“..Kiwi businessman Lloyd Morrison made a personal plea to Prime Minister John Key for the right to build a new national convention centre –
– but his request was passed to another minister – who refused to enter into talks.
Mr Key instead handed the right to build a centre to casino giant SkyCity – which would get legal concessions to make more from pokie machines in exchange.
An August 2010 email from Mr Morrison to Mr Key’s assistant – and addressed “Dear John” – enclosed a press release about Morrison & Company’s PIP Fund investment in Melbourne Convention and Entertainment Centre.
The email read: “It would be fantastic if we could develop something similar for Auckland off the back of the recent National Convention Centre [Expressions of Interest process].”
Mr Morrison, who died of leukaemia in February, said the PIP Fund was “capable of providing a PPP [public-private partnership] funding and delivery solution”.
“Delivering an iconic and economically beneficial social infrastructure asset for Auckland is exactly what the PIP Fund wants.”
Mr Morrison added that he was “happy to have a conversation” about funding a centre if Mr Key wanted to hear more.
A year earlier, Mr Key had responded to calls from SkyCity that it could build the centre – by halting work by government officials on a business case for the new facility.
Months after that, Mr Key raised with SkyCity a potential deal in which the Government paid little or nothing and SkyCity extended its convention centre to become the national base.
Mr Morrison’s message, however, was passed to the office of Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee –
– who replied a month later saying he would not comment until he had advice from officials on all bids..”
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