When is a fact not a fact?

(I am loath to get into this debate, for shouting at each other will never achieve anything, however the posts from the anti-stadium people here has been more than reasonable and I feel that we won’t fall into the trap of being offended and start slinging mud at each other)

Quite simply when it is an opinion. This is the case with the fine folk over at Stop the Stadium with the 10 point ‘facts’ of the stadium, that we supposedly didn’t know about. I wish to look at these ‘facts’ and put my spin on them.

1: {opinion} “We predict the real average cost per household is a minimum of $268 per year for 20 years.” This is your prediction, the other side have their own, these are not irrefutable facts, they are opinions based upon assumptions, which as we know in economics is never without ideological bias.

2: {Fact} The escalating cost of steel. “Do you know that the Stadium design has already been modified because of rising costs?” This is a good thing isn’t it. They have demonstrated an ability to be flexible in the face of rising costs (out of anyone but the Chinese quest for development hands). To be able to meet this challenge is a good thing, not a perceived negative ‘fact’. Yes the cost of steel has risen, quite sharply too, but that hasn’t forced the mass closure of developments globally. Indeed, the history of development will always illustrate the costs in historical context. If this stadium was built 20 years ago it would have been half the cost, or if it is built in 20 years’ time, it would possibly cost twice as much. This is never the reason not to do things.

[Update: It has been suggested by the STS that the CST has in fact pre-purchased the steel for the construction. This would suggest that they have signed a set agreed price, akin to locking stock in at a futures market. If true, again this is a good thing, in that the global price of steel looks forecast to continue to climb. Just today the global economic outlook has been upgraded, with Asia looking at 4.4% + growth. Asia is the world construction hot spot, and thus is pushing the price of steel up.]

3: {opinion} University involvement. Regardless of the perception, the reality is that the University will be economically and institutionally involved in this project. I would argue that only those opposed to this development would see the involvement of the singularly largest economic institution in the southern half of the island as a bad thing. I would rather have them buying land and being involved in this in any way shape or form, than not.

4: {opinion} Students to Dunedin: Quite possibly, do you know for a fact? The university and the government do have funding models and it is well known that the university is looking at the path of an ‘Oxford’ or ‘Harvard’ of the south, with restrictions on courses to get the cream of the crop. The STS (Stop the Stadium) view on this is opinion, not fact. There is nothing in the statutes to stop the role of Otago rising, however, looking to become more elite by having world class facilities at its disposal is never going to be a negative thing. Every major North American university and college have sporting programmes and stadiums (almost better than anything in Australasia), why shouldn’t Otago? The issue isn’t that Otago can’t afford more students. Why is it then that Otago just launched a brand new advertising campaign to attract more students south (good adverts by the way). Whichever way University of Otago goes with its funding model (more students or elitism) is up to Otago and the Government of the day, but does not preclude involvement in this development, opinion does.

5: {opinion} Stadium Functionality: This cannot be known until the stadium is built. Even in the peer review documents, which were cautionary (as they should be) they did not state that the stadium should not go ahead or include multifaceted uses – it signalled caution. As stated throughout the threads in this post, to assume, on the whim of journalists with a paper to push and a couple of promoters from the north, that there won’t be concerts and events at this building is defeatist in the least. This is opinion at best, negative at worst. If we are to assume that the stadium is for a dozen games of rugby a year, this development should stop here and now! I on the other hand assume that the people running the business will look to make money out of this and the way to do that is include as many varied uses as possible. I will always feel that this stadium will only fail if management is remiss in doing the singular role for which it was appointed, make money. But also three years out from completion I think it is unreasonable of the STS to demand to know who will be using the stadium from day one, exceedingly so.

6: {opinion} Budget: Why not, and if they do run over budget, really (it’s actually budgeted for)? The international ability of HOK Sports has been proven globally, if they can’t get a project in on budget, there are very few who can. Indeed, there is evidence of developments (sporting or otherwise) on this scale coming in on budget, within the allowable overflow, or even below budget. “Some experts are saying costs could double” is an expression of opinion not fact. This could simply be taken as other experts suggest that costs could be within budget. Opinion not fact.

7: {opinion} “Membership fee: Experts in the field say that contracts like this are all but impossible to pin down.” Your experts say this. There is plenty of evidence which show civil engineering developments (as this is) have penalties built into them. It’s a standard commercial imperative in most parts of the world. There are penalties if costs over run, if time frames are not met and so on. These are simply commercial realities. This is also a matter for the developers, contractors and lawyers to agree on. If they don’t build in penalties that is their choice, but I would be very doubtful (again opinion) if this isn’t done. We are not talking about cowboy development with crooks, there are some fine international reputations at stake here – and don’t think there aren’t. $188m is not a small amount of money, and no-one is going to be lackadaisical with it. Again this is the opinion of some, not a fact, and there is nothing in physics or economics that means penalties can’t be included in final costs, these haven’t been contractually agreed upon yet.

8: {opinion} The Moana pool comparison is a fair one to make. Because by the opinion of the STS, this will not be a multi-use facility which is open to public use day in day out. Others disagree entirely. This is opinion and not fact by the STS. I say it’s a valid comparison to make, others don’t, this does not mean this is a non-refutable fact. However, to assume that it will be open every day of the year to the public is also being disingenuous. Of course it won’t be. I wasn’t around when Moana was built, but was the Crèche / day care centre part of the original development. I watched last year the development of the new offices and gymnasium in the building, these surely weren’t planned from day one. Buildings, structures and uses evolve (look at the British Museum), why can’t the new stadium.

9: {opinion} Economic prosperity or the death nail in Dunners: Again opinion not fact. Fill a room with 100 economists, 20 will say this, 20 will say that and the other 60 will be somewhere in between. I go with the view that if this development is a success, then the rates relief and economic prosperity of the city can only be a positive thing – but again that is an opinion (possibly supported by some economists somewhere).

10: {opinion} He said – she said, with respect to the numbers. Or I’ll show you my poll and you can show me your poll. Again this is opinion. How is it that after the ORC announced that the people opposed to the stadium at public hearings outnumbered those for the development, that very afternoon the ORC was flooded (literally) with hundreds of emails in support of the stadium. Even if we take up the academics’ offer of a poll of the people, this again is an opinion, of some but not all of the people. And quite frankly I don’t trust the people of Dunedin to put anything other than a tartan tea cosy on a park bench to call it a party (whoops, sorry strong opinion – did I bite?). Council is elected to take the city forward and ensure the economic prosperity of the place, while providing for social and cultural diversity and development. I don’t believe for one minute that this development will preclude the council from undertaking other projects, or for that matter for others to come in and develop in this city. I have no doubt that people are against this project in big numbers, as I have no doubt that there are equally large numbers of supporters, those who shout the loudest are not necessarily in the right. I don’t think (unless in the exceedingly unlikely event that it was +90% against) that council should necessarily take heed of such a poll. Council is elected to take bold and brave decisions and in my opinion this is one they must take.

As stated, I am exceedingly happy that the STS people have come here to debate the issues. I started the blog as a place to discuss design and architecture (and support the stadium). I don’t like the design, but then I support Canterbury and don’t like Red and Black, I can live with it. I have opinions of where this development will take Dunedin, others have their opinions. Of the ten points above, however, only one (the cost of steel) is factual, the rest of the fears and concerns of the STS are opinions (valid or not), not factual redress of the development.

