Eckhoff, no not Darwin, Columbus, Galileo, please.

Re: ODT Article Sat 3 Jan

I couldn’t agree more with Cr Eckhoff that discourse is the best way to come to an achievable or desirable goal, but simple dissent for the sake of it is no noble endeavour. It is somewhat strange (although not at all surprising) that Eckhoff likens those opposing the construction of a stadium to famous figures of the past. However, unlike those opposing the stadium, the gentlemen mentioned were proven right in that what they were seeking was actually already there, a verifiable fact or phenomenon (a Continent, The Cosmos and Evolution), it’s just that the conventional wisdom of the day denied the existence of such things (ironically more often than not by the church which Eckhoff places high in societal development). Unlike the supposed Terrorist Treat (about as likely as one of Galileo’s cosmic entities landing on the stadium), the false and incorrect threat that Anthropocentric Global Warming and the resultant rise in mean sea level will flood the area, and other erroneous claims, the three historical figures mentioned were proven correct through endeavour and scientific discipline, of something that was real. No manner of hypothesises testing will rise the level of the sea to that of a threat to the construction of the stadium.

Is anyone further surprised that a past member of ACT is opposed to council spending of any kind that is deemed outside of ‘core’ business. Mind you, the ‘conventional wisdom’ which ACT and I could assume Eckhoff adhere to, laissez-faire economics, created the conditions which saw the world to spiral into a rapid global economic meltdown. Further the methods and resolutions suggested by those of the libertarian right to remedy the current economic ills have been disproved. The interventionist policies of Keynesian economic thought adopted buy Bush (this obviously hurt him dearly as he reminded us at great pains “I am still fundamentally a free marketeer”) and other governments globally, are the anathema of policies held by ACT. His reference to councils being monopolies is pure ideology, hardly robust discussion.

I welcome all manner of constructive and imaginative dissent against the stadium. The process of discourse can only be one that leads to more thorough outcomes. However, if dissent is dressed up as ‘fact’ or ‘science’ yet to be so preposterously wrong, then such dissent does not rival the great historical figures, but does the city a disservice. The debate isn’t about positive or negative argument, it is about verifiable facts and figures (once again, Mean Sea Level as a result of anthropomorphic global warming will not affect the site of the stadium, this is not discourse but myth).

Efkhoff is somewhat correct in stating “It would now seem that the building of stadia has become the new cathedral of our modern day society”. Indeed there is a book entitled The New Cathedrals, and several other text addressing the place of the stadia in modern society, concluding that the stadia provides much of what the church did. It is a very fair assumption to suggest that the stadium (or place of entertainment) has overtaken the church as a modern place of worship – a place where identity is forged, a place where drama and near religious experiences are played out. He is of course wrong in claiming “the public pays even if you are not of a sporting denomination”. This statement belittles the debate, as it’s well known that this is going to be a multi-purpose stadium, accommodating a wide range of sporting, cultural, educational and economic activities, not just a sports stadium. He is of course also wrong in stating no public money was spent on the early churches and cathedrals, massive amounts of local money was spent on these. Despite what his ideology may tell him, councils world wide have been (and are still) responsible for the construction of stadia. Even in his Mecca of libertarian free market economic, the United States, councils and states are contributing massive amounts of public money for private business (the sports teams). Because unlike in NZ, stadia such as Yankee Stadium, built by massive amounts of public money are for the use of private sports teams, worshipped by the masses sure, but still public money for an a private company, oh the ideological contradiction.

If we on the pro-build side of the debate see time and time again people throw up all manner of erroneous argument, which despite the lack of validity, is held up as yet another reason not to build, despite the tentative grasp on reality said reason holds, we tend to label such views as negative rather than assume some level of constructive discourse. Cr Eckhoff himself denigrates the debate by assuming many are simplifying discourse, yet manages to reduce the argument to ecclesiastical sarcasm.

If it was at all probable that the stadium;
has x,y or z opportunity cost (broadband, business, industry, water treatment upgrades, pot holes but to name a few thrown up),
is endangered by rising sea levels,
was a valid terrorist target,
had a capacity of 20,000 and declining,
was to cost close to half a billion dollars,
encouraged ‘University Creep’,
was single use,
or that that roof materials wouldn’t work,
or that it was a greater barrier to the Water of Leith than the present industrial plants,
if Mr Smith was correct and the grass didn’t grow
{what have I missed, this list of myths is huge}

then we could include these in so called democratic discourse. However as each of these has been disproved (not in the popular media mind you), how can they be compared to the mighty endeavours of the likes of Darwin or Galileo.

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