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Convention Centre: Another taxpayer subsidy for business

Christchurch Convention Centre: another taxpayer subsidy for business

The awarding of the Christchurch convention centre contract raises more questions than it answers, said the Green Party today.

The National Government today announced that Plenary Conventions New Zealand, a consortium of Plenary Group, Ngai Tahu Property and Carter Group, has been selected as the preferred development consortium to build the Convention Centre. French company Accor has been selected as the preferred operator.

“There are big unanswered questions about what the return to the Crown be with this $284 million spend,” said Green Party Christchurch spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“Plenary Group are a company that specialises in public private partnership (PPP) and the Government has not given us any information about who will own the convention centre after the build.

“This appears to be a massive subsidy for private businesses.

“If taxpayers are putting in $284 million of public money, then it should be owned by the public like the convention centre before the earthquake.

“PPPs almost always cost more and end up being a direct transfer of taxpayer money to private company profits.

“The Minister has declined Green Party requests for the business case for the project.

“There has been a huge lack of transparency and accountability around this massive spend of public money.

“The National Government has pushed ahead with this convention centre despite the massive hole in the Christchurch Council’s budget.

“The lack of information means that the people of Christchurch don’t know whether this is a white elephant for the city or not.

“The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority’s powers override the Resource Management Act, which means that the public will be shut out of any input.

“The Green Party questions whether a convention centre of this size and scale is the most appropriate for Christchurch; especially given the lack of transparency and public input,” said Ms Sage.


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