30 May 2014

Govt will support convention centre

11:08 am on 30 May 2014

The Prime Minister says the government will financially support a Queenstown Convention Centre, but it wont be anywhere near the $20 million hoped for by the community.

Artist's impression of the Queenstown Convention Centre.

Artist's impression of the Queenstown Convention Centre. Photo: Supplied

Public submissions begin in the resort on Thursday where the centre is being considered as part of the District Council's Annual Plan - but John Key's comments may spook some councillors, who are worried about how much the community will need to contribute.

It's the first time Prime Minister John Key has publicly acknowledged the government will put money into a Queenstown Convention Centre.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council indicates the convention centre will cost in the region of $50 million to build.

Mayor Vanessa van Uden says the Annual Plan will consider whether ratepayers will be willing to pay around $32.5 million of that.

She says she was hoping the Government would put in more.

Convention Centres will form the backbone of the prime minister's plans to increase business tourism. Already centres are planned for Auckland, with Sky City contributing over $400 million to build it.

And the Government will reach into its own pocket to build a centre in Christchurch.

Wellington is the latest city to get off the blocks, confirming a private enterprise development with Hilton Hotels.

But the Prime Minister says he's also considering legislation to enable to Queenstown to levy a bed tax.

Ms Van Uden says public submissions are 65 percent in favour of a convention centre in downtown Queenstown.

She says there are also other options to make up the shortfall, which might include selling the naming rights to the venue.

The Queenstown Lakes district councillors will vote in June on whether to proceed with the plan to build a convention centre.