New Zealand Labour Party

Convention centre failure means years of uncertainty for CBD

The failure of Gerry Brownlee’s planned convention centre deal leaves Christchurch facing uncertainty about when activity will be restored to the CBD, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods.

“As one of the CBD’s major anchor projects, the convention centre complex was meant to also include shops, hotels, apartments and office spaces that would help bring private investment, life and activity back to the CBD. Now all that is up in the air.

“Instead, we are left with a ‘build it and they will come’ approach where tax payers will foot the whole bill for the convention centre, with no certainty that private investment will follow.


“Prime Minister and Gerry Brownlee have been calling for calm and patience around this project because they were continually on the cusp of a commercial deal – they failed in that task and taxpayers are now stuck writing a blank cheque.


“Before more taxpayers’ money is spent, Gerry Brownlee is now left with many questions to answer:

  • Why did the commercial partners walk away?
  • What are the costs of the new proposal going to be and what will be the benefits to the city?
  • How much of the nearly $20 million spent developing the old proposal will be used for the new one?
  • What plans will be put in place to ensure the remainder of the site will be developed and not simply land banked and left idle for years to come?


“The Government’s approach over the last five years has been one of secrecy and all that has got us is mess and delays.


“It’s time for a new approach – the Minister needs to front up, answer these questions and show us how he plans to make this work. We need certainty and a firm timeline from the government because the city can’t afford more delays,” says Megan Woods.