National paid full rate for SkyCity venue

The National Party has confirmed it paid in full when it used the SkyCity Convention Centre on election night and other occasions.

Prime Minister John Key, in Singapore for trade talks, has been quizzed on whether there have been any sweetheart deals between SkyCity and the National Party.

Asked whether his party paid for its use of the convention centre for its election night party in November, Mr Key said it was not his job to do party administration.

But National Party general manager Greg Hamilton confirmed the party paid to use SkyCity on every occasion at commercial rates.

The Prime Minister has come under fire from the Opposition after confirming he personally invited the company to make a pitch for a new convention centre.

The Government is in discussions with SkyCity on a deal that could see the company fund a $350 million convention centre in Auckland in return for an extension to its casino licence.

Mr Key said yesterday there was no conflict of interest.

"We have been completely upfront.

"We went through a process. We said we wanted to have a conference centre built.

"I made it quite clear well over a year or so ago that I spoke to a number of parties including SkyCity."

Mr Key confirmed on Tuesday he encouraged SkyCity to make a pitch for the convention centre in 2010 in his capacity as Minister of Tourism.

He did not feel there was strong public opposition towards the deal.


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