Spend on convention centre hits $16 million
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.
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.
* 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.
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.
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