It would seem that the Auditor-General is going to have a pretty straightforward job inquiring into the tendering process for the Auckland convention centre; the Herald reports:
Bids for the convention centre were also made by Auckland-based iwi Ngati Whatua and ASB Showgrounds, a consortium led by infrastructure company Infratil and The Edge.Ngati Whatua chief executive Tiwana Tibble said SkyCity had been given an unfair funding advantage because of the Government's promise of an extended gambling licence.But he did not begrudge SkyCity its advantage: "I lobbied to the PM, I went and saw him a couple of times. It's a $350 million contract, that's what people do."They don't just stick a tender in the envelope and hope for the best."Mr Tibble confirmed that Ngati Whatua would bid if the process was reopened, but he felt that calling for tenders again was "a waste of taxpayers' money".Spokesman for The Edge Paul Brewer said the company felt the tender process had been robust at the time.The Edge would not bid for a convention centre again, because its role had changed since being absorbed into a council-controlled organisation.ASB Showgrounds chief executive Mark Frankham said that while SkyCity's proposal to pay for the convention centre gave it an advantage over competitors, he had no concerns about the tender process."We've been involved in a lot of tenders. This one was done with the utmost efficiency."
So none of the unsuccessful tenderers have any issues with the process. It's a bit of a struggle to see what there actually is for the Auditor-General to investigate! Perhaps the Greens, who called for the inquiry simply don't understand the realities of the commercial world.
And on the subject of the convention centre, we bet that Trevor Mallard wishes hed kept his mouth shut yesterday. He handed Steven Joyce a free hit, which Joyce gleefully accepted:
Labour would far rather have us forget that Helen Clark welcomed Sky City's convention centre in 2001 with arms open wide, despite the fact that Sky City got more pokies as part of the deal. Steven Joyce is dead right; their opposition now is solely political.
Hat-tip (for the video): Whaleoil