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Convention centre green light a step forward for Wellington

Convention centre green light a step forward for Wellington

The confirmation that Wellington is to get a convention centre by 2017 is a big step forward for the city, says the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

President John Milford said today’s announcement is an exciting development which has the potential to deliver real and lasting opportunities for the city and the region.

“This is a big step forward for the city, and it’s great news that we can expect to see work start before Christmas.

“If the centre performs as the business case indicates, I expect it to be a huge drawcard, adding significantly to the income of the city and region by bringing in more high-value visitors, and allowing the city to showcase its strengths – hospitality, events, and dining sectors, tourist attractions, environment, as well as our world-class ICT and education sectors.

“On projects of this size, which involve nearly 70% of business ratepayers’ money, we must always be assured that the business case stacks up – that the potential benefits far outweigh the risk and cost to the city.

“The council’s assured us that the numbers and details around the profit-share have been crunched properly by independent consultants and do stack up, and that’s reassuring.

“Balance the projected cost to the city of $2 million a year for an estimated return of $30 million in new spending and new jobs, and the project is compelling. That’s on top of the more than 200 jobs it will create.

“There’s no doubt Wellington must firstly maintain its 15% share of the lucrative convention market and then grow it before someone else grabs it. The convention centre is expected to put us well up in that race.

“It’ll be part of the bigger package that Wellington offers.

“We have attractions that no other city offers that make us unique in the convention market. We’re compact, we are regarded as the events, dining, and hospitality capital – much of it centred around a wonderful harbour – and our airport is just 15 minutes from the CBD. You don’t get better than that.

“We must now make sure we back all this up with first-class infrastructure to ensure we prevent congestion worries of the sort Auckland has before they develop.

“And then we need a longer runway to help us attract overseas conventions.”


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