Govt hotel role suggested

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) has suggested Government involvement in helping develop new hotels in New Zealand, easing the way for developers to build the infrastructure necessary for the tourism boom.

The proposed hotel in Moray Pl. Image: supplied
The proposed hotel in Moray Pl. Image: supplied

In Dunedin, a $100 million waterfront hotel was refused resource consent in 2013, and another developer is going through the process for a development in Moray Pl.

At the same time, tourism keeps growing, with a 12.2% increase in the annual spend last year amid an identified need for more beds.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said hotel development had been traditionally left to the market in New Zealand.

''I think there is the case for better planning, some sort of central planning.''

Mr Roberts said he did not mean ''anything Soviet'', but some thinking about what was needed.

''For example, like Dunedin, should we be seeking general agreement on what is needed, and where it might be located, and what sort of facility the city needs?''

That information could be provided, and conflict ''that comes later'' avoided.

Research showed good quality visitor accommodation was needed across New Zealand.

Leaving the market to provide the beds needed could take five or six years, from the time an investor became interested to the time a hotel opened.

In Australia, sites were identified in a city and a package was put together to take to the market.

''We've never really been very good at doing that in New Zealand.''

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise last year launched Project Palace, an initiative to try to sell hotel projects to investors in Asia, the Middle East, the United States and Europe.

Mr Roberts said people had been brought to New Zealand to look into projects, but nothing had yet come of it.

''Maybe it's time ... to review how well, or not, that's working.

''Is there something else that needs to be added to the work they're doing to get those developments under way?''


Oh Right. So we need to let the market decide and get the RMA out of the picture so developers can do their thing, and now the developers want help from the government too so they can take more profit offshore, milking the environment they're doing their level best to rape and pillage while a buck can still be made? The hotels in Dunedin failed so far because their designs have been completely at odds with the character of this city. The Post Office hotel is working fine, incidently. A smaller design at either site with a modicum of design excellence would have been accepted by the people of Dunedin.... but the glass monstrosities, reminiscent of 1970s modernist crud, deserved to be rejected. Dunedinites will welcome a good new hotel development proposal. We are yet to see one.

If the current Dunedin hotel situation shows anything it shows councils, and no doubt government will be the same, are incapable of making sensible commercial decisions. Why the current hotel has council support is beyond comprehension. The DCC says it completed the necessary due diligence on the development, but if that is so they must've discounted all of the very significant failings of this project which include; no track record, no ability to deliver, extremely poor design which doesn't appear to be a 5 star hotel, not financially viable, poor location and non-complying with the council's own considered plans.

I question the economic benefit argument in this particular situation and feel the risk is more biased towards damage to Dunedin's reputation. I do agree a working party should be put together, but it should include the local private sector. There are plenty of very talented property people in this town, and plenty of good locations for a well designed hotel. Surely we can do better.



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