No taxpayer top up for Sky convention centre

Stuff reports:

New Zealand’s International Convention Centre has been given the green light after SkyCity returned to the Government with a new design that did not require a taxpayer top-up.

SkyCity will build a slightly smaller national convention centre than originally planned, but will meet all the construction costs itself.

SkyCity had agreed to increase the minimum amount it would invest in the centre from $402 million to at least $430m, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said on Tuesday.

All up, the company said it could spend in the range of $450m to $470m.

SkyCity has agreed to change its plans for a controversial Auckland convention centre to meet the original budgets, preventing the need for a taxpayer top-up.

Under the 2013 deal the SkyCity casino operator agreed to build a $402m convention centre in return for concessions on its gambling licences, including more “pokies”.

I’m happy that there will be no taxpayer contribution, and Auckland will get a world class convention centre.

It retained many of the key design features and allowed the centre to host 3150 conference delegates at any one time, compared to 3500 in the initial preliminary design.

Plenary capacity will be 2850, compared to 3000, while the Exhibition Hall will reduce from 8768m2 to 8100m2.The total floor area of the NZICC will be more than 32,000m2.

“It will drive a significant increase in tourism expenditure in Auckland and around New Zealand through the estimated 33,000 additional convention delegates and $90 million annual increase in delegate expenditure that it is expected to bring each year,” Joyce said.

Let construction begin!

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