Legislation to allow the building of a $402 million international-standard convention centre in Auckland passed its third and final reading in Parliament today.
"For the last 20 years the tourism industry and business sector have been seeking an international-sized convention centre to be built in New Zealand to ensure we compete with Australia and Asia by tapping into the growing market of high-value business visitors,'' Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce said.
"The 3500-seat Convention Centre will generate significant spin-off benefits including a projected $90 million annual injection into the economy; an estimated 1000 jobs during construction; and 800 jobs once it is up and running.
"For little, if any, investment by taxpayers, New Zealanders will reap the benefits of a $402 million international-standard convention centre including an increase in GDP, new jobs, improved competitiveness as a business events destination and the attraction of more investors to New Zealand.''
Labour Leader David Cunliffe said a Labour government would not be bound by National's "shonky deal with its corporate mates at SkyCity''.
"If the convention centre is half built, we won't dig up the foundations, but neither will be bound by this gold-plated deal,'' he said in a statement.
"There are no guarantees of extra gaming tables, there are no guarantees of extra pokie machines and there are certainly no guarantees of compensation.''