The government may still be open to putting taxpayer funds towards the building of a national convention centre in Auckland, but the preferred option is for private sector bidder Sky City to stump up the full NZ$350 million required.
Prime Minister John Key told media at his post-Cabinet press conference on Monday that reasons for building the centre, such as the creation of jobs and more guest nights in Auckland, would make the deal "pretty compelling."
“As we know, the deal is unlikely to require taxpayer funds, or us running the convention centre. I think they’re all positives,” Key said.
The government was working hard to make sure the centre presented a good deal for taxpayers, he said.
"It can’t just be a good deal for Sky City. But if that’s the case [that it's also a good deal for taxpayers], then hopefully we’ll get there,” Key said.
“There’s always a range of options, but our preferred option is we don’t have to put taxpayer funds in,” he said.
Asked whether the government would still go ahead with building the centre if taxpayer funds were required, Key replied:
“Let’s wait and see. My preferred option is we don’t have to put taxpayer funds in.”