Queenstown’s mayor defends conference centre go-slow


Queenstown’s mayor is defending a information-gathering by a conference centre working party before green-lighting such a facility. 

The resort’s accommodation sector is pushing for a specialist conference centre for Queenstown, saying it’ll help boost visitor nights. 

In a statement on progress to date, mayor Vanessa van Uden says: “It’s not as simple as if we build this they will come. It’s a case of if we build the right sort of facility they will come. 

“We need to get it right the first time and the work that has been undertaken to date will help us achieve this,” she says. 

The working party commissioned a feasibility study which priced a 750-delegate centre at $43.7 million, revealed by Mountain Scene last month. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council will officially consider the study at its next full meeting on Tuesday. 

Van Uden says the report is part of the wider process of information gathering that had been undertaken and would help inform council decisions around moving the process forward. 

“Should the council decide to accept the report, we will then consider what steps need to be taken in terms of delegating further tasks to the working party including seeking formal proposals from interested parties and the preparation of business case, which would be further considered by council,” she adds. 

In order to secure financial support from Government, the process had to be as thorough as possible and the working party had received invaluable feedback from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise in terms of deciding the scale of the any potential facility, Van Uden says. 

“We’ve been working very closely with the Ministry and their advice has helped frame the size and scope of this project. 

“To bring more conference business here, any centre we build has to meet international standards.” 

Van Uden says once all the details are finalised, the project will be opened up for public consultation. 

“Although feedback from the community is welcome at any time, the council would undertake formal consultation should public funds become involved.” 

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key has indicated the Government is open to putting money towards such a facility in Queenstown.