Nearly 8000 delegates won't be able to gather at the $703 million NZ International Convention Centre early next year but SkyCity Entertainment Group remains unconcerned about financial penalties for construction delays.
Figures previously provided by SkyCity, when it announced major conferences, showed four huge events for around 7900 people booked between next February to April.
Graeme Stephens, SkyCity chief executive, said despite the delays, he remained "excited" about the centre and indicated no financial fallout from having to turn away the thousands of delegates.
"There are no financial consequences in terms of penalties because of the way we've been managing it," Stephens said, although he acknowledged the lost revenue was a financial issue.
"We have to move conferences in February, March, April and May but we're working with these people, to bring them back into our calendar. Some will go somewhere else and hopefully come back. The biggest thing has been to retain the relationship with conference organisers," Stephens said.
The Herald has previously reported SkyCity information showing bookings had been made for:
• The tripartite colorectal meeting next February, bringing 1200 delegates;
• The International Association for Prevention of Blindness convention next March for about 2000 delegates;
• The Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology is also booked for March with 3500 delegates;
• The World Veterinary Congress next April for 1200 delegates;
• The World Organisation of Family Doctors Asia Pacific Region next July, bringing 2000 delegates;
• The World Congress of the International Union of Food Science and Technology in August next year and 2000 delegates will attend that.
SkyCity told the NZX it expected the "NZICC to open in second half of 2020" and Stephens confirmed that was the calendar, not the financial year, so after July 1.
SkyCity also revealed it would withhold $39.5m from Fletcher Construction for late delivery of the new hotel and centre and that a further $25m had been spent removing aluminium composite panel cladding from the building.
• SkyCity convention centre had Grenfell Tower-like cladding: $25m to remove
• SkyCity convention centre won't open till second-half of 2020
• SkyCity looks at selling carparks to build hotels, plans Queenstown expansion
"It was the right decision to replace it but that decision comes at a cost," Stephens said.
Negotiations were advanced to sell Auckland carparks: "We're close to concluding. I can't say if they're overseas or locals but there are two potential buyers."
These could generate well over $100m for the business but Stephens declined to give the latest valuations. SkyCity has 1960 parks below its Auckland casino/hotel site and another 1327 are being built across Hobson St beneath the convention centre site, giving it control of 3287 spaces.
Some city parking spaces go for more than $200,000 each, so SkyCity's spaces could be worth $300m or more. An announcement is expected in the next fortnight.
Anna Hayward, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development's convention bureau head, said it was disappointing the NZICC was further delayed but alternative options would be explored "in the hope that we can still accommodate these events at other venues within Auckland, or look to hold these at another time when the centre is open."
Stephens said plans were advancing for SkyCity to launch online gaming, expand Federal St's food, drink and entertainment offerings and next year open a new attraction with West Workshop to showcase the All Blacks Experience.
SkyCity is also going carbon neutral this year, establishing a green fund to offset emissions and fund staff-led carbon reduction moves.