SkyCity did not ask TVNZ about land

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 15:24 21/02/2013

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Television New Zealand says SkyCity has not approached it over plans to build a convention centre on its land.

The comments directly contradict Prime Minister John Key's statement in Parliament yesterday, in which he said SkyCity had approached the broadcaster about acquiring its land.

Key told the house: "SkyCity ... went off to its architects. Its architects designed such a thing, realised they needed more land, worked out who owned the land, and approached Television New Zealand."

But he confirmed today that was not the case, and he had just assumed the approach had been made.

He told reporters today commercial negotiations between SkyCity and TVNZ were nothing to do with the Government, and it was up to them how they conducted those discussions.

"They are the parties that need to negotiate that, not me."

Under intense questions at a select committee this morning, TVNZ management said despite SkyCity's convention centre plans becoming public nearly a year ago, there had been no discussion about land sales with SkyCity

TVNZ chairman Wayne Walden said he had a conversation with Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss after news of the plans become public, but Foss said he was unaware of the plans.

After news broke, Walden said there had been "preliminary discussions" with its own architect and a quantity surveyor about options if the land was sold.

However, the broadcaster had never been approached by SkyCity directly, he said.

Speaking to media after the committee, chief executive Kevin Kenrick again confirmed there had been no approach from SkyCity.

Asked whether he would have expected an approach, given SkyCity plans to acquire the broadcaster's land, he said it was up to SkyCity.

"If someone else wishes to approach us about buying something from us then that's their choice not mine. We are aware there is some speculation that there might be interest in the land."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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