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John Banks Speech At Aotea Centre's New Wing

Official opening of the upgraded convention wing at the Aotea Centre Auckland Convention Centre at The Edge

6.30pm, Monday 2 August 2004

Speech notes: Hon John Banks – Auckland City Mayor

Thank you Susan Wood (MC)

Prime Minister

Greg Innes, Chief Executive, The Edge

Chairperson of the board, David Wolfenden, and board members

Alan Trotter, Chief Executive Officer, Conventions & Incentives New Zealand

This is a great day for The Edge and a great day for Auckland City.

As of today Auckland is an even more attractive destination.

Today we celebrate The Edge cementing its status as the provider of New Zealand’s premier convention, civic, performing arts and entertainment facilities right here in the centre of Auckland.

It is an exciting time to be a driving force in the convention and conference industry – an industry which is experiencing strong growth with The Edge loading in some valuable bookings.

0ver the next five years The Edge will host up to 300,000 delegate days and it won’t be long until The Edge’s facilities will be running at full capacity. There is significant interest in the venue through to 2010.

The Edge’s primary market is attracting convention delegates. In this market The Edge is without question the proven leader.

With this exciting $7 million redevelopment of the Aotea Centre, the future looks even brighter.

With The Edge’s multi-venue, multi function precinct bigger than anything else in the country, the City of Sails can now compete as an international conference destination.

Auckland today is more competitive with Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore, and San Francisco…. We all look forward to more traffic traversing the Tasman!

Auckland is rapidly becoming a destination for international visitors – shrugging off its gateway status once and for all.

I am committed to making Auckland a better city in every way. Better for business. Better for residents and better for visitors. I am committed to providing world-class infrastructure.

Tonight moves Auckland forward but we must continue to drive this momentum.

I believe that in the medium term we will need to invest in a dedicated purpose-built convention facility that will secure Auckland’s status as the premier destination in the Asia-Pacific region for international convention visitors.

Attracting more international delegates is great for our tourism industry as well as the city’s retailers, hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

Our CBD is on a roll and The Edge is an increasing generator of business.

I pay special tribute to the leadership of Greg Innes and I salute The Edge for the huge contribution it makes to Auckland as an aspiring modern and exciting first world city.

The refurbishment of the very fine Civic Theatre at a cost of $42 million and The Auckland Town Hall at $33 million have been defining events.

Now this state-of-the-art addition to the Aotea Centre increases our convention capacity and goes a long way to completing the comprehensive facilities the Auckland Convention Centre at The Edge has to offer.

The $7 million investment from Auckland City is money well spent and a job well done.

Finally I want to put two people on a pedestal who have been instrumental in making this happen and delivering it on time:

Suzanne Webb – the property manager at The Edge

And Darryl Tutchen – from Auckland City’s property group. Congratulations on the fully upgraded convention wing. It is a welcomed addition of a truly international standard.

I know The Edge has a bright future.

© Scoop Media

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