Let’s not do this Justin… The convention centre the city doesn’t want

News this week that Justin Lester is incredibly excited about building a relic from the past, a $150m plus Convention Centre. After years of the city telling the Council it doesn’t want to sink a ton of ratepayer cash into a potential lemon, the Mayor just comes out swinging in favour.

“This project has been more than five years in the making and what it now needs is a favourable decision from the Council.”

Lester and Lavery back $154m convention centre; councillors to vote tomorrow

It’s actually been years in it’s death throes, but that appears to have been missed by the Mayor. 

Wellington Scoop in an Op Ed “Trying, trying and trying again” detail the sorry history of the unwanted Convention Centre from woe, to go, well… From woe, to more woe, and then a death rattle. 

It was almost six years ago that former mayor Fran Wilde told Newstalk ZB that a convention centre was “necessary” for Wellington. But her concept went nowhere – because it was to be based in a casino, which had been soundly rejected by the city back in 1996.

Wellington Scoop continues to point out the folly of the Convention Centre in a piece “How much will the losses be?”

Convention centres were important during the Industrial Revolution. The glory days of convention centres started in 1851 with Britain’s “Crystal Palace.” Yet 167 years later, the Wellington City Council is still trying to sell us one of them, and it appears, again, to be suffering significant optimism bias.

Putting aside the 19th Century thinking, the reality is that – globally – convention centres are struggling and many cities have built these monuments only to find that they don’t return the money promised and end up being a cash sinkhole that ratepayers must continuously fill.

But this is what we have come to expect from the Labour-Bloc that has generously backed Lavery over the last term. Grandiose press releases that amount to nothing along with dubious potential white elephants that if the WCC were capable of actually delivering, would most likely be a massive drain on ratepayer cash. 

It’s election year, it’s started, and we can expect to see more of this use of WCC press reach to promote particular contenders for next year’s Mayoralty and Councillor roles. 

What WgtnCC could do with $154M –
Build several proper recycling facilities; –
Help greaterwgtn buy 300 electric buses; –
Help sarahfree deliver more cycle lanes, faster; –
Build 300 kiwibuild houses (and not 6 storey buildings); –
Open more parks & reserves;

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