New stadium, convention centre details due

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 14:01 26/06/2013

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An announcement on the proposed Christchurch sports stadium and convention centre is imminent, an industry leader says.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand chief executive Alan Trotter told a press conference today that he was expecting an announcement from the Government soon, giving the projects the green light.

''What I've been told is the Christchurch City Council met last week, and next week there could well be an announcement around a number of projects,'' he said.

Trotter said ''tension'' between local and central government on the funding of the large-scale projects, complicated by local body elections in October, would probably be resolved by the announcement.

''I wouldn't care about a sport stadium or a convention centre either,'' Trotter said of Christchurch residents' greater concerns with rebuilding housing and utility infrastructure.

With the city's previous facilities having been destroyed in the 2011 earthquake, the convention centre and sports stadium are key parts of the Government's proposed rebuild of central Christchurch.

The press conference heard that the convention centre would be one of three such facilities to be completed by 2020, the others being in Auckland and Queenstown.

The centres would have a combined capacity of 6000, and Trotter said it was important to begin planning now to ensure they were properly promoted and used.

''We need to make sure these aren't white elephants,'' he said.

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) chief executive Brett O'Riley said convention visitors were an important counter-cyclical source of tourism.

''The conference and major events sector is one of the few areas that can change the visitor cycle,'' he said.

New Zealand's peak tourist season was December to March, while conferences tended to cluster in August and September, he said.

ATEED said today that Auckland had secured the Asia-Pacific Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Instititional Education conference, to be held over three days in June 2015. About 400 mostly international academics are expected to attend.

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