SkyCity Gets Convention Centre


SkyCity has won the proposal to build a big convention centre for Auckland but this has reignited a debate about casino gambling. As part of the deal, the casino has asked the Government to consider some alterations to gambling regulations and legislation.

The Government decided SkyCity’s proposal to build a 3,500 seat convention centre between Hobson and Nelson Sts is the best option.

The Government says SkyCity’s proposal is favoured because it offers by far the best level of benefit to taxpayers, the company has a good track record in the convention business and the location is good.

Areas around Aotea Centre, Wynyard Quarter and the waterfront had been also mentioned as options.

SkyCity has agreed to pay the full construction costs of the centre – estimated at $350 million. It will be opposite the casino and proposed is an airbridge over Hobson St, linking the centre to casino.

The PM says any changes to gambling regulations “will be subject to a full public submission process.” The Government won’t be specific but says the “broad areas of negotiation” are an extension of SkyCity’s licence to beyond its current date of 2021 and a proposed increase in gaming tables and machines at the Auckland casino.

Maori party’s Te Ururoa Flavell, says: “We oppose in the strongest possible form any suggestion that will enable Sky City to benefit from special provisions including a proposed increase in gaming tables and machines at the Auckland casino.:

He added: “Every day we see major downstream effects from problem gambling embedded in our communities - family break-ups, workplace problems, increased pressure on health services and the criminal justice system, and for far too many, there are difficulties in even providing the basic essentials of a family life.”

Economic Development Minister David Carter said in a statement: “The negotiations are commercially sensitive, but the Government can rule out any discussion on reducing the age of entry to casinos, allowing SkyCity an internet gambling licence or additional casino licences.”

Sky City Chief Executive Nigel Morrison  says: “We are looking to expand the existing casino and entertainment complex to accommodate the future growth from this development and as Auckland continues to grow as an international world-class city.

“We are about to start negotiations with government on the regulatory changes we need to support the investment in the convention centre development. The Government has made it clear from the outset, matters they will not negotiate on and SKYCITY is entirely comfortable with the Government’s non-negotiables.

“Sky City is simply seeking – and government is prepared to consider – changes to the gaming regulations to extend the term of our operating licence and to increase the scale and efficiency of our casino facilities in Auckland,” Mr Morrison said.

Sky City have said they will aim for the New Zealand International Convention Centre to be opened in January 2015.

Besides the convention centre, the company still wants to straddle Federal St with an extension to its existing convention centre covering 38m of the 190m street, and including a bridge over the street.

Proposed SkyCity design for Federal St

It offered to spend $10m converting the street into a shared space and open up buildings on both sides of the street with ground level cafes, restaurants and retail outlets.

SkyCity plans for Federal St




  1. Matt L says:

    It was pretty clear that SkyCity was always going to win this bid. I The only issue I really have is with them controlling so much of the CBD.

    I do hope the council can use this as a catalyst to the two waying of Hobson St and Nelson St.

  2. Kiran says:

    When will we find out about the federal st proposal. That place really needs to be renovated

  3. karl says:

    Similarly mixed. I don’t have anything against casinos as such (yes, even with some of their social ills - you can’t make those go away, regulation is better than prohibition). What stinks about this is this:

    “The negotiations are commercially sensitive,”

    talk. How about coming clear about what our own government is promising to a private company?

    And yes, Auckland needs to be very clear about what it wants from SkyCity in terms of streetscape, or we will get a bad outcome, with another huge car park on top (or below…).

    Actually - putting the convention centre there only makes the CBD tunnel more sensible. Wonder whether anyone in government will ever admit THAT.

  4. Matt L says:

    karl - not only that it makes sense for airport rail as well, conference delegates would be able to get off a plane, hop on a train that goes into the city and that happens to have a stop with direct access to the convention centre as well as a handful of hotels.

  5. Nick says:

    Money is the winner on the day. I’m guessing skycity could offer the most money to construct this and in turn get to reap more money by expanding their empire. I don’t think its quite right that the convention centre should be joined to the casino. But I suppose there’s about 1 liquor store for every block in the city, so I probably shouldn’t be worrying about moral judements. Also that shared space image looks like the best picture of hell I’ve seen so far. Lifeless, if they put that little effort into their concept for a shared space I’m not holding out too much hope.

  6. Carl says:

    So after we build all the crap down on the waterfront, now they decide to build another “event” area?

    This is after have vector and the waka thing out in manukau?

    Plus they still have the logan campbell centre and the space for all the shows they have out there?

    maybe if we were in melbourne and had the population and the number of shows and exhibitions australia has each year, yes yes and yes.

    Auckland, get real.

    IF sky city is going to pay for the whole thing as its states, why are tax payers mentioned?

    I work in exhibitions, Perth built a stupid Convention Centre here about 8 years ago.

    They struggle to keep it going with its huge halls that are always empty, for the 4 big shows a year they get soon to be 3.

    and now they are 1/2 through another new entertainment centre and this is after they still have the Dome at the Casino and the brand new challenge stadium which was just finished last year.

    I’m all for going forward, but what shows are they chasing?

    3500 seats isn’t much considering the Good Food and Wine show that tours australia has a average floor space of 10,000sqm and over 30k people in and out of the gates in 3 days.

    How many people are honestly going to fly all the way to New Zealand for a convention?

    Most of the worlds conventions these days are in the asia’s or the middle east, due to its locations of Airport Hubs and markets that have buying power.

    and that mixed space design is missing things.

    mainly grass, as if they need anymore concrete, some grass areas and some trees to counter act the heat that is generated from all the buildings would be good.

    Sky City should actually have a green roof, its carbon foot print must be huge…

  7. Patrick R says:

    Ok AC, make consent conditional on NO ADDITIONAL CARPARKING. ha.

  8. Luke says:

    Is this going to be in the same block as the casino?
    Ie on the south end of the block, or is it going to be on a seperate block?

  9. Karl says:

    Patrick R - the funny thing is: Auckland CBD already HAS a very restrictive car parking policy. They will need an exemption from that to have any kind of car park worth (their) interest.

    So the question isn’t really the consent / rules. It is whether they strike some dodgy deal with AC and the government that allows them to IGNORE existing district plan rules and build another monstrosity like the Quay Street car park - for “economic revitalisation” reasons, of course.

  10. Karl says:


    “between Hobson and Nelson Sts is the best option.”

    That area is outside their current footprint, though they must obviously have legal footholds there already.

  11. Matt L says:

    Karl - I believe they own pretty much everything on that block already, except the TVNZ stuff of course.

  12. Patrick R says:

    What is bad for the city about this business is that they have the suburban shopping mall model of internalising entire blocks and commandeering all surrounding streets to feed their vast carparks. This has appalling outcomes for actual people on the street and the fabric of the city in general, as opposed to those who drive directly into the bowels of the building spend their day and money within the thing then drive back to whereever they came from. No good outcome for the city, just a whole lot of violated streetscape. So more carparking.

    Interesting that they even recognise how bad their current building is and want to fix it at least on one side but only if they can steal the street.

    Notice too how many buses are in that picture in the herald, please no more horrible bus stations like their current one. And really? I don’t believe them.

    Also what a miserable looking effort that building is.

  13. luke says:

    @ Patrick
    agreed, building looks hopeless, SKYCITY are known for truly awful designs with terrible urban design outcomes.
    Hope the city council and urban design panel stand up to them and the govt, and make them build something worthwhile, including some shops along the street frontage.

  14. Carl says:

    @ patrick, I’m no building designer but your not wrong there, UGLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    I really do hope someone gets some green space in there.

    A roof top garden or lawn would be pretty awesome!

    not enough grass in cities these days.

  15. Patrick R says:

    Not enough city in Auckland City if you ask me.

  16. Patrick R says:

    No more car parks and a new architect. No blank walls to the street, no internal bus docks. There, now we’ll think about it, Sky City.

  17. Kurt says:

    This sets precedent. There really can be some positives here.

    If we can encourage Sky City to build a subterranean casino that just happens to be on the proposed underground rail loop then Auckland wins.

    They can have all the roulette and crap tables and poker machines their collective black suited little hearts desire warmed by the fires of hell if they help fund it.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>