Christchurch's Convention Centre's costly break up

By Shelley Robinson

New design of the Christchurch Convention Centre. Photo / Christchurch Star
New design of the Christchurch Convention Centre. Photo / Christchurch Star

It is likely taxpayers will be stumping up more cash for the Government's doomed private sector relationship for the Convention Centre project.

The bill paid so far is already at $5.5 million, but is likely to grow due to the "close out" process with the Government's former partner Plenary Conventions.

Labour MP Megan Woods said it was not unusual when a commercial contract was broken that compensation was paid.

She asked Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Gerry Brownlee via a Parliamentary written question how much discontinuing the relationship had cost taxpayers.

Mr Brownlee, in response to Dr Woods, said the "close out process" was "ongoing" and releasing the information could prejudicially affect negotiations.

In late June, the Government announced it would go it alone on the project after the partnership with Plenary Conventions - made up of Carter Group headed by rich-lister Philip Carter and Ngai Tahu Property - broke down.

The Star asked Mr Brownlee questions regarding the close-out process, including costs, who conducted the negotiations and which party ended the relationship.

Mr Brownlee forwarded the questions to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

DPMC said the questions would have to be analysed under the Official Information Act due to legal and contractual issues.

Dr Woods said it was time for Mr Brownlee to front up and stop "palming off" questions to the DPMC.

"Taxpayers deserve to know, with the mess and delay of the Convention Centre, (how much it) is going to cost them. It's about holding the Government to account," said Dr Woods.

"For a minister not to stand up and not take responsibility for a position he is elected to is not on."

But Mr Brownlee said he felt the Government had been as transparent as it could over the Convention Centre.

"It is not fair to describe queries about the Convention Centre as being "palmed off" to DPMC, as ministers and Crown agents have legal, contractual and commercial constraints, which opposition MPs do not have," he said.

The Convention Centre is expected to be finished in late 2019.

- Christchurch Star

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 24 Mar 2017 08:27:54 Processing Time: 648ms