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Council Keen But Deal Fell Over

13 August 2004

Council Keen But Deal Fell Over For Commercial Reasons

Porirua City missed out on a new contact centre worth up to 300 jobs because of issues beyond Council’s control.

Council Chief Executive Dr Roger Blakeley said he wished to make it clear that Council had been very keen to get the development but in the end the developer had said “the deal could not be made to stack up for commercial reasons.”

Dr Blakeley was responding to media stories which say the contact centre will go to Hutt City after their local council offered a $200,000 rates “holiday.”

“The truth is, we were very keen to get the development here in Porirua. We advised the developer of our rates remission policy and we invited him to make an application to Council.

“We never received an application and I was advised by the developer that in the end the deal (in favour of Porirua) could not be made to stack up for commercial reasons.

“They were site specific and they were matters of a commercial nature beyond Council.”

Dr Blakeley said Council had been “highly responsive” throughout the preliminary phase and had made it clear that issues surrounding resource consents and costs would be dealt with expeditiously.

Council had a good track record of supporting developments in the City, including North City Shopping Centre, the MegaCentre and Bunnings Warehouse Porirua.

“Each one of these developments has brought significant benefits to the city and the region through the creation of new jobs and overall growth.”

Dr Blakeley said Council had a policy of wanting to support business, not subsidising business.

The rateable value of the property concerned would have had to increase to about $4.7 million if Council was to recover the $200,000 rates remission over three years “and there was no suggestion from the developer that anything like that level of investment was proposed.”

One of the downsides of the contact centre proposal was the impact it would have had on other cities and towns in the region. “Contact Energy is going through a consolidation exercise, so it was a case of jobs being shifted to Porirua from elsewhere in the region, rather than being attracted to the region.”

The development proposal never went to Council for consideration as “we never received an application for a rates’ remission.”

ENDS

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