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Support for development of Auckland's Showgrounds

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

2 June 2006 Media Statement

Support for development of Auckland’s Showgrounds

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds are to receive a grant of up to $4.7 million to assist with the modernisation and redevelopment of the facility so that it can attract world-class events to Auckland.

Helen Clark made the announcement during a visit to the Showgrounds today.

“The Showgrounds are one of New Zealand’s premier exhibition centres. In 2005, they hosted more than 140 shows and exhibitions, attracting more than 1.2 million visitors. There is, however, little doubt that the facility requires a significant investment if it is to attract major events in the twenty-first century,” Helen Clark said.

“The first stage of the redevelopment is underway already, and includes the construction of a new hub, including food courts, function rooms, a wine bar, entry and registration areas, and extensions to two exhibition halls.

“This grant is earmarked for the construction of a new exhibition hall which will increase the exhibition space by fifty per cent. It will help to transform the Showgrounds into a multi-dimensional facility. The full redevelopment is expected to be complete by April next year.

“The Showgrounds have been on this site for 96 years. An Act of Parliament was set up in 1972 to keep the Showgrounds in perpetuity for the benefit of Aucklanders. The Showgrounds are administered by the Auckland Agricultural, Pastoral and Industrial Shows Board, a non-profit body.

“This redevelopment is significant for the Auckland region and New Zealand. It will be a wonderful asset for the people of the wider region and for the diverse cross section of Auckland’s commercial, ethnic, and community groupings for which it caters,” Helen Clark said.

The grant is being made available through the Significant Community Based Projects Fund, which was announced in the 2005 Budget to address funding issues faced by a growing number of large and important community projects.

The Fund is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs, which together with five other government bodies formulated recommendations to Cabinet for final decision.

Cabinet guidelines stipulate that the objective of the Fund is to support major community-based projects which have significant support from and participation by the community, with a range of regional or national benefits.

Particular importance is attached to projects in the fields of arts, culture and heritage; sport and recreation; conservation and environment; tourism; and economic development.

Helen Clark said grants in this financial year had already been awarded to the Invercargill Velodrome (up to $1 million), the Dunedin Chinese Gardens (up to $3.7 million), an eco-tourism attraction in the West Coast's Oparara Valley (up to $1.8 million), and the Maungatautari Ecological Island ($5.5 million). There will be further funding rounds.


ENDS

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