Good luck with the meeting tonight, sorry I can’t make it. I hope that all are civil (IMHO I doubt it very much – there are always idiots on both sides), and that concerns are worked through. Of course I hope that you people fail in your ultimate goal, I pray that this development goes ahead. However, through the scrutiny and concerns of the likes of the STS there is the possibility that a more rigorous development will be undertaken. The STS point to the $11m and time taken already by the DCC and ORC as a bad thing. I tend to think (opinion) that this isn’t a light task and I would rather see them spend $30m and say no with valid reasons than spend no money at all planning and say yes to this project. {As stated I will post about the Vancouver Whitecaps Stadium development, which so far has been many many years in the planning. This is a very good comparison to study and one which we can learn much from.}

As the developers are among some of the finest in the world, responsible for some of the best stadiums (and other civil and commercial developments) anywhere, I just can’t see how this development can be viewed by many as a ‘mickey mouse folly’. HOK sports will not put their name to a development that is doomed to fail (opinion yes, but also commercial imperative).

Posted by Paul Le Comte


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, CST, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Events, Geography, Hot air, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, ORC, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, STS, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design

35 responses to “When is a fact not a fact?

  1. Peter Boston

    Compie, great work on this blog. Your enthusiasm, optimism and vision for Dunedin’s future is a breath of fresh air!

  2. Meg Davidson

    ‘Compie said: “However through the scrutiny and concerns of the likes of the STS, there is the possibility that a more rigourous development will be undertaken. The STS point to the $11m and time taken already by the DCC and ORC as a bad thing. I tend to think (opinion) that this isn’t a light task and I would rather see them spend $30m and say no with valid reasons than spend no money at all planning and say yes to this project. ”

    More rigorous development – do you mean more rigorous scrutiny of the plan? If so I would love to think you are right. I for one have no objection to the DCC spending money on investigating the project, which of course is crucial to a good outcome. Spending money and getting to ‘no’ is vastly preferable to spending no money and getting to ‘yes’, I totally agree with you, and I’m sure most STS members would agree. What I do find alarming is that so much money has been given to the CST for this purpose for so little return. At the meeting tonight Rob Hamlin, a senior lecturer at the OU School of Marketing, outlined several questions that he asks his students to consider when scoping a project. In the CST’s report to the DCC which was then peer reviewed, about half of these questions hadn’t been addressed by the CST at all. The rest had been addressed in such a piecemeal and inadequate way that they would have earned a fail grade had they been handed in as an assignment. The CST had nearly a year and $5.7m to accomplish what his students, for assignments, do in 4 months at a cost of about $500.
    Anyway, Compie, it’s late. Thanks for keeping the debate going. The meeting was a very civil affair, 220 people there and the liveliest contribution came from the floor – a suggestion that we should make the councillors who voted for it financially liable for the stadium. We can’t do that of course but it was an idea that certainly captured the fancy of the audience.

  3. Hi Meg I was there (I think I was the only ‘traitor’ in the crowd), and will post my impressions on the meeting asap.



  4. Peter Entwisle

    You ask when is a fact not a fact and answer when it is an opinion. But any statement of fact is also and unavoidably an expression of opinion, so this is a bit too simple. You have to ask is it ONLY an opinion, something we believe without knowing the facts. Or, is the opinion MISTAKEN, i.e. contrary to the ascertainable facts? By ignoring these distinctions you manage to dismiss many of StS’s statements as ‘opinion’ – suggesting ‘ONLY opinion’, or MISTAKEN opinion’ – whereas they are opinions all right, but also, as it happens, statements of fact.

    You also often ignore what is actually claimed – that somebody has said something about some matter or other – jumping instead to brand as ‘opinion’ – again ‘ONLY’ opinion or ‘MISTAKEN’ opinion – a view of the substantive matter, not actually asserted by StS, but which the statement and other facts cast some light upon.

    These glissades may serve well as sales talk or after-drinks banter, but they don’t help to find out the truth or to demolish StS’s serious contentions.

    At the risk of being tedious Compie, and because I think the issue really matters and see that you do too, I’m going to explain what I think is wrong with your various objections.

    1. The prediction of the real average cost per household per year for the next twenty years is not an opinion about how the economy will perform but a calculable arithmetic projection. If the economy grew or shrunk these would stay the same, one of the knowns in a sea of uncertainty.

    2. You depart from your theme of representing StS’s claims as (ONLY) opinions by acknowledging the price of steel has risen, nor do you deny that this has already led to design modifications. Instead you praise the flexibility this shows by the CST. But the point of the StS question is not that adjustments don’t need to be made but that what is now projected to be built is not the structure citizens were told they were going to get. In fact the design has been modified to stay inside rising costs and the chances of building what was promised inside the stated budget are steadily diminishing. No-one is surprised that costs are rising and that this diminishes the CST’s chances of delivering its promises on budget. But people need to know the Trust is stepping back from its promises.

    3. It is not ONLY an opinion but a fact that it is misleading to describe this as a “joint venture” with the university. It is misleading because “joint venture” makes it sound as though the university will share the costs (and losses) of operating the stadium with the city, when it won’t. Those costs (and losses) will be entirely the city’s liability.

    4. Again, it is not ONLY an opinion but also an expression of fact that it is unlikely the stadium will bring more students to Dunedin because of the way the government funds the university. You seem to think that statements of probability can’t be factual because they have implications for matters which aren’t certain. This is widely supposed but is a fallacy. To know if the claim here is true, or a MISTAKEN opinion, you need to know the formula by which the government funds students at universities. It is not well-known but this has recently been changed. In the past the universities received so many dollars per student for however many students they had. Now caps have been imposed and students beyond the cap simply aren’t funded. Otago no longer just needs to get more bums on seats, it has to find extra money to pay for the supernumerary bums and seats. Thus simply interesting more students in coming here is unlikely to see more students coming. This is not ONLY an opinion, but a matter of fact.

    5 You say it is (ONLY) an opinion that the stadium will not be multi-functional in practice, indeed you think it is perhaps “negative” meaning a MISTAKEN opinion. Well, it’s certainly true that it’s hard to know what will happen. Perhaps it would be a rugby venue for twenty days of the year and a sheep-grazing paddock for 345 – that would be multi-functional I suppose. But the best predictions are made from available facts and the CST’s are are at odds with some relevant data. It claimed there will be four concerts a year with 14,000+ crowds. Ian Magan and Phil Sprey of Wellington who organise such events nationally say they never would in Dunedin, covered stadium or no covered stadium, because of the small population. You say the people running the stadium will make it their business to attract such events. But why should anyone suppose they will succeed? This view of yours isn’t ONLY an opinion but pure speculation – not a good basis for spending lots of money.

    6. You broadly characterise 6 as “opinion” (ONLY? MISTAKEN?) but what are you talking about? The claim “We are told the stadium will come in on budget”? The Trust has repeatedly asserted this. Or are you saying that it’s ONLY an opinion “that the independent peer review said that view was based on too many exclusions of necessary items”? Well, it turns out you aren’t talking about either of these facts asserted by StS. What you are claiming is (ONLY) an opinion is the assertion, which hasn’t been made here, that the stadium will not come in on budget. You go on to ask “Why not?” blithely ignoring the relevant facts StS has pointed to that would lead one to doubt that it will. Similarly, saying “Some experts are saying costs could double” is not an expression ONLY of opinion but also a statement of fact. Some have: Dr Robert Hamlin for example. These characterisations are careless Compie. They’re looking past what is claimed to other issues. When it comes to considering those you then just ignore the relevant facts. You also assume HOKSport will be responsible for managing the project. So far as I am aware, who fills that role is yet to be decided.

    7. Again you characterise as opinion (ONLY? MISTAKEN?) a clear statement of fact. Experts do say that contracts like this are hard to pin down. But having apparently (and mistakenly) suggested they don’t, you give us your opinion of the substantive matter. And here your opinion lacks credibility. The landscape is littered from the Sydney Opera House to the Montreal Olympic stadium with monuments to building projects undertaken by contractors who were not cowboys or crooks – or were they? – whose costs went wildly over budget at the expense of the communities funding them. (Regarding penalties have you ever heard the expression “You can’t get blood out of a stone”?)

