Friday, 28th June, 2013
It has always been inevitable that the SkyCity proposal to provide a world-class international convention centre would get caught up with social consequences.
“But the fact that Prime Minister John Key has spelt out that the increase on gaming machines that is part of the deal will happen within the context of a sinking lid should be reassuring to people,” said Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett.
“Yes, there will be more gaming machines within SkyCity but there will be fewer in total across Auckland and New Zealand.”
This means fewer gaming machines in uncontrolled environments, and where issues such as problem gambling can become entrenched and end up as a significant social cost to the community, noted Mr Barnett.
At SkyCity there is a controlled environment and where social issues are much more likely to be quickly identified and addressed.
We can celebrate the fact that Government and SkyCity are finalising arrangements to build a $400 million international convention centre to attract convention conferences from overseas on a scale that is currently impossible, and at no cost to tax payers, he said.
Each year the convention centre is expected to attract 33,000 new conference delegates and inject a projected $90 million into the economy. Estimates are that it will create 1000 jobs during construction and 800 once it’s up and running.
With the conferences expected to attract visitors to New Zealand who would not otherwise visit, we can optimistic of a significant flow on of tourism benefits to the rest of New Zealand, concluded Mr Barnett.
For more information contact Michael Barnett, mobile: 0275 631 150.
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Chamber of Commerce.