Sorry saga of cost overruns, Kerr

### February 11, 2009
Opinion: Don’t subsidise stadia or events without referenda
By Roger Kerr
Stadiums and events involving central and local governments are often controversial. The redevelopment of Carisbrook is a case in point.
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This piece by Roger Kerr first appeared in the Otago Daily Times, August 11, 2006. Roger Kerr ( is the executive director of the New Zealand Business Roundtable.

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See comment by Peter Entwisle at SkyscraperCity on the funding of Wellington’s Westpac Stadium (The Cake Tin) compared to the proposed Otago stadium.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Media, Name, Other, Politics, Stadiums, Town planning

4 responses to “Sorry saga of cost overruns, Kerr

  1. You know what makes me angry about Roger Kerr and the Business Roundtable, is the absolute ideological dogma that frames any of their thinking.

    You could almost read anything they produce and it would be essentially taken from the free market manifesto.

    The only problem is that the events of the last 8 months have illustrated to us perfectly how well the free market is at regulating itself, or even looking after itself. Literally the massive non democratic institutions that control the worlds markets have collapsed and eaten each other in an orgy of greed and waste. That would be fine, but in a very undemocratic way they have taken us down with them, did we get a vote on their comings and goings?

    Another galling point, and this just doesn’t apply to stadia in this country, the massively poor investment in Public (with a deliberate capital P) architecture and infrastructure that business in New Zealand is willing to invest in. It may be a case that there isn’t the money to be made in these ventures, but the right wing ideology that clouds their decision making would assume that these structures simply shouldn’t be built. Where would we be then, Athletic Park, Carisbrook, Eden Park, Lancaster Park, Rugby Park Hamilton, etc all which were screaming out for (re)development and where was the business community – nowhere to be seen.

    He is also being massively disingenuous in his thinking that direct public referenda on such issues is the way to go. There is nothing transparent nor open about the inner workings of Business NZ, I understand that about 10% of reports see the light of day. Add to that the massive public disinformation campaign that has been waged by the likes of the PR companies associated with said organisations for massive public developments that they have disagreed with. Further, it’s called democracy, it bugs the hell out of the NZBRT, but it’s the system of government that the people have decided upon.

    I will never be convinced that referenda will be a good form of government, it was perfectly illustrated in the Homosexual Law Reform Bill saga, in which 80% of the country thought it a good thing that state institutional suppression of a massive segment of society was a good thing. Even more recently the pig headed, arrogant and disgraceful stance taken by the Whanganui City Council headed by Michael Laws in denying local Iwi the basic right to have the correct spelling of their name applied to the city.

    CIR is inefficient, contrary to what Kerr thinks is massively influenced by think tanks, PR firms and pressure groups, the casualty is always the truth.

    There may be a case that these are expensive for cities to run, they may be a strain on the public purse, but clearly illustrated, business is unwilling to provide said buildings, and if Kerr has his way, it would simply be a case that these structures aren’t built.

    And we will all be losers as a result.
    (PS I like once again the way he picks solely on some events and structures that are expensive, there are of course many examples where they aren’t a strain on the public purse, don’t run over cost and are perfectly profitable – but that would dampen a good dogmatic rant wouldn’t it).

    pps, anyone pic up my disdain for Kerr and the Round Table? Subtle I know, but I think I hid it well.

  2. Richard

    “….. subtle, I know, but I think I hid it well!” Yes, absolutely!

  3. Richard

    And that posting has nothing to do with stadium and/or stadia. Nothing at all!

  4. Elizabeth

    Will you be alright Paul. Thought to drop Mr Kerr’s exposé in to garner some reaction. He’s been on this case for some years now, first paper I saw was from the mid-nineties. The name has something to do with it. We’re not against stadia – merely the ‘typical’ funding mechanisms followed by the expensive propping, the inconsiderate unholy drain on councils and ratepayers.

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