Malcolm has it in hand

The first major music act to take the stage of the Forsyth Barr Stadium will be announced tomorrow.

We. Are. So. Excited.


### ODT Online Thu, 16 Dec 2010
Elton John set to rock stadium
By David Loughrey
Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium has attracted its first international act, with Sir Elton John booked to perform late next year. The concert follows the Rugby World Cup.

Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry used the occasion to hit back at his critics.

“I’m mindful of the severe criticism from some quarters, who shouted from the mountain tops there was no way we would get an international artist to Dunedin; no promoter would bring one; we were dreaming.”

Read more


### ODT Online Thu, 16 Dec 2010
Concert should prove first test of venue’s flexibility
By David Loughrey
Sir Elton John’s planned concert at the Forsyth Barr Stadium late next year will test the success of the facility’s much-vaunted flexibility.
Read more


On the tiresome matter of public funding…

Malcolm, some questions the good people of Dunedin want answered (actually, this is David Davies’ domain): How much is it costing Dunedin ratepayers and residents, aside from individual ticket prices, to stage this event? What has DVML got on the bookings schedule to follow this, and how much will it cost per year to operate all events at the stadium? Gee, I hope you’ve got that commercial kitchen deal all sewn up. Elton’s a bit of a distraction, a bit like herding lambies.

It’s been interesting to see Phil Sprey’s name coming up lately in our search engine terms at What if?

Oh, and Malcolm, you haven’t yet made the full business case for the stadium build or the stadium’s operation. You are publicly accountable, so let’s be having it. Go on, lay it all out for us, we can take it. Make a clean breast of it, Malcolm – suggest you do this before RWC 2011, you’ll sleep better.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under CST, Events, Stadiums

245 responses to “Malcolm has it in hand

  1. Elizabeth

    I’m not sure Julie Andrews will be a crowd pleaser.

    (how much are we underwriting her for, didn’t we hear a while back from Auckland industry sources that DVML’s been putting it about there’s $1m of underwriting at Dunedin available?)

    But if Malcolm has a line to Oprah he might get Bono thrown in for free. Telling ya now, she can leave Russell Crowe at home. Hope you’ve all been following her exploits at the Oprah House, Sydney.

  2. Doesn’t personally fit with my tastes, but Elton John is the kind of act that they should be hunting for. I’m not precisely sure how, but they need to make sure that it is an ‘event’ not just a show, a little like the winery concerts. That is, he needs not to play anywhere else, and they need to make it seem special. I really hope that however they’re hammering out the F&B contract, that they make sure that there is real flexibility. The kind of F&B for an event like this should bear little resemblance to that for a rugby match, with more premium wine and food offerings. And there should be package offerings. If people are driving down from Christchurch, or flying in from Wellington or wherever, they should be enticed to stay for additional days to experience other things.

  3. Not my cup of tea at all, unless the inside of the stadium is a tardis and when he takes the stage it’s a young and punky Sir Elton.

    Having said that, fan-bloody-tastic!

    Well done, and a big fat BooYah to all the nay sayers.

    This is the exact sort of concert they need as it ticks all the boxes.

    1. Big act likely to all but fill stadium
    2. Hi profile enough that if it works, more will come (test case)
    3. Demographics. It will attract enough young folk, but it will bring in folk from all around the country that have money to spend on the likes of dining out, accommodation and sundry spending. I’ve already been emailed by folk in Whitianga and Hamilton who are coming down 100% (I gotta open a B&B).

    I don’t care if he does put a North Island concert on too. He’s the sort of act who will attract genuine fans from the North for a second concert, while the folks from the South Island will no longer need to fly up north for a quality concert.

    Awesome news.

  4. Russell Garbutt

    A few sites around that show tour dates for various artists – try this one –

    According to that no tours of NZ scheduled, but maybe it hasn’t got through yet. Another site says that there is a rumour that he will be touring Australia after a European tour ending in July – sometime between then and December. So it looks like this will be a “hang-on” to the Ozzie tour. Now it will be interesting to see what financial incentitves have been offered to do the hang-on.