    8. Once again what you call (ONLY? MISTAKEN?) opinions are expressions of opinion (of course) but also fairly easily verifiable statements of fact. It HAS been said the stadium is like Moana Pool and will be of comparable benefit, and the claim is indeed misleading, not “a fair one to make”. That is because the facility which will be in use, not most days of the year but at least most term days and many vacation ones, is the adjacent university faculty building, not the stadium itself. By contrast, even in the CST’s projections, that will only be in occasional use. Unlike the stadium proper, not just its associated structures, Moana Pool itself has been in daily use most of the time since it was opened. And I WAS around when that happened.

    9. “We are told this stadium will save our city.” You say this is an opinion, but it has been said so -again – it is also an expression of fact. But here StS makes an assertion as well about the substantive issue: that it won’t, because “It will hamstring other projects and activities for two decades.” Yes, that is expressing an opinion – like every assertion anyone makes – but is it ONLY an opinion or a MISTAKEN opinion? Or is it stating a fact? Your reasoning to the contrary is highly unconvincing because it’s viciously circular. You say “IF this development is a success” then the city will prosper economically. But the question is, is there any reason to suppose the stadium will succeed, even in the relatively modest terms envisaged by the CST, let alone those anticipated by its more wild eyed supporters. and the answer is no. Also, even on the CST’s assumptions, it will tie up all the city’s spare capital and credit to sustain its continuing overall losses (when the capital costs are factored in) for downstream economic benefits which are modest or doubtful for the reasons outlined above. Of course the city might prosper for some other reason which might produce some extra money for some other projects. But that wouldn’t come from the money and credit tied up in this one which would be unavailable for anything else. With its overall negative outcomes this expenditure would “make Dunedin a less desirable place to live” as the StS fact sheet says. Yes, economists can be wrong. Let’s hope Dunedin and the world have a protracted boom. But if they do it won’t be thanks to the stadium.

    10. Yet again, it IS an opinion, but a true one, that “We are told the ‘silent majority’ is behind this project”. And again, on the substantive issue beyond this – do most people support the project – you dismiss the available facts which give any indication of what the real case may be. The signatures on Syd Adie’s petition are such an indication, and available for inspection and counting. The ORC’s reported “flood” of emails in support are so far not. Scientific polling, which StS has called for, is much more reliable than these sort of indicators, but you aren’t interested in that. You dismiss the suggested scientific poll as (ONLY) “an opinion”, yet another example of your misuse of this concept to wave away awkward facts. You then say you don’t “trust the people of Dunedin to put anything other than a tartan tea cosy on a park bench to call it a party”. But if you don’t trust the people of Dunedin to express an opinion on the merits of this project (a sensible opinion, or just one you like?), why should they trust YOUR judgment to throw away large sums of THEIR money on a project whose observable shortcomings you are not prepared to seriously consider? The idea that elected representatives should not take heed of public opinion on a matter like this is worse than facile. If it were a matter of minority rights yes. If it were a small issue, not involving minority rights, maybe. If it were a big issue not involving minority rights but urgent or necessary, then OK. But over a big issue, not involving minority rights, which is certainly not urgent or necessary, and where there are strong indications of failure, it would not only be foolish but downright irresponsible not to heed the popular mood.

    It’s good you have this blog and are prepared to debate the issues but you are deceiving yourself by dismissing as (ONLY) opinion the facts which make this project a looming disaster.

  5. Anne Elliot

    This is the clearest and most concise rebuttal, I have yet heard, of the many myths being paraded as facts by those who are ‘positive’ and ‘can do’ types.

    Terrific, Peter!


    {Anne – but how can we trust the claims by the StS, when much of what was presented last evening at the meeting was to say the very least generous with the truth. It is not a myth that the stadium will have less capacity than 35,000. It is indeed a lie to suggest that it will only have 16,500 seats. It is not a myth to claim it will be a multi-use facility. However to suggest that Twickenham is a single use Rugby Union facility is a straight out lie. Where the figure of $15m operating loss comes from can only be imagined in the stuff of fairy-tales and myths. Port Otago (inner harbour) is not a deep sea port capable of sustaining an oil industry, that is in actual fact a lie.

    Sorry Anne, but the myths surrounding this development seem to be coming in greater amounts from the StS than any other source at the moment. Paul}

  6. Cheers Peter

    quick rebuttal (kinda blogged out at the moment).

    Point 1. My point is that, yes households will bear the cost of this development, and yes that is measurable, however, rather than assume the negative, I tend to agree with the economists and view the economy over the next 20 years as actually improving with continual and sustained growth. This will off set impacts to a certain degree, and more so, if the stadium has even more positive economic impacts on the Otago economy. It is quite possible (and valid in argument) to assume that the stadium will have a more positive effect on the economy above what is projected. Thus the DCC and ORC will have increased income and thus enable possible rates relief and/or enable funding of projects supposedly shelved by a cash strapped council.

    Or we could assume the negative and it all goes to hell in a hand cart, but then that will only give ulcers. I believe more good will come with thinking positive and assuming it will work and ventures will spin off from this.

    It’s an opinion.

    2. Price of steel has increased. More than willing to acknowledge the StS’s concerns over this. I’m guessing the CST and every other development large and small globally is rather annoyed at this. Peter to the best of my knowledge we are still being sold the stadium as it stands. They (the very fine architectural firm of HOK sport) have enabled changes only of slight Architectural and Engineering significance to keep costs down. If we read and believe what is in the media, the last I heard we are still the be told the final shape and form of the stadium.

    As an architectural student, you are well aware that structures change and the final form is the outcome of tweaks and refinement. I never assumed what was in the drawings and renderings was going to be the final form, hence the very reason for this blog. I always wanted something more organic, more of the vernacular of the sporting arena. Something that spoke of battle and conflict, something that conjured the historical battle arenas of the sporting world. However as we both also know, form will more often than not follow function – even Gehry and Piano will acknowledge that.

    I believe that they are still working on the final form and drawings. This is a good thing, as this indicates that the rapid increase of the price of steel can still be factored in. Who knows some of the concerns of us about the aesthetic sensibilities are going to be heeded, who knows.

    3. Joint Venture in name, but again if anyone (with concerns) was following the media (not hidden in the small print), it was well known the level of university involvement. I was never under the assumption that this was going to be an economic risk that the university was going to bear. I would have been annoyed that the university would be willing to take on such a venture. I am sorry for those who read the words and none other and came to the conclusions they did, that however, is not the responsibility of the CST, but the individuals willing to jump to conclusions.

    4. I am well aware the funding structure of the University for it’s students. However that does not preclude Otago from wanting students to come here, and by offering them world class facilities, for educational or recreational use will not deter them. What is to stop a corporation, government body or private individual starting something along the lines of sporting scholarships to the University, with the carrot a place in a sporting team utilising the stadium. I mean who would have ever thought that a Texas millionaire would be a massive funder of the Arts and Culture in Dunedin and New Zealand. Anything is possible.

    5. This is a multi-functional stadium. I was astounded last night when Dr Hamlin tried (but failed miserably to the point of actually being misleading and disingenuously so) to compare the stadium to Twickenham as a single use stadium. In this day and age of the internet, it took all of 1 minute to disprove his claims. I know, I was the twat with the iPhone and access to the internet. At times last night I felt compelled to pull him up on many of his claims, but it was your forum and this is perhaps a better forum to do so. Twickenham is a multi-use stadium, and the new stadium will be so too.

