing.
Explaining his dealings with SkyCity, Key said he was looking for a deal to build and run the convention centre in which the government did not put up any cash.
SkyCity had presented a credible option but that was subject to negotiation and did not include any dilution of techniques to reduce the harm from gambling.
"They have the room to do it, they have integration with their hotels, they have integration with their other entertainment facilities and they are good operators running what is already a convention centre, but just one that is not big enough."
Accusations of some sort of underhand deal between the government and the company were just "nonsense", Key said.
"I've been extremely upfront the whole way through. I have said I want to build a convention centre as minister of tourism."
Critics have charged the extra pokies will lead to more problem gamblers.
The Labour Party has said SkyCity wants an extra 500 machines and are being offered about 350.
Browse the HospitalityHub directory: Music, AV, Gaming & Entertainment
Related Feature Articles
Broadcaster Sir David Attenborough and supermodel Heidi Klum are among...
Coca Cola Amatil (CCA) has branded the Northern Territory's cash-for...
The Australian Hotels Association is on the hunt for WA's best country pub...
Australia's unemployment rate is expected to have remained steady in April,...
Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has played down suggestions the release of...