Christchurch Convention Center Shouldn’t Be Profitable, Needs Government Funding

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“It’s a bit like a swimming pool or a public library,” says ÅŒtākaro CEO John Bridgman. “The value is in the benefits it brings to the city, so we don’t expect it to be a lucrative business as such.”

Documents obtained by Newshub under the Official Information Act show earlier this year that the Treasury asked Ōtākaro for forecasts showing operating losses through fiscal year 2030/31. Details of these forecasts have been kept secret.

“The way we set it up with the operator and the business deal we have with them, it’s better if I don’t discuss it in detail,” says Bridgman.

A month later, a proposal was sent to ministers for approval “to provide funding to ÅŒtākaro to partially cover Te Pae’s expected operating losses.”

The exact amount of funding needed has not been made public, but the government has approved it.

Associate Finance Minister Megan Woods would not be interviewing for this story and revealing how much the government has agreed to cover.

The Crown originally wanted Christchurch City Council to take over the convention center, but they refused, “citing weak business projections”.

Businesses are ready, however, and are waiting for the estimated $ 60 million visitors will spend next year.

“Of the Anchor projects, this is probably the one that will generate the biggest expenses for businesses in the city,” said Annabel Turley, president of the Central City Business Association.

These cash expenses are a welcome gift in time for Christmas.

“We will have the opening ceremony on the 17th and we will have a few test events until December until Christmas,” said Bridgman.

But it will probably be some time yet before the building, all in shades of gray, is in the dark.


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