  5. peter

    One box you didn’t mention as one to tick. Is the staging of the Elton John show going to make a dint into the cost of the ratepayer funded stadium?
    Your friends in Whitianga and Hamilton will probably end up going to a North Island concert if, it is announced, so I wouldn’t open up a B and B if I was you. If I was a fan, would I go to an Elton John concert in Auckland? I don’t think so.

  6. Peter — I assume that the promoter’s arrangement will include the exclusive rights to whether other concerts in New Zealand are held within a certain time period. It is not in the promoter’s financial interest to hold additional concerts that would cause them to lose money on the Dunedin concert.

    You might not be the enthusiastic type Peter, but I know plenty of Dunedin people that go to Auckland for concerts from U2 to Leonard Cohen to Roger Waters. People from Invercargill that have gone to ACDC shows in Wellington and Auckland; and Wellington people who went to Christchurch and Auckland Pearl Jam concerts.

  7. peter

    I hope you are right and the promoter is only doing Dunedin for EJ. It would certainly help our little stadium.
    Do you mean you really know people who’d go to North Island concerts even if the same concerts were held closer to home? Amazing. I’d call that fanatical, not just enthusiastic. Oh… I just noticed the italicised ‘and’. They are either comfortably well off or……

  8. Peter — I think we really have to hope for something along the lines of the ‘winery’ concerts. You bring a big name into the country for a one off concert that pulls people in from all over the place, and hopefully has really positive economic spin offs, as the kind of people who are into that have higher levels of discretionary income. The local variety are the type to go to Auckland to see Leonard or Roger

    And for the every show bunch: ‘Fan’ is derived from fanatical…
    Tend to be younger, few commitments, spend everything they earn-ish types, if we’re going for broad brush generalisations.

  9. Anonymous

    Musing on the commercial kitchen – it’s around $2 million fit-out cost.

    If I was a commercial catering operator, that sort of outlay would need to have sufficient guaranteed revenue. That would probably mean an exclusive deal for all events. No outside catering. Watertight contracts with DVML and NZRFU. All event promotions would have to carry a clause saying catering arrangements were exclusively through my company.

    I’d probably want a 5 year deal because I’d have to borrow this money (private, commercial debt). I’d want to make $10 million over that term, to keep my shareholders happy.

    That sort of deal doesn’t get negotiated overnight. But, with those figures, I only need 100,000 visitors per annum spending an average of $20 each. That’s Super 14 plus a rugby Test plus a top-line concert. The commercial kitchen isn’t a showstopper. Someone will take the risk and make a good deal of money. DVML will also make money off that, probably via a concession fee.

    • Elizabeth

      I wonder if University of Otago Union Catering will try it on? – or Otago Polytechnic Hospitality department for that matter, tied to industry training maybe as a partnership with the usual hotel corporate kitchen players… quite a few good opportunities hiding around this one.

      Mind you, if DVML set up the catering operation itself to pour money back into DCC coffers I’d be happy – so we have debt retired a trace earlier. Woops, competing with the private sector is out…

      • Elizabeth

        ### December 16, 2010 – 7:13pm
        Sir Elton John to perform at Forsyth Barr Stadium
        It was announced this morning that the first international act to take the stage at Forsyth Barr Stadium will be Sir Elton John. The concert is to be held in November next year, and locals are likely to get first dibs on tickets.

        • Elizabeth

          Wish-washy editorial. No doubt written by an old square.

          ### ODT Online Sat, 18 Dec 2010
          Editorial: Stadium Rock
          The vituperative tone of the debate over the construction of a new multi-purpose stadium for Dunedin and Otago, when it has not stooped to personal abuse, has often concentrated narrowly on arguments of an economic nature. Not that such matters are unimportant or irrelevant – far from it, they are critical.
          Read more

          We continue to see ODT’s ‘investigative journalism’ (what?) paled when the stadium comes up. So where’s the story about the NZ Academy of Sport or ORFU dependence on major funding from the ‘less than charitable’ contortionate TTCF? Turning a blind eye, ODT?

    • Elizabeth

      The new stadium is compared to a Nigerian Scam, a fair and just comparison, in today’s comments at ODT Online.

