‘October’s vote should not be about “payback”’ – WHY NOT!?

### ODT Online Sat, 6 Feb 2010
Councillors, courts and construction
By David Loughrey
The Forsyth Barr Stadium is rising from the Awatea St dirt at a remarkable rate, but while the opening day closes in, the end of the debate about the issue does not. Senior Dunedin City Council reporter David Loughrey looks at the latest flash-point issue, in the context of a looming local body election.
Read more


### ODT Online Sat, 6 Feb 2010
Issue still very much alive for local voters
By David Loughrey
At this year’s local body election, the Forsyth Barr Stadium will, no doubt, be sitting high on the list of matters voters will consider when they make decisions about the candidate they choose.
Read more


### ODT Online Sat, 6 Feb 2010
Stadium claims rubbish – Farry
By David Loughrey
Claims there have been design changes to the Forsyth Barr Stadium, or any change to the number of seats at the facility, have been scotched by Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry.
Read more

Stadium seating capacity

South stand: 10,784 permanent seats.
North stand: 8450 (6458 permanent seats, 1992 standing).
East stand: 6060 (4324 re-locatable seats, 1696 standing).
West stand: 5220 (re-locatable).
Total: 30,514

8.2.10 ODT Link to comments received about seating numbers.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Politics, Project management, Stadiums

7 responses to “‘October’s vote should not be about “payback”’ – WHY NOT!?

  1. Some observations.
    The tenor of this collection of stories is interesting. They are reporting from the pro stadium side – in the main. The actual voice of Dr Rob Hamlin is missing and Cr Dave Cull’s comments are presented in a kind of back down sort of way. He now, apparently, accepted ‘entirely’ what Mr Farry said about the design. Is this true?
    In terms of the design did the ODT, like D Scene, ask for a copy of the construction plans? In order to verify what was ‘rubbish’. You will remember a couple of weeks ago D Scene were refused a copy of these plans. Imagine paying to build your own house and the person building it won’t give you a copy of the plans.
    The October local body elections are acknowledged with Cr Guest quoted as saying he hoped people did not vote just on the stadium issue, but a wide range of issues. May he well say this, of course. If I was him I’d dearly wish for this too. I’d expect we will hear more of this line – all faithfully reported in the ODT. There will be plenty of unchallenged quotes from Mr Guest between now and then, I imagine. Cr Walls will also be heavily quoted – unchallenged.
    After a long hibernation Malcolm Farry has trotted out with his comments. (Bad move, I would have thought, given his previous reassurances about the stadium have turned to dust.) All he can say is one word ‘Rubbish’ – as he admits. Anyone who wants to refresh their memories of more ‘rubbish’ go back to the stadium debates on Channel 9. The archives are full of Mr Farry’s assertions which have now proved to be total rubbish. It is also interesting to look at the body language of the participants.
    (Interesting side note. Dr Rob Hamlin is stripped of his title (Dr))
    Things seem to be hotting up. The chickens are certainly coming home to roost and we can expect more of this defensive stuff in the ODT over the next months.
    Reading between the lines real pressure is being put on the anti stadium councillors. We can all remember the talk around the council table, at the signing of the contracts, ‘to get behind the stadium and make it work’. For a short while, even the anti stadium councillors seemed to buy this line until further developments showed them that containing the extra costs for the stadium was impossible with a council majority there to give all what was needed for the stadium. The DVML gift of $2.4m showed us this quite clearly. Bad bad look.
    So… fun and games for 2010.

  2. kate

    The design has not changed from what Councillors were told before the big vote last year as far as I am aware. What is not reflected in Cr Cull’s comments are some grave concerns expressed by some of us, including Dave, at the time about savings made then to ensure that the project did come within the budget but unfortunately in confidence. We can only talk generically of them but the CEO did in public this week so I will too – over $1 million was excluded for the turfmaster system many think is in the stadium and is not. The savings amounted to $6.5 million – and so yes as far as we know the design should be as we have been told – I note there is no update at Finance and Strategy this week to suggest otherwise – but that does not mean that everyone knows the design. Is it commercially sensitive? I am uncertain why it would be.

  3. Phil

    This whole “secret squirrel” obsession is becoming rather tiresome. I struggle to believe that some many people who seem to hold down positions requiring a high level of intelligence, can be so plain dumb.