    The claims of D-Scene with regard to Ian Magan and Phil Sprey, are unfortunate. They are true that these two people will not be bringing acts to Dunedin. This is their loss. It was measured (and sorry I don’t have the figures on me) but the percentage of people outside of CHCH whom attended most major concerts was actually large. I have no doubt that acts will play at the new stadium, this is my opinion, but again, I prefer to be positive as this is a good way to more forward. There is no law that states concerts go to places other than Dunedin, only the inability of people wishing to provide the facilities and conditions to stage such events. These are now partly being appeased by the new stadium and it’s up to the business partners to make it so. Elton John will not waltz up to the new stadium just because it’s new and flash. However if it is commercially right, he will play on an ice cube in the bearing sea, that is the nature of the majority of performing artists in the world. Lets make those commercial imperatives a reality and laugh at Mr Ian Magan and Phil Sprey at they arrogance. Population has nothing to do with it, The Who are about to embark on a limited tour (as they do these days being over 60) of North America. they are quite capable of filling massive arena, they are also playing in a town of 20,000 people, that’s almost 6 times smaller than Dunedin. The population myth is too easy to bandy about. It’s just not a factor. Or Wellington would have sold out the Metal concerts over Easter. It’s an event management issue and nothing else. I hope you join us Peter at the first concert, as long as it’s to your ears.

    6. Budgets. Peter, the opinion of Dr Hamiln I’m sorry but has now have to be questioned after his assertions last evening. He couldn’t even get basic facts correct, or was willing to be so liberal with the truth about matters, that I was left absolutely aghast at his presentation. And I genuinely was looking forward to being told I am wrong and here are the reasons, 1,2,3 for this. But to be told things like the upper port of Dunedin is a deep water port (it’s not) capable of servicing the potential of the new southern oil fields, along with the out right lies (to be frank) about Twickenham, and the half truths about the Stadium financial failures in Toronto – when the full story is that it is not a major financial success. His claims as to the capacity were also, verging on deliberate deception. I have it on good authority that the maximum capacity is still 35,000. This has never changed. What he was quite deviously working on was reconfigured capacity for say a Tennis tournament or the likes, but that is seemingly not certain with Dr Hamlin. His incredible shrinking stadium was deceitful and a pathetic stunt to alarm the converted masses.

    Back to the Budget, your expert says its possible to double, yes it is possible. Other experts have said it can come within budget, and yes that is quite possible. But no one goes into construction with the view to blowing the budget, and certainly not HOK Sports whom have one of the finest international records to uphold. If they blow this, it will be a big deal for them, as this isn’t a small project and internationally people will take head.

    7, and Peter the architectural landscape is also beautifully decorated with construction projects coming within budget. I will illustrate such projects (or those that came within the acceptable cost over-runs), in detail soon. I will in fact dedicate an entire post to it, but at the moment I just simply don’t have the time. Other projects cost over runs are not a reason to not do something, ever. They inform us how we can learn, because one of the most basic human traits is the ability to learn.

    8. Moana Pool has evolved through time. It is quite possible that what we end up with over time at the new stadium will have the same ‘sporting and cultural impact’ that Moana Pool has created. the multi-functional building as proposed will be more open to the public than the existing Carisbrook is, and of that there is no doubt.

    9. I can not find anywhere the literature which states this will save Dunedin, what needs saving?

    Peter I put it to you in your terms, “But the question is, is there any reason to suppose the stadium will” fail. Again the astonishing claims made last night that operation will run at a loss of $15m are quite frankly lies. Where was this figure dreamt up from, and why was it used so flippantly. The operating budget of the Stadium will run at a profit, and again I have that on very good authority. The $15 million dollar loss, where did that come from. I’m amazed that such a figure could be thrown about with such gay abandon? Quite remarkable.

    Peter every credible economic projection for New Zealand (leave the US out of this, they are not the major determinate on economic conditions in New Zealand, Asia is) over the next 20 years is sustained and prolonged economic growth. I will try to find the Brian Gaynor and Rod Oram quotes on this.

    Despite the claims of the woman at the meeting last night, the stadium will not deter people from moving to Dunedin. It’s like saying I won’t move to Auckland because of that bloody Britomart complex, or Wellington because of the Stadium there – really are your sensibilities that delicate, I could suggest the city is not the place for you. It may deter the odd bah hum bug, but quite frankly if people think they can come to Dunedin to hide form a world of progress, these are not the residents I wish to have here. There is a very fine settlement west of Dunedin which serves fantastic views and food, Middlemarch, they can escape the apparent evils of the big city there. What is less desirable about a stadium with civic roles and potential to enrich the sporting and cultural life of the city. What is offensive is that the city is very much “less desirable” for that bloody great orange monstrosity built in Andersons Bay. Apart from jobs a cafe and the small play ground, adds nothing to the civic life of the city. I would argue that that building is one of the greatest architectural monstrosities ever committed in the South Island, with daily negative impacts on the entire city of which it is visible. The Stadium will not have such a negative impact.

    10. I will always stand by the democratic process of local elections. This is why we have elections. I actually welcome any poll, as I have no doubt will show support for this stadium. However the massive disinformation campaign that is obviously being put into swing by the likes of Dr Hamlin and StS, will only do the city a disservice. I have one small blog (intentionally aimed at an academic debate on the architectural merits of the building), with no media exposure. The StS has now the weight of so called experts (who seem willing to be liberal with so called facts), who’s nemesis is now the big ugly developers, whom are all too easy to portray as evil. Once again, how was Dr Hamlin able to stand up last evening and present such a litany of half truths and lies. But the percieved weight of the badge “Busines School, University of Otago” can only add to his arguement to those who need convincing. I saw head shakes and heard the ‘oohs and aahhs’ which resounded with his more spectacular claims. You see it’s more shocking when it comes from a good Dr from the Business School. I’m still aghast at this (as you may tell). Sod it, lets invite him to back up even some of the most basic claims. I’d love to know how he asserts that the stadium has a shrunken capacity of just 16,500 seats. Or that Twickenham is a single use facility. Does he think we are all stupid. My god, a good friend saw The Police at Twickenham just recently, we do have email and telephones at this end of the world. That very same person runs teleconferences from some of the facilities within the building.

    It is for these very reasons, that the public will not be fed the ‘facts’ and thus will not be able to make informed decisions on the stadium. Peter I don’t believe everything the CST tell us either, remember I am a critic of the stadium design (one day cricket or the very least 20-20 cricket should have been factored in, even more so they are offering a $1Billion dollar tournament in England soon). But I have to assume that what they are telling us is the truth, and until it is proven other wise I’ll take their word on that. Until the meeting the other night I read with interest Dr Hamlin’s concern about the stadium, assuming they were based on sound assumptions, now I will be buying shares in the salt mines for the copious pinches of salt that will needed to be added to his comments to make them palatable.

    As stated, I would rather someone stand up and say, No I don’t Want this, or No I Don’t like this. To me that has far greater credibility than the increasing veil of half truths and lies that are now becoming the disinformation campaign against the stadium.

  7. Anne Elliot

    Hi Compie

    I finally made it to the end of one of your posts :-).

    You say this blog is “one small blog (intentionally aimed at an academic debate on the architectural merits of the building)”.

    It is clear you have an interest in the architecture but I don’t see you fostering a lot of ‘academic debate’. What I read over and over are the words ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, which suggest binary thinking or thinking in ‘black and white.’ This is quite dangerous and generally leads to no greater understanding of the issues for anyone.

    You certainly are passionate about the building examples you cite, but there is more to the Awatea St proposal than being in love with the idea of a new stadium. The feasibility studies are incomplete as are the peer reviews.

