Ministerial Statement on the International Convention Centre fireEconomic Development
Mr Speaker, I wish to make a ministerial statement relating to the Auckland fire.
The Government is closely monitoring the situation with the fire at the NZ International Convention Centre and is thankful that everyone is now safe.
Firefighters are doing an incredible job managing the fire and bringing it under control, working long hours to fight the blaze. I want to acknowledge the efforts of the firefighters, Police, paramedics and other first responders. All New Zealanders are incredibly grateful for your efforts.
At this stage we do not know the cause or the extent of the damage. The priority is still on making sure the fire is contained, and that our first responders and members of the public are kept safe.
Earlier today the Leader of the Opposition spoke of the pride the construction workers had shown when he visited the site recently. I also visited two weeks ago and I came away with the same impression. We all will understand their disappointment and hope that the damage is not too great.
I also want to take the opportunity to thank Aucklanders for their patience and the grace they have shown dealing with the disruption and traffic. It’s heartening to hear that Auckland’s hospitality and hotel industry has reached out and offered support to SkyCity, offering to accommodate their guests, and other support. It once again speaks to who we are as a country – always willing to lend a hand, to show kindness and help each other out.
Mr Speaker the Government is monitoring the situation closely. It is too early to say what the impact is going to be on the construction timelines for the Convention Centre and the flow on effects to tourism and businesses in the area.
Once Sky City and Fletchers are able to get on site and assess the situation, we expect to be advised of any delays or the impact on the build.
The Convention Centre project entails significant investment and its impending completion was shortly to have delivered economic development in Auckland, attracting thousands of visitors and stimulating the local economy.
It’s too early to know the impact this fire will have on the hosting of major events. But the important thing for now is that we support the workers, the first responders and affected Aucklanders.
The thoughts of the whole Parliament are I am sure with the firefighters continuing to fight the blaze in intense heat and thick clouds of smoke, and their families.