Dunne warns Key of ticking 'time-bomb'

Government support partner Peter Dunne has sent a "time-bomb warning" to Prime Minister John Key, saying his "cut through" approach over the SkyCity convention centre and Hobbit law changes risks becoming a major problem.

The United Future Leader's vote may prove crucial to passing Gambling Act changes required to secure the Government's international convention centre deal with SkyCity.

In a blog this week, Mr Dunne wrote that the Government's approach to business where it liked to "cut through quickly and resolve issues before they get too bogged down in red tape" was welcome "after years of stultification and wariness under successive previous governments".

Mr Dunne said much of that approach was down to Mr Key "who is focused on achieving things and making a difference".

But the SkyCity convention centre deal and the deal done with Warner Bros over the Hobbit films showed "there is a danger that the cut through which has been one of the government's hallmarks will become a major problem for it".

Mr Dunne said that while the recent Auditor-General's report on the SkyCity deal found no impropriety in the process followed by the Government, "it did play very fast and loose at times".

Similarly, with the Hobbit movies, "the Government's enthusiasm for the movies being made here did get in the way of the facts from time to time as deals were struck to ensure the right outcome".

"There is a time-bomb warning to the Government here"said Mr Dunne "Support for the cut through approach will wither if it is seen to be a standard proxy for bending the rules or doing special deals to achieve the desired outcome. While the government is not immediately vulnerable on this issue, the clock has started ticking. And it is worth remembering the adage, the ends do not justify the means."

While the United Future Leader's vote may prove crucial to passing Gambling Act changes required to secure the SkyCity convention centre deal, Mr Dunne indicated he had no objection to supporting it.

Auckland needed the convention centre and Sky City was arguably in the best position to develop it.

"No problem with that, subject, of course, to the specifics of the deal stacking up".

- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald

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