The past two days have been heart-wrenching; watching our under-construction national convention centre burn and witnessing all that hard work - which finally seemed to be getting some momentum - literally go up in
What a huge blow - for the local and national economies; SkyCity; Fletcher Building; the convention industry; and the hundreds of construction workers, sub contractors and tradies employed on the site.
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It wasn't as if the long-delayed $700 million convention centre hadn't already had more than its fair share of trouble.
From the time it was first mooted a decade ago - by then prime minister John Key in November 2009 - it has seldom been out of the headlines.
There have been controversial legislative and licensing changes, donations scandals, cost blowouts, financial woes and numerous construction delays. Completion dates have come and gone and been further extended.
Only recently, the timeframe had been pushed out yet again from the initial due date of early this year to the second half of next year, negatively affecting about 8000 delegates booked for conferences in the first half of next year.
It is too early to know what further delay can be expected after this week's blaze, but it doesn't look good. Suffice to say, it will be a hugely costly setback - and many people will pay for it. Experts say the bulk of the cleanup cost is likely to be due to water and smoke damage. The centre was expected to host the Apec summit in 2021. That is now clearly unlikely to happen.
Thankfully, SkyCity already says it is committed to completing the building.
That is welcome relief. There has been too much invested in the project for it to fail now. And the benefits of the $500m convention industry are too big to lose. But the ongoing saga of liability and litigation has become even more complicated and drawn out.
In the meantime, it is hoped some sense of order can be brought back to the central city for a start after two days of evacuations, traffic delays and detours, health warnings and general chaos and confusion.
It has been a frightening and unsettling time for CBD businesses, employees, residents and commuters, who have all coped well and been generous in offering support, too.
The emergency services have been outstanding. There can be nothing but acclaim for the brave fighters involved in battling the complicated rooftop blaze (and the weather, too) in the central city location with the additional challenges that has brought.
The construction industry throughout New Zealand is under immense pressure. This is the last thing anyone needed.
The convention centre must rise again from this conflagration - this city and nation desperately needs it up and running and starting to pay its way.