Top economist slags Frankton convention centre option

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An economic heavyhitter lambasts a push for a Frankton convention centre.

Ex-Reserve Bank policy wonk and former Deutsche Bank chief economist Ulf Schoefisch says the alternative proposal is a classic case of narrow financial considerations – like “relieving ratepayers from having to fund the facility” – getting in the way of long-term economics.

Schoefisch, a consultant commissioned by Queenstown Lakes District Council for advice on an economic development strategy, says: “A lack of financial performance of the centre and potential threat of closure would most likely lead to demands for council subsidies – putting council and the region (with the centre in the wrong place) in a much worse situation than implied by a smart and stable funding strategy associated with the Lakeside proposal.

“There are numerous examples where the semi-public good character of such facilities has forced governments to bail out ill thought-out private ventures.”

For full coverage of the council convention centre meeting and to find out why a council boss has told a developer to “put up or shut up” see tonight’s Mountain Scene print edition.