The hospitality industry has got politicians and councillors to support the building of convention centres by telling them that they would help to stimulate economic activity and increase jobs in the area.  There is no ideal level of economic activity so this was just a confidence trick. What they failed to mention was that Convention centres cost a huge amount of money and make very large annual losses, which have to be borne by the ratepayers in the cities where they are located. Convention centres are in reality a huge subsidy to a small number of hospitality businesses. The pandemic revealed that the hospitality industry was very dependent on cheap labour from overseas so not many new jobs are created for New Zealand citizens.   

The Auckland City Council said that they could not afford to pay for a Convention Centre so the Government called for proposals from other parties for the building of a Convention Centre. The directors of the Sky City Casino arranged for the National Party Prime Minister, John Key, to have dinner with them. The Prime Minister took time out of his busy schedule to attend the dinner and the Directors told him that they would pay for a larger Convention Centre in return for being allowed to have hundreds more pokie machines and up to 50 extra gambling tables together with an extended licence and other concessions. They probably said that they had Mike Hoskings, Paul Henry and other news media people on retainers and would get them to promote the National Party whenever possible.  They would not have mentioned all the problems and negative consequences that would arise from problem gambling, so the Prime Minister decided to support the proposal.  The other parties who put forward proposals were not told about the negotiations with Sky City so they were at a disadvantage.   The Prime Minister said that the Government was cash strapped so could not afford to pay for a convention centre. Despite the Treasury advising against the project and a lot of public opposition, the special legislation went through.

Television New Zealand were made to sell their building to Sky city for $10 million and ended up spending $60 million on the refit of another building.

The Christchurch City Council is vastly worse off than the Auckland City Council due to the need to spend billions of dollars on repairing and replacing earthquake damaged infrastructure. Despite this, after lobbying by the hospitality industry, the Government wanted the Council to spend over $200 million on a convention centre.  After some negotiations, the Government agreed to taxpayers paying for the Convention centre if the Council paid over $ 500 million for a stadium which would be little used and make big losses. 

A new Christchurch Convention Centre will have to compete with the new Auckland and new Queenstown Convention Centres and Australian and other overseas Convention Centres so is likely to have large annual operating losses. Research has shown that Convention organisers are not prepared to book conventions in remote locations requiring a huge amount of travel.

A Convention centre is of no benefit whatsoever to the average Christchurch resident and its annual losses will be a burden on them due to increased Council rates. It will delay and divert resources away from many rebuild projects, which are of importance to the average resident.

The thousands of residents living in badly damaged homes in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch did not have an organisation with the funds to lobby politicians or make donations to political parties so their needs were given a low priority.

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