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Chch rebuild spend needs openness

28 February 2014

Chch rebuild spend needs openness

The Green Party is calling for openness about the proposed new Christchurch Convention Centre saying that Cantabrians deserve all of the information they need about investments in the rebuild.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has refused, through parliamentary questions, to release the business case for the Convention Centre or any of the short-listed potential operators of the convention centre until final decisions have been made.

“Without seeing the business case how can the public know what sized convention centre is the best investment for the city?” said Green Party Christchurch spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“When the Minister won’t even release the business case, and we know that it has changed since the original proposal, there is a troubling lack of transparency in the decision making about millions of dollars of public funds.”

A budget paper obtained by the Green Party under the Official Information Act says that “the business case has scaled back the overall scope and scale of the Convention Centre than that anticipated in the blueprint following market sounding that provided a more realistic estimate of demand for facilities.”

“We need to see the business case to know whether this large Convention Centre stacks up or whether a different scale project would better contribute to the new vibrant and thriving city that Christchurch could be,” said Ms Sage.

“By the time this business case will be released it will be of no use to the public as it will be too late to have input into the size or scope of the project.

“Business cases for other projects, such as the Roads of National Significance, are released to the public before procurement is finished which allows the public to have input into the value for money discussion.

“The $284 million Convention Centre is a big ticket item which the Crown is funding with unnamed private “sponsors”, but we really don’t know if it’s going to be the best bang for our investment buck without seeing the business case.”

Parliamentary questions for written answer:
00663 (2014)
Minister: Hon Gerry Brownlee
Question: Will the business case for the Convention Centre Precinct be made public; if not, why not?
Answer Text: The Business case is part of an on-going competitive process. It is expected that the business case will be released when the procurement process is complete. 

00713 (2014)
Minister: Hon Gerry Brownlee
Question: Is the shortlist of favoured operators for the Christchurch Convention Centre prepared; if so who is on the shortlist? 
Answer Text: Shortlisted Operators for the Christchurch Convention Centre have been identified. The Shortlisted Operators cannot be named as they are part of an on-going procurement process.

00353 (2014)
Minister: Hon Gerry Brownlee
Question: Has the business case for the Convention Centre Precinct been completed; if not, why not?
Answer Text: Yes.

Copy of OIA documents:
https://www.greens.org.nz/misc-documents/christchurch-convention-centre-business-case-oia

ENDS

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