By Edwina Storie

An announcement on construction of the Auckland Convention Centre has been postponed.

Talk of MEETINGS NZ attendees this week, along with the New Zealand media, was the controversy over Auckland’s pending convention centre.

Just hours after a Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) press conference at the exhibition on Tuesday in which CEO Alan Trotter anticipated a “positive” confirmation within eight weeks, announcements came that the decision of the new convention centre would be yet again postponed.

The proposed centre is to be funded by SKYCITY, should the New Zealand Government relax the gambling laws. After ongoing negotiations between the two parties, the decision has been postponed another three months to give the Auditor General time to conduct an investigation.

SKYCITY has offered to build a national convention centre in Auckland to the value of $350 million should the government raise the poker machine and gaming table limits of its gaming licence.

“There’s been a lot of political discussion and heat around problem gambling; about the New Zealand Government selling its morality,” Mr Trotter said on Tuesday.

“But from where I’m sitting there’s only one gamer in town, because if this deal does not go ahead there is no way in Hades that either the New Zealand taxpayer or the Auckland rate payer will front up with $350 million.

“What this industry desperately needs is for the discussion to stop and the construction to start.”