    Remember, Stop the Stadium is not ‘anti-stadium’ but against ratepayer and council funding for the size of the project because it has not so far been demonstrated that the economic, social and cultural benefit for the city.

    As for the annual costs of running the proposed stadium, these costings have been done by Nicola Holman, amongst others. Check her blog for some of her diligent calculations, http://awateastadium.wordpress.com/. You might have to search a bit.

    Anne Elliot

    {Anne. The first 11 Months of this blog was all about a level of debate above the classic Syd Ade reactionary stuff. Compared to most blogs this place his a high temple of learning. I was reluctant to debate with the StS as this has side tracked the nature of this blog somewhat.

    Thank you for your observations of my level of reasoning. It may come as some shock to you but by all accounts I am not stuck at anything resembling level 2 or 3 of moral development as prescribed by Kholberg or Piaget. Again, one reason why I was loathed to get into debate about the stadium on the ‘political’ issues, things stay civil for only so long.

    I use the word positive as a counter to the weight of negative talk coming out of the StS. It makes me happy. I would argue that the CST has demonstrated that the stadium will be of great cultural, sporting, civic and economic benifit to the city. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of interpretation of the so called ‘facts’. – Paul}

  8. Peter Entwisle

    Compie, I admire your energy if not your reasoning – and I deplore your conclusion.

    1. You are again overlooking the fact that whatever happens to the local economy the costs of this project to the ratepayer, going on the city’s and the CST’s figures, are a calculable negative for 20 years. That is a fact, (although claiming it is also expressing an opinion, one which is demonstrably true.) I also agree with the majority of the economists who expect the next 20 years to see mostly – and overall – growth. That doesn’t change the above. But then you lapse into your primary assumption that the stadium will have a positive effect on the local economy outweighing its negative ones, and that it might have even more “positive economic impacts”. But this is to ignore (again) all the cited reasons why it’s doubtful to suppose this. You say “it is quite possible (and valid in argument) to assume that the stadium will have a more positive effect on the economy above what is projected”. Well, I don’t know where you studied logic Compie, but you can indeed assume any premiss and deduce from it whatever follows. That should produce a valid argument which means that if the premiss, or premisses, are true, then the conclusion must be also. But what reason is there to suppose that your premiss is true? To suppose it, with any credibility, you must first show what’s wrong with the shortcomings pointed out by objectors, such as those in StS’s fact sheet. But you don’t. And we’re not merely ASSUMING the negative, we’re pointing to reasons why you’d have to suppose a poorer performance than that projected by the CST. This is not merely giving rein to an irrational pessimism, it’s giving due weight to sobering facts. Things won’t turn out well just by “thinking positive” but I suppose it’s good you acknowledge that that is exactly what you’re doing. I have an opinion too – thinking like that can send us all to hell in a hand cart – or to avoidable economic constraint in Dunedin.

    2. I appreciate that what we have been shown are concept drawings and specifications. I was told the designers had substituted “contour steel” for other materials and Jim Harland has confirmed to me in an email it is now proposed to use contoured steel in places. I think people would allow the designers some leeway between concept and finished product. But when the pressure of rising commodity prices is as great as it presently is – and the project price is supposedly fixed – it is not unreasonable to suppose either the project price will be exceeded or the project delivered will be significantly less than what was promised. The CST’s lack of candour about its design changes and assurances about fixed price contracts, despite the often stated reasons for doubting the efficacy of these, don’t inspire much confidence. Again, you don’t address these rather obvious negatives but again suppose the changes may result in a more attractive design, saying Who knows? The available evidence suggests either the price will be exceeded or the project underdelivered. That’s what we know.

    3. Well, here you seem to acknowledge StS’s contention that calling the stadium’s association with the university a “joint venture” is misleading.

    4. I guess this is half good too. At least you acknowledge that even if the stadium interested students in coming to Otago that wouldn’t provide the money to fund them. So you suggest establishing sporting scholarships. But why not forget about the stadium and just put a fraction of the money into funding scholarships? You’d get a lot more than 200 students for far less money.

    5. Dr Hamlin is not a member of StS and his views given last night are not all those of the fact sheet. We know it is claimed that the stadium will be multi-functional and don’t doubt that its promoters sincerely intend it to be so. But their claims about the other uses are either dubious – concerts, conferences, exhibitions – or are redundant – a venue for codes which already have venues elsewhere. Once again you dismiss Ian Magan and Phil Sprey’s claims about the unlikelihood of 4 14,000+ crowd concerts a year, this time by referring me to figures you can’t cite about the profitability of provincial concerts. And again, you just “prefer to be positive” and assume “that acts will play at the new stadium”. Compie, this is a naked admission of wishful thinking. It is true there is no LAW “that states concerts go to places other than Dunedin” but Magan and Sprey’s observations are good reasons for supposing they won’t. As for “population has nothing to do with it”, well, one could add “and pigs might fly”. (And a town of 20,000 in North America is unlikely to be so remote from larger populations as this one of 120,000 in south New Zealand.)

    6. Budgets. I don’t agree with all that Robert Hamlin says in his two reports or last night. Like you I’m alarmed at some of his casual errors, but find his main contentions about cost convincing. He isn’t the only one who has questioned the budget. So has Nicola Holman and the peer review. (By the way Dr Hamlin’s second report is available on StS’s website.) It may be some expert has said it is possible the nstadium may come in on budget. But can you name one who says it is likely whose claims have not already been shown to be flawed? And again, who says HOKSport will be managing this project? The point here is that StS’s claim remains untouched. The CST says the project will come in on budget. The independent peer review has given reasons which might lead one to doubt it. Some experts are saying the cost could double – Dr Hamlin, you’re right, in his first report – but you haven’t addressed his reasoning there to that conclusion.

    7. Compie, your argument in 7 above, your original critique of StS’s claim that experts say it is all but impossible to pin costs down by contract, was that contracts have penalties, contractors with international reputations are not cowboys or crooks, and so, presumably, contracts for such projects are not exceeded. So I pointed to just two well-known cases where they were – the Sydney Opera House and Montreal Olympic stadium, and observed that the landscape is littered with such cases. You reply, but there are also cases where big projects come in on budget. (You don’t have the details but will soon.) I don’t doubt there are such cases, but that isn’t the point. There are good reasons here – cited above -to expect that either the project will be under-delivered, or its price will soar. (Those other cases you are talking about probably didn’t start like this.) Here, we are supposed to believe the contract will prevent economics taking their course. That’s not what happened in Sydney and Montreal, and there’s no reason to suppose it will happen here either. Your counter examples are irrelevant.

    8. Moana Pool HAS evolved through time, but when it opened, the pool, not just the adjacent facilities, was in regular use every day – unlike the stadium proper under this proposal. The difference between it and the present Carisbrook is just that there will be more activity round its periphery. As the StS fact sheet states, it’s misleading to compare the proposed stadium with Moana Pool.

    9. It has been said it will save Dunedin from losing its status as a main centre and even from dwindling away – perhaps altogether. I’ll look out some quotes for you.
    There are good reasons for supposing the stadium will fail, to perform at the level the CST has projected, which are pointed to in the fact sheet and which you haven’t addressed – as I have pointed out. If you don’t like what Robert Hamlin said, consider the DCC’s own staff report which informed their 17 March vote. It pointed to operating surpluses of about $300,000 p.a. but put the cost of servicing the capital at $10m p.a. (p.6 paragraph 5.9.3). This is what the DCC is reckoning this project on and it’s a hefty burden for the city. I personally believe that the New Zealand economy will probably do all right over the next 20 years, whatever some of the speakers at the public meeting believe. But the fact sheet makes no claims about this. It only maintains that the stadium’s impact will be negative and “make Dunedin a less desirable place to live.” I certainly hope, if it goes ahead, other things will make up for that. But what a pity if they have to.

