Wellington Scoop

WCC borrowing up to $180m from Green Fund for new Convention Centre

coonvention centre new view

News from WCC and GWRC
The Wellington City Council and the Greater Wellington Regional Council have become the first local authorities in New Zealand to draw down green loans from the Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA).

Under LGFA’s Green Buildings category, the Wellington City Council will borrow up to $180 million for the construction of Tākina, the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Due to open in 2023, Tākina has been awarded a 5-star design rating by the New Zealand Green Building Council for a design that reduces energy use by 60% and carbon emissions by 66% when benchmarked against comparable new builds.

Wellington City Mayor Andy Foster said features like the rainwater harvesting system, smart air conditioning and enhanced thermal insulation would minimise Tākina’s environmental impact as well as operational costs.

“The GSS loan could save ratepayers up to $7.2m of interest over the 80 plus year lifetime of the building, adding to Tākina’s green credentials that are already attracting conference bookings.

“Built to the highest levels of seismic resilience using environmentally preferable materials, Tākina will have display screens to show visitors real-time sustainability metrics, such as water and energy consumption, as well as carbon emissions.”

RiverLink in Hutt

Borrowing under LGFA’s Climate Change Adaptation category, the Regional Council’s $227 million GSS loan will fund its flood protection work on the RiverLink project.

This involves upgrading the stopbanks on either side of Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River, and deepening and widening the river channel to protect Lower Hutt city centre from a one in 440-year flood.

Chair Daran Ponter said as well as shielding the city, the flood protection work would enhance the ecological health of the waterway.

“By making more space for the river we can create more fish habitats, including pools and undercut banks – places where trout, native eels and whitebait will thrive.

“Ratepayers will also be pleased with the reduced cost of borrowing on the GSS loan, which could amount to savings of up to $113,000 each year over the 100-year life of the asset.”

Delivering finance to local government since 2011, LGFA is delighted the two Wellington councils are the inaugural recipients of its Green, Social and Sustainability Lending Programme (GSS), which extends finance at a lower margin than LGFA’s standard loan rates.

LGFA Chief Executive Mark Butcher said his agency recognised the risks posed by climate change to councils and wanted to support their shift to a low-carbon economy.

“We also recognise that we have a role to play in helping member councils build a stronger and more resilient society through ambitious environmental and social projects. This lending will facilitate the local government sector to drive green and sustainable outcomes.”


  1. Ms Green, 20. December 2021, 14:29

    “Smart air conditioning”? Neither sustainable or green. We used to have windows that opened – healthy and sustainable, and fresh air in Wellington – plenty.

  2. Traveller, 20. December 2021, 18:42

    How do green credentials attract convention bookings?

  3. J Chris Horne, 20. December 2021, 21:37

    Surely Covid and its rampaging relatives, plus the urgent need to slash greenhouse-gas emissions produced by long-haul flights, have terminated the era of large conventions in Aotearoa with hordes of people flying here from overseas. I recommend that the floor area devoted to conventions, a.k.a. conferences, be reduced substantially to cater for attendances involving only NZ delegates.

    The interior fit-out should I believe be devoted mainly to an extensive Museum of NZ Film and the Performing Arts. What a draw-card that museum would be and directly opposite Te Papa Tongarewa!

  4. Ms Green, 21. December 2021, 9:54

    What’s ‘green credentials’ about this building whose sole purpose is to attract carbon-farting aeroplanes carrying hot air participants?
    Traveller, it’s not about attracting convention bookings, it’s about attracting green loans whatever they are! Talk about green wash!
    I like Chris Horne’s idea. But then who am I to get it implemented?

  5. Casey, 21. December 2021, 12:09

    Ms Green: Opening windows don’t suit large, and at times high occupancy, buildings as the amount of dust, grit, traffic emissions, lead to high maintenance and cleaning costs. One expects that the system in this white elephant of a structure will have a mechanical ventilation system to filter out the unwanted elements, and be able to run most of the year using fresh air only without the need for mechanical cooling. As none of us are privy to the design of the air conditioning system, its “state of the art” design remains a mystery.

  6. Kara, 26. December 2021, 15:18

    $180m would cover quite a few housing developments that could be low cost to the house buyers.

  7. Wendy, 26. December 2021, 19:53

    $180 million would have gone a very long way to providing the urgently needed open useable green spaces for the huge number of inner-city residents, and do far more towards providing sustainable living environments and enhancing the ecological health of the city, which is far more important than a flashy Convention Centre.

