11 Mar 2015

CERA probed on convention centre

5:27 pm on 11 March 2015

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has been quizzed about the lack of detail on Christchurch's planned convention centre - including the project's total cost to the taxpayer.

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An image tweeted by CERA as a "concept image" of the new inner-city centre. Photo: SUPPLIED

The Government has allocated $284 million for the precinct's development but the Prime Minister last month conceded the cost could escalate.

The authority was unable to answer questions about the project's total cost and ownership model when it appeared before a parliamentary select committee today.

The outgoing director of the Christchurch Central Development Unit, Warwick Isaacs, said he did not know the total cost, because commercial negotiations were still underway.

"We are still in a process around the design, the business planning, and the commercial negotiations for the cost centre: we work very, very hard to ensure that the projects we are required to deliver are delivered in the most value-for-money way possible."

Mr Isaacs was unable to say whether the Crown, or its private sector partners, would own the buildings and land.

Labour MP Ruth Dyson said the Government should not have signed off on Christchurch's planned convention centre precinct, without knowing the financial details of the central city project.

Ms Dyson said she did not understand why Christchurch residents were not up in arms about the lack of details available.

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