      And pablo asks, “As this stadium is supposed to create local jobs, I enquired about the catering and who won the tenders for the RWC. Can someone please confirm what I was told – that the RWC catering has gone to a Christchurch firm over the Dunedin firms?”

  10. Call me a cynic, but isn’t that what the 300-500% mark-up on beer is for? Near universal of course: I paid US$12 for ~US$3 of beer at the Staples Center in LA the other week. In contrast, the food is usually only about double its retail value…

  11. Kiwifly

    give it a rest Elizabeth you and the other three or four negative shites on here are getting rather monotonous …”yawn”

  12. Phil

    I’d been wondering what had happened to our other expert tourist.

  13. Calvin Oaten

    Phil, he had gone away to pupate. And he did. What a bummer.

  14. Kiwifly

    this used to be a non biased site when it wasn’t just run by you Elizabeth, but now it is, it is rapidly going the way of the sts site and heading into mediocrity and irrelevancy. But that’s what happens when the site gets hi-jacked by people with one foot in the grave like that Calvin Oaten chap and you Elizabeth with your very narrow blinked view of Dunedin.

    {What if? Dunedin… is co-authored by Paul Le Comte and Elizabeth Kerr. The site is owned and managed by Paul Le Comte. -Eds}

  15. Calvin Oaten

    Kiwifly: Actually I have both feet in the grave. But I can still see over the edge. On tiptoe of course. And yes, I can still spot a fool without my glasses.

  16. Kiwifly

    only when you look in the mirror tho Calvin

  17. Stan

    {What if? Dunedin… is co-authored by Paul Le Comte and Elizabeth Kerr. The site is owned and managed by Paul Le Comte. -Eds}

    All true at face value, but as someone who reads this site with a morbid curiosity, the cuckoo has truly taken over the nest.

  18. Kiwifly

    well said Stan

  19. Stan

    LOL – thanks for that, it sort proves my point.

  20. Stan

    Sorry – it sort *of* proves my point – it’s hard to type and laugh at the same time.

  21. Stan

    Enjoy – I’ve broken no laws. This will tell readers more about you and the management of this site than it will about me.

    {My management of this site actually speaks volumes. Elizabeth & I will never agree on the stadium, but I quite like the balance and freedom afforded Elizabeth at this site. If you disagree with her or Calvin’s views fine, but find words to express these. I actually read/manage the site every day but don’t feel the need to speak up more often than not- Paul}

  22. Stan

    My 11-year old likes to pretend his threats are jokes when the bluff is called. You really need to grow up.

    {Stan, give it a rest. Elizabeth is hardly going to have us put bots on your IDs. If she decides to tweet you that’s her choice. Let’s all get back to honouring Malcolm at this thread, at least he’s getting Elton to town, all other arguments aside. -Eds}

  23. Phil

    Best just to leave those 2 alone, Elizabeth. If they are true to form they’ll waddle off soon enough when no-one plays.

  24. Phil

    Not so sure about putting Malcolm’s picture up on the mantle just yet. Phil Sprey is obviously doing the work that he’s been contracted to do. Don’t quite see the connection with Malcolm there. As has been mentioned earlier, performers will go pretty much wherever someone is willing to pay them. Elton’s performance reviews over the past few years aren’t quite at the stellar level they were 10+ years ago. So Phil has hopefully been able to negotiate a reasonable performance fee. Still, I would say that Elton would want probably at least $500k to set a foot out on stage. (Just guessing there, mind, being a non former rockstar myself). And his production costs, transport from his previous concert site etc, are probably about the same amount again. We know that Phil’s promotion company doesn’t have any money, he’s been quite public about that, so the venue provider will need to underwrite the costs and fees. What we have to make sure of now is that the underwriter (who is likely to be DCHL) doesn’t have to pay out any of that money. Sewing up an exclusive performance deal within NZ is one way to ensure maximum patronage, but it is likely that Elton would want some kind of compensation for the potential loss of earnings from other venues. So that’s a bit of a juggling act. Still, now that it’s booked, let’s all hope it’s a winner.

