Tuesday, 24 January 2012


Monday's Otago Daily Times tells us that the Forsyth Barr Stadium has no ability to pay its $2 million rates bill. And the Council's debating how best to handle the $140 million debt they incurred in building it.

Shame nobody warned folks that stadiums are generally bad public investments.

The funniest bit: some Council folks want to adjust downwards the stadium's rates because a large contribution from the Stadium would mean lower rates contributions from commercial firms who are benefited by the stadium's existence. Ahem.

Update: more folks who provided no warning at all that the stadium was a seriously bad idea.


  1. Its the right stadium in the wrong place.
    The Forsyth Barr Stadium would be perfect for Christchurch. Being far smaller than AMI(Lancaster Park), AMI=46000 capacity Forsyth Barr=30000 capacity, thus more likely to hit capacity and being weather-proof its ideal.
    Even being only 30000 capacity Dunedin was unlikely to provide a sufficient population base for it to be viable. Add the potential in Christchurch as an all year concert venue it could do well.

  2. Makes recent financial decisions in Chch look a bit tamer.

  3. "Shame nobody warned folks that stadiums are generally bad public investments."

    In 2007, several submissions from academics and members of the public to the Annual Plan provided evidence to support this point, but the Council chose to go ahead with the project anyway.

  4. @Nicola: you might note that each and every word of that sentence is somebody warning that stadiums are bad investments. One of those links should have been to your particular warnings; remedying!

  5. I'm wondering if I should ask for a 90% reduction of my CCC rates because many commercial firms in the city benefit by my existence.

    1. There are good and bad arguments for rate reductions. A good argument is that while the Council's cost of servicing a building is proportionate to the building's value, or at least that that's a decent proxy, the relationship falls apart for very high value facilities. The argument could be wrong, but it's defensible. But where the potential flow-on benefits of the stadium (which themselves are generally ephemeral, according to the lit) were factored into the decision to subsidize the building in the first place, it's perhaps a bit of double-counting to also use them as an argument for a rates reduction.