    10. Compie, you do yourself a disservice when you claim StS is putting into swing a “massive disinformation campaign”. That is to suggest StS is deliberately trying to mislead people. You set out to try to show errors in our fact sheet. So far, despite considerable effort, you have shown none. At the same time you have revealed that you haven’t consulted all the sources we’ve pointed to, or refuted any of our arguments, and you’ve openly admitted you like to just assume positive outcomes. Instead of accusing StS of deliberately misleading people I think you should ask yourself if you haven’t succeeded in talking yourself into a fantasy. In your last critique you dismissed our call for a scientific poll as gathering more mere opinion. Now you welcome any poll. I suppose I should be glad of that. And your attack on Dr Hamlin is exaggerated and your account of the meeting a caricature. I realise you won’t be aware that several StS members have also questioned various of the things that were said, including some of Dr Hamlin’s statements. We are not all fanatical doomsayers. But I can excuse you for that because you aren’t to know what we talk about together as individuals. But your judgement from the outside is not thoughtful or considered. You may prefer that people only state their wants and dislikes but that isn’t rational, informed debate – which is what StS would like to achieve on this subject. You have said you are interested in that too. I think you should give us the credit for aiming at that, rather than irritably accusing us of spreading disinformation.

    It was good that you came along, to what can only have been for you an uncomfortable meeting, and I am sorry if it wasn’t pleasant for you. I appreciate your introducing yourself and would have liked to have a chance to talk to you properly but had some tasks I had to perform. Perhaps there will be some other opportunity.

  9. “population has nothing to do with it”

    I will stick by that point time and time again. The Mission concerts in rural Hawkes Bay, or the Rippon concerts in Queenstown are a resounding success. If the right acts are presented, people will come regardless.

    The concert by the Who in Connecticut is in fact in a rural town of 20,000 spread over a large area. The total county only has a population of 200,000 (similar to the southern half of NZ). Population is a red hearing to a bull.

  10. Anne Elliot

    Those concerts are great, aren’t they! There was also Woodstock :-). I know of a small, tiny place in Denmark (population 5 mill), which has managed to get international acts like Madonna.

    I suppose the question is: How often would they come to Dunedin, and as the turf cannot be used between May and September, the grass would not be available for standing or sitting on. I have no idea how tough the turf would be outside those crucial months for use for an event such as a concert.

    It is, of course, a fact that big acts readily play in places that are easy to get to for the artists, their entourage and equipment. For example, I know Bruce Springsteen played in both Hamburg and Copenhagen within the same 6-month period to enormous crowds. People there also have the money more so than here to pay the high ticket prices.

  11. Anne from my understanding of turfs and concerts, it’s a simple case of providing a temporary cover for the grass. I have seen several ways this can be done.

    Like at the ice hockey stadium I saw The Eagles at in Vancouver, simple wooden floor laid over the ice worked. I’ve seen the old Lancaster Park covered in a patchwork plastic matting which protects the turf and is down for less than 24hrs minimising the impact on the turf.

    As for getting an act in and out easily with great accommodation, these are all within Dunedin’s abilities. We have direct flights from here to OZ, and will soon have our very own 5 star Hilton hotel. Also a short helicopter flight from here is the likes of Milbrook etc, which as we know are world class.

    Or they could do like Elton John did in wellington last time he was here, fly in play the concert and fly out without staying one night – plenty of time to sleep on the plane.

    It’s all a matter of logistics and an aggressive marketing plan to capture these acts. Anne, people will find the money to go to concerts, and to tell the truth, the sort of people who go to concerts aren’t your classic south dunners crowd anyway.

  12. Anne Elliot

    The point I was making was not so much about individuals making it to whereever concerts were played but “a fact that big acts readily play in places that are easy to get to for the artists, their entourage and equipment.” Elton John may not need a great entourage but many acts do. Do you remember when the Rolling Stones came to Auckland? 1 1/2 jumbo cargo jet was required at a very large cost that had to be recouped. But I concede that not all acts would require equipment of that scale.

    In any case, my point was that anywhere in New Zealand is a tiny bit out of the way :-).

    What do you mean when you say, “the sort of people who go to concerts aren’t your classic south dunners crowd”? I would have thought that each type of event would attract its followers and that there isn’t a stereotypical crowd irrespective of the type of event.

  13. Peter Entwisle

    Comtie, you might be able to get the Rolling Stones to play on an ice cube in the Ross Sea – but that would not be to a 14,000 + audience – except maybe of penguins. Population counts if you’re trying to fill a stadium with paying punters. The stadium costs so paying punters count. Population counts.

  14. Peter,

    I just don’t buy the argument. All you need to do is demonstrate that if the right acts are booked, and the right promotion of the event is staged, we will have no trouble of getting 14,000 people into the stadium.

    It’s been proven in my case above with The Who. They are playing in a 10,000 capacity stadium in a 20,000 pop town in a rural part of Connecticut, but because the stadium is ultra modern, and it consistently sold out, and the stadium promoters are ferocious in getting acts there. They not only have The Who, they have had many many other international acts there.

    But as it is very difficult to disprove the unknown we are going to continue to chase our tails.

    Anne, the stereotypes I was referring to are simple economic imperatives. Folk from Maori Hill are less likely to go to say the Crusty Deamons, likewise folk from South Dunners are less likely to go to say Coldplay, with exceptions – there are always exceptions to the rule, but we are also allowed to talk in non derogatory stereotypes.

    Dunedin Airport is well big enough to take a midrange jet capable of flying internationally from LA to Auckland to Dunners to Melbourne with the dozens of entourage, and with the likes of the new Hilton and the exclusive lodges in the central area (come on Anne you’d love to host Neil Young of CSN&Y). Imagine me talking positive again – the sin of it.

  15. Meg Davidson

    Paul, why do you call yourself Buck Meadows on Skyscraper City? Just wondering.

    {Lost my previous login, all other names close to mine were gone, and I’ve driven though Buck Meadows on the way to Yeosemite National Park from San Francisco. Funny name for a town which kinda sounds like a joke porn name. So in absence of being able to be me, why not have fun. – Paul}

  16. Peter Entwisle

    Comtie, you are just chasing the dream. Of course numbers and population count. Connecticuct is close to New York. If you want to come out of the dream and start thinking seriously about Dunedin, NZ, try to get your head around the numbers.

    Peter Entwisle

  17. Peter,

    your getting a little silly.

    It’s a good couple of hundred kilometres from where The Who are going to play and New York, plus there’s the small thing of getting in and out of NY, which from my experience driving from Boston to NY, isn’t easy and adds to the drive.

    So how do you explain Mission Estate concerts selling out each year, how do you account for Rippon, how do you account for astounding success of The Gathering in Takaka.

    Dunedin is less flight time from Auk, Wgtn or CHCH for the time it takes to drive to any of those concerts in the rural areas, or NY to rural Connecticuct.

    Mud house is now getting in on the act.

    I’ve said if before and keep saying it. If the the acts are good enough and it is run and promoted right, people will come.

    Take for instance the Pemberton Music festival about to start this weekend in British Columbia.


    It’s about an hour and a half north of Vancouver in the mountains in a town of about 2,500 people. 40,000 people will head there this weekend to see the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Tom Petty, Interpol, The Flaming Lips, The Tragically Hip, N.E.R.D, Wolfmother, Dave Seaman, Matisyahu, Jay-Z, The Crystal Method and none other than Coldplay.

