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Digest No. 2058

New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill 2013

Date of Introduction: 8 July 2013
Portfolio: Economic Development
Select Committee: As at 10 July, 1st reading not held
Published: 10 July 2013by John McSoriley BA LL.B, BarristerLegislative AnalystP: (04) 817-9626 (Ext. 9626) Caution: This Digest was prepared to assist consideration of the Bill by members of Parliament. It has no official status.Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, it should not be taken as a complete or authoritative guide to the Bill. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Purpose

“The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to an agreement between SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited (SKYCITY) and the Crown called the New Zealand International Convention Centre Project and Licensing Agreement (NZICC Agreement).”

“The overarching purpose of the NZICC Agreement is to provide economic benefits to New Zealanders by improving New Zealand’s capability to host medium- to large-scale international conferences and related exhibitions through the construction and operation of an international-standard convention centre. Under this Agreement, the Crown gives specific concessions, including regulatory changes, to SKYCITY in order that SKYCITY can meet its costs relating to the NZICC project.” [1]  

Background

“Legislation that will give effect to the final agreement to design, build and operate a $402 million international standard convention centre in Auckland has today been introduced to Parliament.” … “It follows the signing of the final agreement … between the Government and SkyCity.” “The … Bill provides for the specific agreed regulatory concessions under the agreement to be provided to SkyCity, while ensuring that SkyCity must comply with gambling laws and regulations in all other respects in regard to those concessions. It also establishes protection of the name ‘New Zealand International Convention Centre’ and ‘NZICC’, and requires that the Convention Centre land cannot be used for any other purpose.” [2]  

A regulatory impact statement is at: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/ris

Main provisions

Purpose clause

The Bill provides that its overarching purpose is to provide economic benefits to New Zealanders by improving the country's capability to host medium- to large-scale international conferences through the construction and operation of an international-standard convention centre and that, to this end, the Bill's purpose is to give effect to an agreement between the Crown and SKYCITY (the Agreement”) in relation to the construction and future operation of an international convention centre and the granting of changes to the regulatory regime applying to the SKYCITY Casino at Auckland, and to establish protection for the names associated with the international convention centre (“New Zealand International Convention Centre” and “NZICC”) (Clause 3, the “purpose clause”).

Interpretation

The Bill provides that it is “the intention of Parliament” that Clauses 6 to 10 and 12 of the Bill must be interpreted in a manner that best furthers the agreements set out in the NZICC Agreement (Part 1, Clause 4(2)).

Agreement

The term “Agreement” is defined and:

  • all provisions of the New Zealand International Convention Centre Project and Licensing Agreement as entered into between SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited and Her Majesty the Queen in right of New Zealand on 5 July 2013;
  • includes variations to the Agreement after that date to the extent that they are permitted by the Agreement and are not prohibited by Clause 11 (discussed below);
  • after the date on which the Agreement is terminated, means any provisions of the Agreement (as it may have been so varied) that are expressed in the Agreement to have continuing effect after the termination of the Agreement;
  • after 30 June 2048, if the regulatory concessions remain in force as at that date, means any provisions of the Agreement (as it may have been so varied) that are expressed in the Agreement to have continuing effect after that date (Part 1, Clause 4(1), definition of “Agreement”).

.

Regulatory concessions

The Bill provides that the “regulatory concessions” shall be operative at the times and on the conditions that apply to the regulatory concessions in the Agreement. The regulatory concessions prevail if a regulatory concession is inconsistent with any provision of the “gambling law”, and the application of the provision of the gambling law is modified accordingly. But the provision of the “gambling law” prevails if its application would be more favourable in relation to SKYCITY Casino than the regulatory concession. The “regulatory concessions” are in summary:

  • extension of licence term to 2048;
  • increase in area of casino venue;
  • additional gaming machines and tables;
  • increase in maximum denomination for bank note acceptors from $20 to $100, but in restricted areas only;
  • and authority to operate cashless card based technology and TITO Technology (ticket in ticket out).

The term “gambling law” is defined as: the Gambling Act 2003 and any regulation, rule, standard, or notice made or continued under that Act; and includes any licence; and includes any change to the Gambling Act 2003 and any regulation, rule, standard, or notice made or continued under that Act or any such licence after the date on which the Agreement was entered into (Part 2, Clause 6; Clause 4(1) definition of “regulatory concession’ and “concession” (“a regulatory concession made in Clause 7.2 of the Agreement, (including, to avoid doubt, those set out in Schedule 6 and Schedule 13 of the Agreement) as the concession is set out in Schedule 1 and 2 of this [Bill]’’); definition of “gambling law”).

