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Opportunity to progress National Convention Centre

18 February 2013

Media Release

Opportunity to progress National Convention Centre

From a New Zealand perspective, getting on with building a National Convention Centre without more delay “is an absolute must,” says Michael Barnett, head of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

He was responding to reports from today’s Prime Ministerial post-Cabinet press conference that the Auditor-General report on the way the proposal has been managed would be released tomorrow.

“I am hopeful this will be an end to the delays. In the 10 years Auckland has talked of building a National Convention Centre able to compete with Australian and Asian venues, we have lost, conservatively, many millions and thousands of jobs to our economy, not just in Auckland but across New Zealand.

“As I have said previously, the SkyCity proposal to fund and build a purpose built national convention centre in central Auckland is a game changer.

“I agree we need to balance our economic and social responsibilities. Issues over pokies and problem gambling have to be seriously addressed, as does the decision-making processes around this proposal.”

“What I am saying, however, is that for Auckland to move forward with clear action that puts our economy on a sustainable long-term growth path these concerns must be worked through in an informed and measured way on the basis of an agreement to begin work on a national convention centre with speed and urgency.”

In 2009, research confirmed we could expect direct benefits of close to $400 million a year and additional benefits of $85 million in increased tourism spend. We were also informed that spending per conference attendee is $650 per night – double that of the average tourist.


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