Sky City is reviewing the design of the International Convention Centre in Auckland and won’t be asking taxpayers to contribute to it.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce today announced that the Government and SkyCity have reached agreement on the next stages of the International Convention Centre (NZICC) project.
SkyCity has agreed not to pursue a financial contribution from the Government and instead will amend its design to ensure the facility can be completed without financial input from the Crown.
“I welcome SkyCity’s agreement with the Government’s approach,” Mr Joyce says. “This clears the path for the project to continue.
“I have repeatedly stated since December that our least preferred option is for the Government to contribute funding for the project. I am pleased to confirm that will be the case.”
SkyCity submitted a Preliminary Design for the NZICC in October 2014 for approval by the Crown. However the total construction cost exceeded those costs as set out in the NZICC Agreement.
“The Crown has also indicated today that it may be prepared to accept a slightly smaller NZICC, if that is required to meet the agreed total construction cost,” Mr Joyce says.
“SkyCity will now work on a revised Preliminary Design in the coming weeks and will submit it on a date that will be agreed by both parties.
“The Government is pleased to be moving forward with this project which will create 800 permanent new jobs, an increase in GDP of $49 million, and an important public facility for Auckland.”
Public reaction to the suggestion that taxpayers contribute to the centre was almost unanimously negative.
Most people accept the need for continuing fiscal restraint. Most accept that health, education and supporting earthquake recovery in Canterbury are priorities. Few, if any would accept any contribution to the convention centre as either necessary or desirable.
The 800 permanent new jobs and an increase in GDP of $49 million are significant but those benefits would count for little or nothing in the eyes of taxpayers if they were expected to contribute to the building.
The original deal was sold as not requiring contributions from either taxpayers or ratepayers and, thankfully, yesterday’s announcement means that is still the case.