Comment

The effect of Clause 6 includes that where a regulatory concession is inconsistent with any provision of the Gambling Act 2003, or any regulations, rules, or licences made or granted under that Act, the regulatory concession overrides that provision on the terms set out in the Agreement and the application of the relevant provision of the Act, regulations, rules, or licences is modified. The Bill’s explanatory note provides the following examples:

  • Section 11 of the Gambling Act 2003, which prevents increase in casino gambling;

  • Section 138 of that Act, which provides for casino licences to expire after 25 years (or after 15 years in the case of certain renewals of licence);

  • Section 180 of that Act, which prevents gaming machines that are able to accept banknotes with a denomination greater than $20.

This override rule would not apply if this would be unfavourable to SKYCITY. “This means that if there is a law change later, SKYCITY can benefit in the same way as everyone else”. [3]  

Clause 7.3 of the Agreement

The Bill provides that clause 7.3 of the Agreement as set out in Schedule 3 of the Bill has the force of law to the extent necessary to give effect to the regulatory concessions and the Agreement (Part 2, Clause 7).

Comment

Clause 7.3 amends the conditions of SKYCITY casino operator's licence; amends certain minimum standards prescribed by the Secretary for Internal Affairs; revokes part of a game rule; provides for what happens if the regulatory concessions are removed before 30 June 2048; provides for what happens if the regulatory concessions are still in force as at that date.

Regulatory concessions administered and enforced in accordance with gambling law

The Bill provides that the Gambling Act 2003 applies to the regulatory concessions, and all gambling conducted under the concessions, as if they were authorised by or permitted under that Act and the Secretary of Internal Affairs, the Gambling Commission, or the Police as the case may be must exercise certain powers under the Gambling Act 2003 in a manner that is consistent with the Bill, to the extent necessary to give effect to the regulatory concessions (Part 2, Clauses 8 and 9).

Comment

The Explanatory note to the Bill gives the following examples of powers of the Secretary for Internal Affairs under the Gambling Act 2003 which must be exercised in a manner that is consistent with this Bill, to the extent necessary to give effect to the regulatory concessions:

  • power under Section 141 of the Act to specify the minimum operating standards for the day-to-day operation of a casino, for inclusion in a casino licence, and to vary or revoke standards;

  • power under Section 327 of the Act to prescribe minimum standards for the design, manufacture, and performance of any particular gambling equipment or class of gambling equipment, and to amend or revoke minimum standards;

  • power under Section 367 of the Act to make rules for playing or participating in particular games, categories, classes, or forms of gambling; and for the systems, processes, information, and documentation to be associated with particular games, categories, classes, or forms of gambling, and to amend or revoke rules. [4]  

Further matters

The Bill also makes the following provision:

  • the regulatory concessions may not be varied, except by an Act of Parliament, to increase the opportunities for gambling available as a result of the regulatory concessions (Part 2, Clause 11);

  • remedies in the Agreement, including the compensation and non-compliance regimes, are enforceable, despite the general principles applied by the courts to the enforcement of contracts (Part 2, Clause 12);

  • the restrictive covenants providing that the site of the SKYCITY Casino cannot be used for any purpose other than as a convention centre are deemed to be covenants to which the Property Law Act 2007 applies even though they are not covenants appurtenant to adjoining land but are covenants in gross which are not allowed under the Property Law Act 2007 (Part 2, Clause 13);

Provisions relating to permanent protection for names

The Bill establishes statutory protection for the names associated with the international convention centre (Part 2, Clauses 15-19).

Copyright: © NZ Parliamentary Library, 2013
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand licence. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work to the Parliamentary Library and abide by the other licence terms. To view a copy of this licence, visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/nz/.

  1. New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill, 2013 No 140-1, Explanatory note, General policy statement, p. 1.   [back]
  2. Media release, Hon Steven Joyce, “Convention Centre legislation introduced”, 8 July, 2013.   [back]
  3. New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill, 2013 No 140-1, Explanatory note, Clause by clause analysis, p. 5.   [back]
  4. Ibid. p. 6.   [back]