SkyCity Entertainment Group's controversial new $700 million convention centre in Auckland will be opened during Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's first term in office.

But whether she will open one of the country's largest property developments and a long-awaited infrastructure asset was not being revealed by company chiefs this morning.

Asked before the company's meeting if she would be cutting the ribbon, directors refused to say.

The company's annual shareholder meeting in Auckland heard how the NZICC would be finished in 2019, during her term in office.


However chatting before the meeting, the directors were not commenting about precisely who would open it, saying their emphasis was more on getting it finished.

Labour opposed the convention centre-for-pokies deal which allowed the company major concessions in return for building the centre, now rising between Hobson St and Nelson St.

Chris Moller, chairman, said the project would be transformational.

"The New Zealand International Convention Centre, which will further enhance the development of the SkyCity entertainment precinct in Auckland has begun to rise from its foundations on Hobson Street and Nelson streets in the central city and is already an impressive site.

"When complete in approximately two years time, the NZICC will be the largest purpose built convention centre in the country and a magnet for both New Zealand and international visitors," Moller told more than 100 shareholders in SkyCity's theatre.

Graeme Stephens, chief executive, said the centre would open in 2019.

He acknowldged extensive media coverage of delays to the project being built by Fletcher Construction but said an experienced team was working on the building and it was on budget.

National's deal to let SkyCity Casino install 230 more poker machines in return for building the convention centre just scraped through the House in 2013 by 61-59 with support from Act and United Future. The Maori Party joined all other parties in opposing it.


In 2014, then-Labour leader David Cunliffe pledged Labour would not let the convention centre deal override normal gambling regulations.

"If the convention centre is half built, we are not going to dynamite it," he said at the time. "But we will make sure that the proper anti-gaming functions of government are upheld."