5 Aug 2012

Tourism professor cautions on convention centres

2:22 pm on 5 August 2012

A professor of tourism says with two new major convention centres being planned for New Zealand, reliance on private money may not be the most productive way forward.

The Government is looking for a public-private partnership or PPP to fund a new centre in Christchurch, while the preferred developer for Auckland, Sky City, will totally fund that venture in return for more pokie machines.

Brian King of Melbourne's Victoria University says for a centre to be an asset, it has to reflect a sense of a global business city, plus quality and culture along with entertainment.

He told Radio New Zealand's Insight that the less government money there is, "the less capacity you've got to have public interest being looked after".

Professor King says any new development should deliver a top-level, international experience, and not be reduced to the lowest common demoninator.