Spend on convention centre hits $16 million

An early concept of a new Christchurch Convention Centre built as a private-public partnership.
SUPPLIED

An early concept of a new Christchurch Convention Centre built as a private-public partnership.

The Government has spent about $16 million trying to get Christchurch's convention centre off the ground, Budget documents show. 

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee said the money covered site clearance and "pre-contract stages". 

It did not include the $60m-plus spent buying prime central city land for the project. 

Finance Minister Bill English delivered a ''no surprises'' budget on Thursday.
FAIRFAXNZ

Finance Minister Bill English delivered a ''no surprises'' budget on Thursday.

The Government's contribution to the convention centre – earmarked for the two blocks between Cathedral and Victoria Squares – was capped at $284m in the cost sharing agreement. 

READ MORE:
Budget 2016: As it happened
Tracy Watkins: A smart Budget, but no big fixes
Budget 2016: The wrap
Govt will not be 'bullied into convention centre deal' - John Key
Convention centre announcement 'very close' - John Key
Govt not ruling out dropping Christchurch convention centre

Information released on Thursday showed Treasury had earmarked $95m for the convention centre in the 2016-17 financial year. The amount of money earmarked for years after that was withheld.

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee and Prime Minister John Key.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee and Prime Minister John Key.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister John Key said behind-closed-door negotiations with the Government's chosen development partners was a "very slow and painful process".

It is not known when an announcement on the long-awaited project will be made. 

Brownlee said $500m worth of assets and capital was transferred to new Crown company Otakaro Limited. Otakaro will oversee the delivery of the anchor projects. 

How the money was spent would be up to the company, he said. 

Ad Feedback

The $500m figure did not represent the total expenditure of anchor projects. Brownlee said Cabinet was able to make changes or approve additional funding. 

Brownlee said the Government's forecast spending on the Canterbury earthquake recovery was forecast to top $17b by 2020. 

The financial support had helped people make "huge strides in their recovery", he said. 

Budget documents showed $12.9b had been spent so far. 

This included residential and commercial land purchases, the central city rebuild, settling Earthquake Commission claims and infrastructure. 

Brownlee denied there were spending delays on the anchor projects in the 2015-16 financial year because the funding for the recovery was spread across several years. 

Money allocated for building the anchor projects, which include the metro sports facility and convention centre, in the 2015-2016 financial year will be carried forward. 

For the upcoming financial year the Government had budgeted $227m for the continuation of anchor project delivery, divestment of Crown-owned land and funding Otakaro. 

Labour Canterbury spokeswoman Megan Woods said the Budget documents told the story of Christchurch's "slow and messy recovery".

"To say there's no delay in anchor projects is absolutely nonsense," she said. 

"Anyone driving around Christchurch can see there's delays."

Woods said it was concerning that Brownlee was "trying to spin it, instead of trying to fix it".

She questioned what the $16m for the convention centre had been spent on, saying it seemed like an "awfully large sum of money" for a project that was still up in the air.

Only three weeks ago Government ministers were waiting on a new proposal for project, after the initial design proved too expensive.

In a letter from Key to the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, Key said the Government remained committed to delivering the anchor project but was not prepared to proceed at any cost. 

GOVERNMENT SPENDING IN CANTERBURY

2011 – 2015

Central city rebuild (includes land acquisitions) = $767m

Local infrastructure = $1.5b 

EQC (net of reinsurance proceeds) = $7.3b

Land zoning = $999m

Crown assets (includes hospital and school spending) = $471m

Forecast Crown contribution to 2022 = $17.1b

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback