No public consent for Auckland convention centre
A controversial Auckland convention centre may begin construction before the end of the year, after the city's council announced there would be no public discussion of consent for the building.
The Auckland Council says SkyCity Entertainment Group's International Convention Centre will be issued consent on a non-notified basis, meaning no public input will be heard during the consent process.
A notified consent process would have added about six months to the application.
The council said a decision about approving the application will be made in the next few months.
"The commissioners have considered the environmental effects of the application, as well as the recent decision about the Ports of Auckland Ltd resource consent application, in coming to their conclusion on notification," it said in a statement.
It comes after a court ruling a decision to grant consent to expansions of Auckland's ports without public input was invalid.
SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison in May said construction on the centre could begin this year if the consent process was non-notified.
The centre will be a 3150-seat space, smaller than that originally intended and is budgeted for between $450m and $470m.
SkyCity has already invested $113m, mainly in land.
It welcomed the announcement today, saying it could now move ahead with selecting construction contractors and the building timeline.
"We're pleased that momentum is continuing to build on the NZICC project, bringing jobs, growth, and much-needed economic investment in downtown Auckland," Mr Morrison said.
The centre has been controversial with the relaxation of gambling machine restrictions on the casino group in exchange for building the centre drawing criticism and a stand-off between the group and the government over funding for the project.