  8. aom, 27. December 2021, 10:09

    Wendy, why would Councilors want to increase the number of usable green spaces in the city when they can claim credit for overpriced edifices to burnish their legacies? Note that the legacy of Sir Frank Kitts is now seen as just a site for more grandiose overpriced structures that the citizenry is supposed to fawn over. Meanwhile, outside of the CBD, the Council owned green spaces would probably be no more than weed-banks if it weren’t for the efforts of a large volunteer force. Meanwhile, what is the $180m for? It appears to be for a building that should have complied with green standards anyway, just as private sector inner-city new-builds should. Surely this cost was built into the original estimates for the extravagant white elephant.

  9. Ray Chung, 27. December 2021, 15:23

    Are there any councillors who can understand what this money is being spent on? Only nine months and two weeks until the next election to get rid of this lot!

  10. wendy, 27. December 2021, 17:04

    aom, agree with your sentiments. I note Frank Kitts Park (one of the very few large open green areas in the inner-city) is now going to have a fale built on it as well as the Chinese Garden, and Jack Ilott Green in the Civic Square is going, so we can kiss those green spaces goodbye. Can’t imagine the inner-city will ever see those size green spaces again. More like trees on corners and little pocket parks cramped into sunless spaces.

  11. Ray Chung, 27. December 2021, 18:35

    Wendy, I asked a few councillors about the fale and they said that the vote approving this didn’t necessarily mean that it was going to be built and none of them had seen any plans nor had any idea of the size. Also there was no money with which to build it and they were applying for taxpayer funding. So I am baffled about why they approved it.

  12. Wendy, 28. December 2021, 13:45

    Ray, I watched that meeting on-line and it was ludicrous. The submitters for the national fale malae gave assurances regarding the project without any hard facts or plans regarding size or anything else. And when there were questions by the mayor about costs which would be incurred by the WCC, the council staff vacillated and clearly had no idea. Yet, given all of this, councillors voted to approve it in principle.

    At no stage did councillors question the fact it is supposedly a “national” project which surely should not be up to WCC to fund or provide the land. And at no stage was there real concern shown for the fact the 22,000 sqm block of green space was under threat in the inner-city, which is so short of green space now it is unlikely that the WCC will ever be able to meet United Nations green space requirements for sustainable inner-city living environments. It was awful watching the lack of concern and care about losing our very popular park on the waterfront.

  13. Ray Chung, 28. December 2021, 21:15

    Yes Wendy. It seems to me that some days the council staff is the dog and councillors are the tail but other days, it’s reversed. I believe the councillors are the governance but to be honest, how many of them understand what this means and what experience and knowledge do they possess to be able to do this? Well, that’s a rhetorical question and I’ll answer it! None, not one iota! As you correctly point out, the councillors had no idea about this fale yet approved it! I spoke with some Pacific Islander friends and they said the organisers presented this without consulting their community and church groups and really, a fale malae is a meeting place where they can all easily go to so if it was really being built for them, it should be where most of them live so they can walk there. None of them live in the CBD in close proximity to the waterfront. Then of course, they have no money to build this or even to commission working drawings or costings and are hoping the government will give them this money and the WCC will give them the land. But the councillors are meant to be responsible to us, the ratepayers and did they even discuss it with us? I apologise if I’ve depressed you with this council but on the bright side, it’s less than 10 months to the next election.

  14. Toni, 29. December 2021, 13:38

    Seems pretty typical these days with local and central government doing what they like without really listening to what the people want, or even given them a real chance to be truly involved, except at the end of a process when really most of what is going to happen has been decided. Sounds like the National fale is going to be another white elephant built to fulfil individual ambitions without reference to the people it is supposedly being built for.

    What’s with WCC desire to build these “national monuments” while the city infrastructure collapses around us, and the city is crying out for more (not less) green spaces. Perhaps green spaces are not monumental enough for their egos.

  15. Geoff Palmer, 1. January 2022, 7:27

    Wow … “The GSS loan could save ratepayers up to $7.2m of interest over the 80 plus year lifetime of the building…” That’s a whole $90,000 a year – on a building we didn’t need in the first place.

    Still, it should pay for a handful of nuts and bolts (and the contractor to fit them) to the five swings, slide and flying fox in the $6,000,000 upgrade of the Frank Kitts park playground.


Write a comment: