Wellington Scoop

$154m? $180m? City Council to start building its Convention Centre

The Wellington City Council has lodged a resource consent for its long-delayed Convention Centre, which has a council-approved cost of $154m.

Reporting this today, the DomPost quotes mayor Justin Lester as saying:

“The building will be a major attraction opposite Te Papa.”

Construction, by Willis Bond, is expected to start in August. The Willis Bond website states that the project will cost $180m and will house 2000 conference delegates. The council says the capacity will be 1500.

The resource consent application is not yet mentioned on the city council website.

Ian Apperley: How much will the losses be?


  1. Traveller, 10. April 2019, 10:02

    So they’ve decided not to make the Central Library a priority? They are wrong. The mayor’s own statistics show that ten times more people use the Library.

  2. Local, 10. April 2019, 10:23

    Once we were a proud city with a civic heart, local democracy and staff at its core, an exceptionally popular library, interesting architecture spanning styles across a century, a functioning community centre, a magnificent town hall with splendid acoustics. Now this? Gala dinners…yippee!
    Is the application for resource consent non notified because its effect is deemed “minor” by the Council?

  3. Alana, 10. April 2019, 10:57

    Priorities? WCC ignores everyday Wellington users to focus on the occasional use at the convention centre. And the building will be an ‘attraction’?

  4. Andrew, 10. April 2019, 11:07

    Why will the building be a major attraction? Architecturally it is hardly a Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, or a Len Lye Centre. Now those buildings are attractions.
    I think this will end up more of a Sesqui but with Mayor Lester’s name on the plaque.

  5. Traveller, 10. April 2019, 11:20

    “Major attraction” is not the only dubious claim being made by the mayor. He also claims the new building will employ 550 people. But there will not be 550 fulltime jobs. The reality: most of them will be casual low-paid workers, employed only if and when a conference has been persuaded to use the building. The mayor should first be focussing on fixing the library – which employs people in real fulltime jobs doing work of real value for Wellingtonians.

  6. Tony Jansen, 10. April 2019, 12:03

    Sesqui Mayor heralds white elephant. Nero fiddles whilst Rome burns….I could go on.

  7. Polly, 10. April 2019, 12:50

    Doesn’t anyone listen! Library and Town Hall top of the wish list for thousands of Wellingtonians.
    Tried today to get a copy of the Draft Annual Plan from the Service Centre but there were only two copies and was told I could not take one away but could copy any pages I would like….A very expensive Draft Plan and I had ten pages copied in black and white (not the brilliant colours this document was) once again a waste of we ratepayers’ money.

  8. michael, 10. April 2019, 16:19

    I can’t believe the WCC are going ahead with the convention centre when there are so many other priorities. And, I would like to know where the WCC thinks the 1500 delegates for the anticipated conventions are going to find accommodation, given the lack of hotel rooms in Wellington.

    Once the movie museum was axed, the council should have called for expressions of interest from hotel chains to build a hotel and convention centre – the council-owned land could have been offered to offset the cost. At least that way we would have had a viable concept instead of a “revamped business case” to justify spending $178 million without the income from rent for the Movie Museum.

  9. Andrew, 10. April 2019, 20:57

    Construction to begin before the local body elections – coincidence? cynical? unseemly hurry?

  10. Traveller, 10. April 2019, 21:34

    Unwise, for sure. Voters will know that the council had a chance to reprioritise, but failed to do so. They’ll know that the Library, with 21,000 visitors every week, was more deserving of Council spending than the convention centre, which will never ever attract so many people, and which will be empty between the conferences.

  11. PT, 10. April 2019, 21:45

    Why all the negativity? This is a + for Wellington. We have a great capital city with everything you would expect in a much larger city, all within reach. We need a convention centre with real capacity to bring a wide range of events and people here to experience and enjoy what we have to offer. Build the convention centre + get the Library and Town Hall back in operation – we can do this!

  12. Andrew, 11. April 2019, 1:04

    Geez PT, maybe it starts with the way the council agreed to buy land from a company on the proviso that said company gets to build the convention centre on the same land. Does that sort of thing sit well with you? Smells fishy to me.

  13. TrevorH, 11. April 2019, 7:09

    I’ll vote for anyone who promises to pull the plug on this grotesque waste of public money.

  14. Mark Shanks, 11. April 2019, 8:41

    They can’t even put a cycle rack outside their offices on the Terrace. I have no confidence in this ship with its current captain.

  15. Chris Horne, 11. April 2019, 13:38

    The project will be an inexcusable misuse of ratepayers’ money. It will be a distraction from the essential earthquake strengthening of our Town Hall and Central Library. It will conflict in two ways with the city’s aim to become a carbon-neutral capital by increasing greenhouse-gas emissions:
    1. during construction;
    2. by fostering the use of jet aircraft to fly international and local visitors to and from the capital.
    It would show that Wellington City Councillors do not care one iota for Parliament’s ratification of the COP21 Paris Accord, which commits New Zealand to slashing its emissions of greenhouse gases. By ignoring the threat posed by catastrophic runaway global warming and climate change, Wellington City Councillors are behaving in an appallingly short-sighted manner.

  16. Dave B, 11. April 2019, 21:55

    What is it about politicians that they so quickly get captured by business-interests and so quickly cease to listen to those who voted them in? I had such high hopes for Lester (and Laidlaw) but both have let us down.

  17. michael, 12. April 2019, 10:16

    Like Dave I had high hopes we would get a council that would put Wellingtonians first but am disillusioned. The chances of getting a new Mayor and council are remote. Unless we get a surge in people wanting to stand, we will be stuck with the same lot who will see their re-election as a vote of confidence.

  18. Tony Jansen, 12. April 2019, 11:10

    You didn’t vote for the independents who stood last time. Most people vote either along party lines or for the names they recognise. Why would anyone stand again when half the population cannot be bothered voting or are so turned off by the process and the other half vote for the same old faces that have let us down before?

  19. michael, 12. April 2019, 12:55

    Well I voted for you last time Tony so hope you are trying again. Some of us do go along to the candidates’ meetings to find out where candidates stand on the important issues, but I agree with you others do just vote for names they recognise. Let’s hope people are getting angry enough to make the effort for change.