    Apparently the contract was amended after it was publically posted, and to our advantage. But we’re not allowed to see it. Why? We were allowed to see the first draft.

    Apparently the ground capacity has remained unchanged from the original 30,500 figure, but no-one is allowed to view the plans. Once the plans have been lodged with Building Control, are they not public record?

    Is anyone that stupid not to see how these responses are being interpreted? Apparently, yes.

    I wonder what those same people would think if they heard me tell the police “I haven’t been drinking, officer, but I would let you breath test me”.

    All contracts have been let, there is no longer any commercial sensitivity surrounding the construction. Handing over a seating plan signed by the contractor would shut up, once and for all, anyone questioning the stadium capacity. It’s one simple act, that would give credibility to the campaign. This is just smacking of pure arrogance and is serving only to further alienate people from CST and the project. It staggers me how dumb some people can be at times.

    I haven’t heard of the Turfmaster proposal before, Kate. Is that as a turf replacement system, or a turf management system? It’s probably been shifted over to the “maintenance” side of the ledger, away from capital. But still a real cost. Likewise with the lighting rig system that the turf consultant recommended. That cost $2 million to be fitted out at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne. But is most likely sitting in the maintenance list. Ditto, for the permanent fixed big screen, which is part of the MINIMUM requirements to host a Category B rugby test. That was originally deleted from the contract and now falls back on the hirer to provide, I believe. The stadium, as a bare shell, will not meet the requirements. Same goes for the seats, which are now to be purchased by us, not the contractor. For how much? Geez, throw us a bone, at least.

    It’s the entire smoke and mirrors attitude that is just annoying people, and leading to the perception that those running the show are lacking in genine intelligence and are in this purely for their own personal objectives. They are demonstrating a complete lack of respect for the people who are paying for their opportunity to shine.

  4. David

    Phil – even some of my family who are strongly for the stadium have started liberally using the word “incompetence”.

    The problem is that people are no longer surprised. Stadium with its continually broken conditions, that meant nothing in the end, parking fiasco, town hall reversal, Carisbrook, John Wilson Drive.

    How is it possible that just a few months ago there was no issue whatsoever about funding a $45m project along with the stadium.

    Now there’s no way we can afford it.

    What’s changed?


    Just a council that has lifted its head out of the sand to have a look around.

    You have to question whether they’d have the financial nous to do a budget for a sausage sizzle.

  5. kate

    My understanding of the seats, and I am sure there is nothing commercially sensitive about it, is that DVML will own the west or east stand seats, can’t recall which, that can be stored in containers outside the stadium, while the other stand will be hired in when required. I am sure this information has already been made public. The temporary state of the seats mean that when DVML needs a smaller venue eg for American wrestling, the arena can be altered accordingly – there is more flexibility than with fixed seating – equally, the entertainment could be tennis where an extra overlay would also be required for the court, or basketball, but the venue seating can be managed to be full. I seem to be unable to answer those on odt site – I can’t login! Apologies for using this site to answer those on odt site.

  6. Phil

    Thanks for the info, Kate. I guess my only question is why are those extra seats to be normally removed, rather than normally in place? Surely that has got to be more work. What happens if more than 17,200 people suddenly decide to roll on down to the stadium on a sunny Saturday afternoon to watch Otago battle it out against Manuwatu? And want to sit down. Going to be a bit of panic for the organisers. You would think it would cost less to just leave those seats in place, removing them only when that extra space is specifically needed.

  7. Richard

    Phil: It has been referred to in reports, there are certainly no secrets.

    The ‘Turfmaster’ system is essentially reinforcing the natural turf with an artificial combination. It is currently in use on Eden Park, not all of it, just the parts that require more than normal care.

    It is increasingly being used in the US where the climate for growing grass can be marginal. It often replaces ‘AstroTurf’ and similar completely artificial surfaces. I was told when in the US last year that the players like it much more than the 100% artificial ones.

    No-one knows whether the usage of the turf at FB will require the reinforcement. It will, of course, depend on how much the turf itself is used and what the activity on it demands and, of course, how the turf grows under the EFTE roof.

    The Project Control Group decided not to spend $900,000 on something that may not be necessary. That makes sense! It is in the sum provided for contingencies.

    I spoke personally with Jock about three weeks ago, he said there is no problem installing TM at any future time.

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