    Come on Peter, in the finest tradition of Field of Dreams – build it and they will come. All it takes is someone willing to do it and do it right.

    My head is so around the numbers.

  18. Plus The Who are playing both Boston, New Jersey and New York – so folk from those towns won’t actually need to go to rural Connecticut a couple of hours away for a concert.

  19. Peter Entwisle

    Well, I suppose at least that’s another admission that you’re dreaming. In case you haven’t noticed the examples you’ve quoted are in other parts of the world where the base population is much larger. It’s great to be carried away with enthusiasm but it doesn’t follow that the Stones are coming to Dunedin.

    However hard it is it’s useful to get real about population numbers.

    Peter Entwisle

  20. Peter Bradshaw

    Connecticut has a very high population density with its population of about 3.5 million living in an area which is 19 times smaller than New Zealand and less than half the size of Otago. New York State which borders Connecticut has a population of over 19 million in area less than half the size of New Zealand. Now if you wanted tens of thousands to attend a concert, all other things being equal, where would you hold it – small town in Connecticut or in Dunedin?

  21. But Peter

    folk in that part of NE US are notoriously poor travellers for even such prestigious acts as The Who. The travel time from NY to the concert venue is about 3-4hrs, while if it was from Boston it would be about 2.5.

    But we can pick minute little bones (you know the ones that you can’t see, can’t feel and don’t get stuck in your throat) or we can just for once in the Kiwi psyche of Doom and Gloom imaging that it’s not bloody impossible to get half decent acts 2-3 times a year of over 10,000+ people.

    Do I once again mention the Gathering, Milbrook, & Mission Estate concerts, the upcoming Mellencamp concerts at Mud House. FFS (yes that is a sign of frustration), I drove from Hokitika to Auckland with a buddie to see Ice Cube and Cypress Hill. I drove the 6hrs from WGTN to rural freaking Napier to see Ray Charles. I’ve flown from Dunedin to Auckland to see Groove Armada, made sure I was in LA a week earlier than possible to see the Who at the Hollywood Bowl. Next year I will be cashing in my air points to get the F1 in Melbourne, talking of which, I flew over there to see a 1 day festival including some of my fav acts such as Resin Dogs, Ben Harper and Fatboy Slim.

    40,000 people endured 8-10 hrs drive to a festival north of Vancouver just this past weekend. What is wrong with you people, is there ever any bloody sunshine in your worlds. I’m guessing there’s sod all motivation in your comments due to the possible complete lack of motivation for these concerts. And if you don’t then that’s fine with me, but do not deny us the possibility to go to such acts.

    And YES they bloody well will come, don’t listen to that rubbish from the promoters up north. Again it’s the equivalent of the F1 promoters in Melbourne saying, he why don’t we skip our town and hold such a lucrative event in your town instead, we don’t need the money, oh and while i’m at it, I’m gonna piss off all of my suppliers and associated business which I have a long established relationship with.

    You people could seriously talk the sky into falling.

  22. Peter Entwisle

    Compie, this isn’t a very good argument. The projections anticipated 4 concerts a year with 14,000 + crowds, not 2-3 acts a year with 10,000+ attendances. The examples you cite of the Gathering, Millbrook and Mission Estate you don’t give numbers for and so they don’t really get off the ground as examples.

    Sparkling your text with “freaking” and “bloody” adds vehemence to your analysis, but not any force. In fact it just makes it sound like a rant. Obviously you’re a keen concert-goer and prepared to go to much trouble and expense to get to the acts you like. But enough people have to share your motivation to make the CST’s projections come true and the hard evidence is they don’t. We may wish the world were other than it is but wishing alone won’t make it so.

    Again, in case you hadn’t noticed, there is no city the size of Vancouver – about 2.1m – 8-10 hours driving time from Dunedin. Auckland, which is a longer drive which involves an expensive ferry crossing, is about 1.2m.

    It isn’t true that Ian Magan and Paul Sprey wouldn’t organise concerts in Dunedin because that would alienate their suppliers and associated businesses in their base town of Wellington because they do stage such events in Auckland and Christchurch.

    You talk about the “kiwi psyche of Doom and Gloom”. You ask “What is wrong with you people, is there any bloody sunshine in your worlds.” You say “You people could seriously talk the sky into falling.” These aren’t facts, or arguments, but expressions of rage.

  23. Peter Bradshaw

    You say,”40,000 people endured 8-10 hrs drive to a festival north of Vancouver just this past weekend.” While 40,000 people apparently attended the festival, it is doubtful that they all drove 8-10 hours to get there as you imply. I don’t deny that some may have done so, but the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce says that Pemberton is only 2 hrs drive from Vancouver.

  24. Peter,

    sorry to be so personal, but it’s not very becoming pretending you are in complete knowledge of the facts.

    I lived in Vancouver last year (for the 3rd time), and as a result listen every day to a couple of the radio stations in Vancouver, Rock101 and News1130. The curious thing about Vancouver is that although pocessing one of the best public transport systems in the world, they (I guess it’s a North American thing) are obsessed with the traffic. Also I guess because this was the first Pemberton festival, there was extra radio coverage, that and it was the biggest ticket on the West Coast all year, the traffic problems getting to and from Pemberton from Vancouver were reported ad nauseam.

    So although, technically possible to get from downtown Vancouver, well at least the lower mainland to Pemberton it’s possible to do it in 2hrs, the traffic north was more or less at a standstill along the Sea to Sky highway. The RCMP were on the radio all day of the start and end of the festival, pleading for motorists to be calm, and while the average travel time was about 4.5- 5hrs, and there were thousands of people whom the trip was upwards of 8hrs. Now that is a simple fact of the RCMP, I wasn’t making it up to be bravado and over illustrate a point.

    The point being, I know for a FACT that it took thousands of people upwards of 8hrs to get to a music festival attended by 40,000 people. And no, it’s not apparently 40,000 people attended, that’s how many bloody tickets were sold.

    Se these are two undeniable facts. What isn’t a fact is the view that you folk hold about the costing of the stadium. That is a view based on the assumptions of some. The above are facts, yours are views and opinions.

  25. Peter Bradshaw

    The reason why I have chosen to challenge some of your assertions is that I believe the proposal to build the stadium is important for the future of Dunedin. A considerable amount of investment money is at stake, a large proportion of which is coming from ratepayers. For me it is too important to be based on hyperbolic assertions or other sorts of misleading information, no matter from which side of the debate they come. I am not, as you may have assumed, ‘anti-stadium’. I simply remain to be convinced of its benefits to Dunedin. You have chosen to start a blog to provide information and tell others about your views and you have invited comments. I respect you for that, but any information which you provide could influence readers in their support or opposition to the stadium ,and , as you have found, there a lot people visiting your blog site.
    Actually, I am currently some distance away from the issue – at least, geographically – I am in the northeast of Thailand. I heard about the anti-stadium march planned for next Saturday and thought I would catch up on events. Your blog was the first website that came up on Google.

    I apologise for any misunderstanding of mine about the reasons for your Everton blog. I read it in the context of the debate about population bases and potential attendances at stadium events. Incidentally, I lived in for a time in Liverpool 8 (Canning Street), Allerton and St Helens and my family lived across in the Mersey in Wallasey and Hoylake. I understand what you say about local parochialism and the general hatred of the name, Merseyside – definitely not accepted by the Wirral elite or by the proud Lancastrians from St Helens.

