The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today.
“New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would attract new business from overseas. The final design means hundreds of people fewer will attend conferences.
“It’s not a Convention Centre, it’s a Concessions Centre.
“It’s another broken promise from National. The Government initially promised an ‘iconic’ convention centre. Today that’s been downsized to ‘very impressive’. SkyCity has walked all over the Government and Steven Joyce has again folded at the negotiating table.
“If it fails then the Government will have to step in and run a loss-making centre to the cost of the taxpayer.
“One of the architectural principles that underpinned the design was the absence of pillars in the main conference room – essential to attracting big conventions. That’s gone too.
“Even with the promised pillar-free design, NZIER estimated that the centre’s economic contribution would be just 18 new jobs after construction is finished.
“The SkyCity deal has been an albatross around the Government’s neck for five years since negotiations were first announced. It now risks turning into a white elephant.
“The negotiations dragged on so long the costs skyrocketed and Steven Joyce tried to get taxpayers or Auckland ratepayers to cough up. When that was rejected Joyce decided to buy an inferior product instead.
“John Key promised New Zealanders a ‘free convention centre’. If this Concessions Centre doesn’t attract enough business it will be anything but that and it’s the problem-gamblers and their families who will pay the price”, David Clark says.