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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Hon TODD McCLAY (National—Rotorua): I’d like to thank the Minister for the information he has provided the House, and on behalf of the National Party, recognise the tragedy of the fire at the SkyCity Convention Centre. I also want to recognise the very brave men and women of the New Zealand fire and emergency services, as well as other responders who have continued to work tirelessly to put this fire out.

Along with the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Bridges, I, too, visited the construction site a short time ago. The people we met, the construction workers, showed great pride in their work achievement. This is a significant project for New Zealand. Our thoughts are with the hundreds and hundreds of people who have worked on this project since its conception. For many of them, this was a lifetime of work and they, along with others, will be feeling a profound sense of loss at this time. APEC 2021 is of considerable significance for New Zealand, and a SkyCity Convention Centre is to play a very large part in the way New Zealand will host this international event. The Opposition, the National Party, pledges to work as closely as we can with the Government, because although we now must wait to see exactly the degree to which damage has occurred, it is not conceivable, as we stand here having watched photographs on our televisions, that the SkyCity Convention Centre can play much, if any, part in the hosting of APEC.

We must give those on the ground at Skycity and Fletcher and others time, along with their insurance companies, to work through the significant magnitude of this fire, but we also must ensure that New Zealand is able to meet its obligations in its hosting of the APEC event and many others.

Today, it’s fair to say that this project has not always enjoyed cross-party support in this House. However, it is equally important that all of Parliament puts aside those differences in support of the men and women on the ground of Skycity and Fletcher who are feeling that loss today, and that the residents of Auckland central know that all of the Parliament will continue to support them.