    I am not, of course, in possession of all the facts (nobody is) and I don’t pretend to be. However, the Pemberton & District Chamber of Commerce says that Pemberton is a 2 hr drive away from Vancouver. That IS a fact – check it on: http://www.pembertonchamber.com/blog/2008/03/pemberton_festival_summer_2008.html
    The Chamber of Commerce may be wrong, but the fact is that they did say it. I accept that the there were major traffic delays, but the point I am making is that Pemberton is relatively close to a major population centre, and I guess that when people bought their tickets they did not expect such huge delays. Incidentally, I notice that what you claim to be a ‘fact’ about the extent of these delays has changed from an implication that all 40,000 punters experienced a n 8-10 hr drive to get there to “…the average travel time was about 4.5- 5hrs, and there were thousands of people whom the trip was upwards of 8hrs.” That sounds more like a personal estimate of yours rather than a fact – an opinion or educated guess based on your knowledge of the area and the media reports. I used “apparently” because one news report I read said the festival “reached its full capacity of 40,000 music fans” and another said ““….the festival attracted roughly 40,000 music fans to Pemberton….”. My experience of the media is that they frequently make inaccurate statements about crowd numbers, but there could have been 45,000 there – I am not quibbling and I never intended to do so.

  26. Cheers Peter

    always welcome input and thanks for clearing things up. Hope the weather up there is warmer than it is here.

  27. Peter B,

    aside from the relative proximity to major population bases (Greater Vancouver not too much bigger than Auckland), I still ascertain that if you have a good enough act (and remember 14K isn’t a big concert, it’s a good size but not huge), people will come no matter what. I mean I’m on the verge of getting on the plane to LA to see The Who again (once is never enough). My parents drive CHCH to Auckland to see the likes of Cliff Richard, and as you may have read, I have driven and flown all around NZ and abroad to see good acts (well the ones I like – can’t see too many of the old dears at StS into Cypress Hill). It’s a very common thing to say “I’ve come all the way from x” to see a concert.

    The stadium is only one part of the equation however, as a mighty fine stadium isn’t any good without the management team to make is a great venue. We need look no further than the previous and current owners/operators of the O2 Arena (the old Millennium Dome) in London (don’t start on pop again – not applicable to argument). Well that is, they had the venue, they had the population and they didn’t have the people to run it – boy what a turn around now.

    So if the management of the stadium is innovative and agressive, I can not see why people won’t come even from across the ditch to see a good act. Back to The Who, they were slated to play OZ later this year and Japan, but that’s been scaled back to Japan. It’s not inconceivable to see an act coming to Auck and Dun only, with folk coming over from OZ.

    All I’m saying is that it’s possible, and attainable, all we need is the bloody building and the people to run it properly.

  28. Peter Bradshaw

    If the stadium does get built, I hope you are right about its potential with an energetic and creative management team. It’s a very attractive vision, and we may be lucky enough to find such a team, but for me the opportunity costs of the dream failing to become reality seem too huge to risk. There are so many other options for spending major dollops of ratepayer money – a range of infrastructure needs including an inovative rethink of public transport and roading, the visual improvement of the mess at the back of the harbour, support systems for a rapidly aging population etc etc. I guess I am a conservative ‘stick-the-mud’ who needs more convincing arguments than enthusiasm, but …..who knows I could change my view ….. at least I am willing to listen and learn about what could emerge.
    PS currently 30 C here and never below 25 C, but rude shock in store fro me next week when I return!

  29. Peter Entwisle

    Paul, you said above:

    “aside from the relative proximity to major population bases (Greater Vancouver not too much bigger than Auckland)”

    According to the “Province of British Columbia and Greater Vancouver Transit Authority (Trans Link) Facts 2008” which is published by the government of Canada Metro Vancouver’s population was estimated to be 2,249, 725 in 2007. According to “Population of Census Metropolitan Areas (2001 Census Boundaries)” published by Statistics Canada the population of the “Lower Mainland Metropolitan Area” of which Vancouver is a part is 2,524,113. By contrast the 2006 New Zealand census put the Auckland urban area’s population at about 1.2m while an estimate published in the New Zealand Herald 21/6/2008 put it at 1,417,000.

    This is a very big difference and I have pointed it out before. It is remarkable you can show such indifference to the facts in a thread you have started called “When is a fact not a fact” in which you take Stop the Stadium to task for allegedly playing fast and loose with facts.

    Not only have you failed to make that case demonstrably you are the one who is doing that here.

  30. Peter, having lived 3 times in Vancouver, I can tell you straight out the figures do not give a true picture of the reality.

    The ‘Lower Mainland” includes a vast area, with municipalities that only ‘technically’ classify as part of of Greater Vancouver. This is the same as saying Middlemarch is ‘technically’ part of Dunedin.

    What I actually mean was Vancouver with a capital V, not Greater Vancouver. Whilst Vancouver city is 600,000 – bigger than CHCH but much smaller than Auckland. The physical Vancouver (you know the one, where the houses stop and the grass lands begin), which includes the Cities of Richmond and Surrey, North and West Vancouver are about the same size of Auckland.

  31. Peter Entwisle

    You’d have to go a long way from downtown Auckland, further than from Dunedin to Middlemarch, to get 2.2m let alone 2.5m people. And Auckland is a lot more than 2 or even 10 hours’ drive from Dunedin, your estimate of the distance between central Vancouver and Pemberton. These are significant differences.

  32. Peter, pedantic semantics. They were not my estimates of the travel time to Pemberton, they were the RCMP reports of travel times on The Rock 101 which I listen to most days. Pemberton is only up to 2 hrs from Vancouver, but for the festival it was upwards of 10hrs. For good concerts people are willing to put up with most things including travel times and uncomfortable quaters (Glastonbury in the tents for 3 days in Rain)

    You’re still missing the point. The CST only want’s 14,000 people at any of the concert events they wish to host. That would require just about the same ratio attending the StS marches (1 in 100) from each reasonable sized centre in NZ to attend. Considering the town of Hokitika provided 10 who attended Cypress Hill and Ice Cube in Auckland in 1994, I could imagine anything possible. Also considering the fine folk of the Cliff Richard club move en mass around the country attending each and every one of his concerts, again anything is possible.

  33. Meg Davidson

    Paul, could you back up this statement please. “The CST only want’s 14,000 people at any of the concert events they wish to host.”
    I’m not disputing it. I just want chapter and verse before I bother replying.

  34. Peter Entwisle

    Paul said:

    “You’re still missing the point. The CST only want’s 14,000 people at any of the concert events they wish to host.”

    With respect I’m not. The CST’s estimates of revenue included originally 4 concerts with 14,000 + crowds per annum, later scaled back to 3.

    Ian Magan and Paul Sprey, the Wellington-based concert organisers have said 4 such evnts a year would be optimistic for Dunedin. In fact three would be.

    The CST has never tried to defend this – unlike you – there are resons to doubt their projections and estimated revenue.

    Your attempts to defend the estimates are not convincing. So the doubt remains.

  35. And Meg you’re missing the point.

    The two Wellington based promoters are not going to sideswipe their commercial partners and local people to bring acts to Dunedin.

    Should the Highlanders play their home games at Eden Park? Should the All Blacks play their home games at Stadium Australia? This is what they are asking to do if we expect Wellington Promoters to bring acts to Dunedin. They would not only incur the wrath of their locals (“why has he taken X to Dunedin instead of here?” – they will ask), not to mention piss off their commercial partners, as it would be the associated Dunedin and Otago businesses that would be reaping the economic benefits of 3 such concerts a year.

    The article by D-Scene was nonsensical and mischievous.

    “Your … not convincing. So the doubt remains.” OMG, really? I thought I had you there. Imagine my ‘thoughts and opinions’ being so convincing as to change the minds of the ardent Anti-Stadium lobby. And here I was just starting to think the StS were wavering over my overwhelming convincing arguments and passion for the future of Dunedin (not wrapped up in a Crochet Blankie).

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