New Zealand First is calling for Prime Minister John Key to reveal the full extent of his involvement in the Sky City-China Southern Airlines (CSA) gambler visa deal.
Rt Hon Winston Peters says allowing CSA frequent fliers to dodge visa checks comes after Mr Key’s secret dealings to give preferential treatment to Sky City so they can install hundreds of extra pokie machines.
“When Mr Key’s shonky pokie machines for convention centre deal was revealed he was reported as saying on April 3 this year that he did not believe the additional machines would attract more locals to Sky City, saying the casino was targeting international clients.
‘Those visitors tend to spend about twice as much as normal holiday makers’, Mr Key told TV3’s Firstline programme.
Mr Peters says the Government has now seriously weakened border controls so CSA frequent fliers can waltz into the country and head straight to the casino.
“This comes after the Department of Internal Affairs warned the Government about concerns over money laundering in New Zealand.
“A Sky City spokesperson is reported today as admitting they talked to the Government and airlines over easier visa requirements but said it wasn’t involved in the CSA deal.
“This contradicted comments from Sky City’s president of international business Ejaaz Dean in August last year, as well as Sky City’s own Shareholder Review for the year ending 30 June 2012,” says Mr Peters.
The review states: “Finally, the opening of China Southern Airlines services between Auckland and Guangzhou, and our successful partnership with Auckland International Airport to offer airside clearance, have made coming to Auckland to play more comfortable and less complicated. We are now working with Auckland International Airport to develop further strategies to encourage more Chinese visitors to come to New Zealand.”
Mr Peters says this is all too much of a coincidence.
“Sky City and Auckland Airport can’t change laws by themselves. The Prime Minister, who is also the Tourism Minister, must have been involved at some point.
“This is cronyism at its worst by Mr Key and his Government which is bending over backwards to give preferential treatment to Sky City while putting our border security at serious risk.”
Mr Peters says the Prime Minister must come clean on why he is willing to jeopardise the nation’s security, and fuel problem gambling with hundreds of extra pokie machines, in return for a convention centre.
“Mr Key is clearly involved in this whole gambler visa mess which according to high ranking Immigration Department officials is highly likely to see criminals enter the country.
“The Prime Minister has some serious explaining to do,” says Mr Peters.