Council backs defence forum venue hire

9:49 am on 15 March 2016

Wellington City Council is sticking to its guns over hosting the Defence Industry Association's annual conference.

Protesters complained about last November's conference being held at the council-owned TSB Arena.

Defence industry forum.

Protesters clash with police at the defence industry forum last November. Photo: RNZ / Kate Gudsell

The council said it would look into the matter.

But in a report to the council's economic, growth and arts committee, advisors found the event was within policy and no further action was required.

The report noted the hiring of a venue by the Defence Industry Association did not breach the city's status - nor the country's - as a nuclear weapon free zone.

"Wellington Venues will continue to assess each application in terms of health and safety assessment and whether it meets the terms of Positively Wellington Venues' Venue Hire Agreement."

Councillor and committee chairwoman Jo Coughlan said the city hosted a wide range of events.

"In this particular case a lot of logistical people are coming together who support the New Zealand Defence Force," she said.

The Defence Industry Association's conference this year would be held in Auckland to coincide with the Navy's 75th anniversary celebrations.

But Association chairman Bernie Diver expected to return to Wellington in the future.

He said the violent nature of the protests last year had been a disappointment.

But Wellington councillor Iona Pannett said she was surprised by the report and would be asking for policy changes.

"An army going into a conflict zone or into battle needs equipment," she said.

"Do we really want to be supporting businesses to be selling their wares, just like you would sell shoes or vacuum cleaners?"

The matter was set to be debated by the council's economic growth and arts committee today.