27 Apr 2012

Council debate on convention centre curtailed

5:23 am on 27 April 2012

Auckland Council has backed away from opposing a convention centre deal being negotiated between the Government and casino operator SkyCity.

There were heated exchanges on Thursday as councillors succeeded in cutting short the debate after only a few speakers.

Centre-right councillors tried three times before curtailing debate and defeating a motion that the council should oppose the Government's plans.

The Government is talking with SkyCity to build the $350 million centre in Auckland in return for a law change allowing it to operate more gaming machines.

Mayor Len Brown suffered a rare defeat, siding with those who wanted the debate to run its course.

Left-leaning councillor Mike Lee called the curtailment of the debate undemocratic.

But Mr Brown is happy that the council remains on the sideline, saying the deal is the Government's business.

The negotiations between the Government and SkyCity do not require the council to take a position.