The following is the transcript of the media session given by the Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, after his announcement on the Disney theme park at the Government House this (Tuesday) morning:
Reporter: You mentioned, Mr Tung, that this was a good deal and that there were acceptable returns. ... Could you tell us a little bit more about that deal and the returns. How long is this deal good for? At the end of the day who owns what?
Mr Tung: Let me tell you this: this is a good deal. Now, my colleagues will be briefing all of you in great details as to who does what. ... But what I would like to emphasise is that this is a good deal for Hong Kong, tremendous economic return for the community as a whole, put ourselves onto the map and Mike Rowse said earlier on, you know, many people said 1997 will mark the beginning of a downturn for Hong Kong, you know, and I think appropriately put, 1997 marked the new launch pad for Hong Kong to rebuild heights, and Disneyland investment is a vote of confidence in our future. And you tell me how much that is worth. It's a tremendous deal for us.
Reporter: How long is the deal good for, Mr Tung?
Mr Tung: My colleagues will explain to you all the details.
Reporter: With the provision of equity alone, how can the government justify its entering the business and competing with the private sector?
Mr Tung: Well, we are really not competing with the private sector. We are, you know, this is an infrastructure project, and I said many times that the Government would want the private sector to lead and we cannot find a better lead than Disney World, the world's foremost in theme park development. But to Hong Kong Government, this is a private sector development. This should eventually become a private sector development. But it is important for you to recognise at this time what we need to do is to get on with the project and it is right for the Government to invest in infrastructure deals such as this. We look at this deal as an infrastructure development in tourism, and Government has invested in airport because it is an infrastructure deal, we have invested in Convention Centre because it is an infrastructure deal, and so we have invested in a tourism infrastructure deal. And there are private sectors who have expressed interest in this particular venture and certainly in the course of time when we get this thing going - we got to get this thing going first - when we get this thing going and going well, we would welcome private sector participation.
End/Tuesday, November 2, 1999