Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Conflicts of interest and SkyCity grow

The SkyCity deal is looking shadier by the day…The Green Party has revealed that a submitter to the select committee hearing on the government bill and which he supported was in fact the National Party MP Sam lotu-Iiga’s electorate chairman.

This was a shocking revelation because Sam Lotu-liga was and still is; a member of that committee, and its normal for any MP in that position to declare a conflict of interest, but it would appear that this does not apply to the National Party.

The Nats have a record of allowing their MP’s and those MP’s from their support parties, for example John Banks not to declare conflicts of interest. 

When in fact John Banks received $15.000 dollars from SkyCity for his Mayoral campaign which he kept secret and for which he is now awaiting trial. 

The PM is happy to have him vote on the SkyCity casino bill even though this is obviously a huge conflict of interest.

While I suppose no money was concerned in relation to MP Sam Lotu-liga or Seamus Donegan his electorate chairman, at least I hope not but it was still a shady arrangement...but wait there is more.

There was another twist to this episode, Mr. Seamus Donegan clearly created the impression to the committee that he was representing the ‘Catholic Peace and Justice Commission’ and that was simply not true…the Catholic Peace and Justice Commission opposes the SkyCity Casino Bill…and I know that they are far too community aware to support such a shoddy and demeaning bill, because of its dramatic and ongoing effect in the worrying and growing problem gambling area.

In Parliament MP Sam Lotu-liga stated that he ‘never asked Mr. Seamus Donegan a question at the select committee, well done Sam…but why did you not point out that Seamus Donegan was not representing the Catholic Peace and Justice Commission and thereby abet him with his possible willful pretence. Was it because he was simply stating what you wanted him to state in support of the SkyCity Casino bill?

The public are getting very nervous about this shady deal that was hatched by John Key and Steven Joyce. It’s a deal that lasts for thirty years and is worth 400 million dollars…

Queenstown wants a convention centre; Wellington wants to update its convention Centre, there are empty convention centres all around NZ and none are making a profit and this trend is worldwide. Who in their right mind would travel half way around the world for a convention when today most conferences are carried out by teleconferencing, which is more economically acceptable to more and more organisations and individuals.   

Below is the Greens Press Release on the issue:

National MP must explain SkyCity contradiction
Tuesday, 22 October 2013, 6:59 pm
Press Release: Green Party
22 October 2013

National MP must explain SkyCity contradiction
The Green Party is raising serious questions about contradictory evidence provided to a parliamentary select committee by National Party MP Sam Lotu-Iiga’s electorate chairman in relation to the SkyCity Convention Centre deal.

The concerns focus on evidence given by Lotu-Iiga’s electorate chairman Seamus Donegan to the commerce select committee in which he misrepresented the views of the Catholic Peace and Justice Commission over the SkyCity deal and the impact of problem gambling in casinos versus other venues.

In addition neither Mr Donegan nor Lotu-Iiga declared their political relationship to the committee.

“Sam Lotu-Iiga is politically and morally conflicted as questions emerge concerning his electorate chair’s involvement in the political spin concerning the SkyCity deal,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Neither Mr Lotu-Iiga, nor Mr Donegan disclosed their political relationship during the select committee meeting or after. Members of the committee did not know their political connection.

“It is normal for political relationships to be disclosed. It is all the more relevant given that Mr Donegan’s testimony was contradictory to the actual position of the Catholic Peace and Justice Commission. That raises serious questions.

“Sam Lotu-Iiga’s electorate chairman gave the impression to the public, and to the select committee that the church approved of the deal. That was a major misrepresentation of their real view.

“The evidence Mr Donegan gave around the supposed safety of casino gambling was wrong. Department of Internal Affairs officials have told the Government that casino gambling is at least as harmful as gambling conducted in pubs and clubs.

“This Bill could live or die on the vote of Mr Lotu-Iiga and of John Banks, both of whom are now seriously conflicted by their involvement with the casino and the backroom political spinning around this Bill.

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