INDEPENDENT NEWS

'No question': APEC will be in Auckland, despite fire - PM

Published: Wed 23 Oct 2019 05:01 PM
'No question': APEC will be held in Auckland, despite SkyCity fire - PM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says APEC will definitely still be held in Auckland in 2021, despite the destruction caused by the fire at the NZ International Convention Centre.
Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly
Ms Ardern has met with officials at the scene of the massive blaze in Auckland's CBD this afternoon, before speaking to the media.
Watch the PM's press conference here:
Ms Ardern said the first focus was safety, but the second focus was the future ability of the international convention centre, but she confirmed that APEC will go ahead.
"APEC in 2021 will still be held in Auckland, there is no question there, simply the question will be where it will be hosted."
She said it will be "hugely disappointing" for all those involved.
"It had come so far, and to now see this major, major setback of course will be a real blow to that workforce. But I know they'll be as committed as everyone here to see that restored.
"You can see from the outside, it has the potentially to be a beautiful building, it's unique. Now the plan has to be to restore it," said Ms Ardern.
She said the fire meant central Auckland was "not the city that we're all used to".
"The effect of the smoke has dampened down the activity in the city."
She said the number of businesses that were not able to operate was relatively small,
At the same press conference, SkyCity chief executive Graeme Stephens said they hoped to be open and trading by Friday.
Ms Ardern, who usually spends Wednesdays in the capital, changed her plans to meet with Fire and Emergency. She also met representatives from SkyCity and Fletchers.
The fire at the construction site of SkyCity's international convention centre has been ablaze for more than a day.
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