Okay most of us know that when Labour was Government a deal was done with Sky City for 221 extra pokie machines in return for a $140 million convention centre. It seems that if you get a quango to negotiate the deal then it is a very good thing, but if a government department negotiates it is evil and bad.
But did you know Labour’s 2011 manifesto pledge a convention centre for Auckland? They said:
Business tourism is essential to NZ but we lack facilities to cater for large conferences. If we want to be a true business tourism destination we need to have a world class conference centre and Auckland is the most practical place for it.”
Labour supports the concept of a world class Conference Centre and will work with Auckland Council in progressing such a project. “
So here’s my question? Is Labour going to announce that they will borrow $400 million to fund the convention centre directly? And will they pledge to have it Government owned and run, so that if it ever makes a loss then the taxpayer has to bail it out?
Also let us recall what Labour said about the existing convention centre, that also got funded by a gaming concession:
“The potential gains from this are widespread – not only for SKYCITY but for the Auckland city region, the tourism industry and the whole of New Zealand.”
That was Tourism Minister Mark Burton at the opening of the SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre on 3 August 2004.
So in summary:
- Labour had a quango do a similiar deal (but for a centre one quarter the size) in 2001
- They proudly opened the centre as a result of the deal in 2004
- They committed to a convention centre in 2011
So again, isn’t it time for them to front up and announce how they would pay for it?