7 Aug 2014

Sage asks if public will own $284m convention centre

7:49 pm on 7 August 2014

The Government has unveiled plans for a new convention centre in the heart of Christchurch, including images of what a large part of the city centre may look like.

Watch an artist's impression of the new centre

But the Green Party said a lack of transparency surrounding the convention centre meant it could be a potential white elephant for the city.

The Green Party's Christchurch spokesperson, Eugenie Sage, said the lack of information meant that Christchurch people did not know whether this was a white elephant for the city or not.

She says if taxpayers were putting in $284 million of public money, then it should be owned by the public, like the convention centre before the earthquake.

Mr Brownlee described the centre as a big milestone for a project that will provide a major boost to the economic heart of the rebuilt Christchurch.

The Prime Minister, John Key, said that the firms involved in the centre's construction drew from local and international expertise.

Construction of theconvention centre is expected to be underway in the first quarter of next year and completed by 2017.

Tourism sector happy

The Canterbury tourism industry is welcoming the convention centre, one of 17 anchor projects for the Christchurch rebuild.

The manager of the Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Bureau, Caroline Blanchfield, says following the bureau can now actively seek large international conferences for the city.

Ms Blanchfield said there was already significant interest in hosting conferences in the city and there was now enough certainty to go out and sell Christchurch.