The revamped design of the contentious SkyCity convention centre has divided critics, with one urban design expert saying it looks like "a ship beached up on Nelson St".

The latest design plans were released today by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison.

The revamped design means the centre will be capable of holding fewer people than had first been planned. Photo / Supplied
The revamped design means the centre will be capable of holding fewer people than had first been planned. Photo / Supplied

The redesign came about after Mr Morrison said the cost of the centre had grown from $402 million to $530 million, and it might need an injection of public money

That prompted Prime Minister John Key to express concerns over an "eyesore" if extra money wasn't spent on it.

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No public money was forthcoming, however, so SkyCity had to downsize its plans to meet its budget.

The new design is one level lower than the previous design and is reduced in size and capacity.

Auckland University architecture and planning senior lecturer Bill McKay said from an urban design perspective, both the shape and the size of the building was a concern.

"It's encouraging that they have reduced it in size, but the thing is still massive," he said.

"It looks like a ship beached up on Nelson St."

The Government says no public will go towards the $430m minimum cost of the centre. Photo / Supplied
The Government says no public will go towards the $430m minimum cost of the centre. Photo / Supplied

Mr McKay said when large developments were added to the city, they had a negative effect on historic buildings and the city's vibrancy.

"Big internalised structures like convention centres don't really do much for the street. So we don't end up with nice things like cafes and mixed use facilities around them.

"We tend to end up with one big lump of a building that's got one use occupying a lot of street front."

Labour Leader Andrew Little came out swinging following the announcement, calling the downsized design "another broken promise".

"New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would attract new business from overseas. The final design means hundreds of people fewer will attend conferences," he said.

"It's another broken promise from National. The Government initially promised an 'iconic' convention centre. Today that's been downsized to 'very impressive'.

"SkyCity has walked all over the Government and Steven Joyce has again folded at the negotiating table."

By contrast, Auckland Airport was happy with the design.

General manager Charles Spillane said the centre was great news for New Zealand's tourism industry.

"New Zealand urgently needs world-class convention facilities, if we are going to compete with centres in Australia and Asia. The New Zealand International Convention Centre will provide them."

Family First suggested the decreased size meant the legislative concession for allowing an increased number of pokie machines should be significantly reduced, if not scrapped.

Director Bob McCoskrie said Family First stood by its original comments that the concession would harm those with gambling problems.

"As we said from the outset, this deal will only hurt families, and there is still debate over the need for the Centre at all. A Convention Centre may sound good but not when it is being funded on gambling losses.

"Government deals and legislative concessions should not be used as cheerleaders for casinos and the gambling industry."