    • Elizabeth

      The original press release was in conjunction with Dunedin Venues, that is David Davies, CEO. Why Malcolm fronted it for ODT, not sure. Apart from this release there has been little new information available via the media.

      ### Thursday, 16 December 2010, 9:53 am
      Press Release: Capital Concerts
      Strictly Embargoed until Thursday December 16, 2010 – 9am

      The Waiting is Over! Elton John to be the First!
      Capital C: Concerts in conjunction with Dunedin Venues are proud to announce the first major global artist to perform in concert in Dunedin’s New Forsyth Barr Stadium will be Sir Elton John.
      Read more


      ### Published: 8:32AM Thursday December 16, 2010
      Sir Elton John coming to NZ
      Source: ONE News
      Sir Elton John has been confirmed as the first big concert signing for Dunedin’s new covered stadium. He will perform to a potential 30,000 crowd late next year after the stadium has hosted its three Rugby World Cup Pool matches. The International Rugby Board has been assured the stadium will be completed in time for the World Cup. Sir Elton’s last visit to New Zealand was in 2007 when he performed at New Plymouth’s TSB Bowl of Brooklands.
      TVNZ link


      ### Thu, 16 Dec 2010 9:00a.m.
      Elton John to play Dunedin concert
      By staff
      For the first time in more than 20 years, Sir Elton John will perform in the South Island. Promoters have today confirmed a 2011 concert at Dunedin’s new Forsyth Barr Stadium – making Elton John the first global artist to perform there.
      Read more

      {Point taken, Dunedin Venues, not Malcolm, is the party to thank for Elton’s coming. Might crack out Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) for a nostalgia trip. -Eds}

  25. Stan

    {Stan, give it a rest. Elizabeth is hardly going to have us put bots on your IDs. If she decides to tweet you that’s her choice. Let’s all get back to honouring Malcolm at this thread, at least he’s getting Elton to town, all other arguments aside. -Eds}

    LOL – ok, ok (whoever this particular “Eds” is). I think I’ve made my point and Elizabeth’s pointless threats have got the message home.

    On a cheerier note – happy and safe holidays to all here. That includes you Elizabeth, I don’t take your comments personally.

  26. peter

    The Saturday editorial, Stadium Rock, is indeed wishy washy. The economic argument against it is finally acknowledged, by the ODT itself, in the first paragraph. Now we are to compare its ‘social function’ to amphitheatres, concert halls and cathedrals. What nonsense. This is the kind of crap served up by bogans on the FB website, who cheerlead with vacuous comments, and whose moderators can’t even answer tricky questions. The paper also takes a shot at people who haven’t been very nice with their language, forgetting their own obvious attempts to disparage people connected to the anti stadium movement and thereby serve the interests of those pushing for the stadium. Of course it has backfired on them.
    This kind of journalism is of the lowest grade and it’s about time the ODT sharpened up its act. Investigative journalism is what is required, but I’m not holding out any hope.

  27. You’re implying some sort of conspiracy going on. Hmph

  28. peter

    I guess the US government says much the same about Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Don’t let the truth get out. Try to ‘kill off’ those who ask difficult questions – especially when a lot of money is at stake. May I remind you, Paul, of your own attempts to disparage with abuse.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Monday 27 December 2010 (page 16)
      Letters to the editor
      Elton John
      By Peter Attwooll, Dunedin
      Mayor Dave Cull has promised to bring more transparency to council decision making, including stadium decisions. In light of this, could he confirm whether the Elton John concert, proposed for next year, has been underwritten by the ratepayers?

      [Mayor Dave Cull replies: “The answer to Mr Attwooll’s question is no.”]


      I’m guessing this doesn’t mean the concert isn’t underwritten by DVML. More questions should be asked, since Mayor Cull’s response is a little too brief.

  29. Richard

    Mmhh. I would respectfully suggest you are leaving yourself open to the classic response, ie what part of NO do you not understand.

    • Elizabeth

      No can mean a heck of a lot of things. No often means the avoidance of any explanation that would clarify what is rightfully the people’s to know about a given situation. No is a keep the people in their place and uninformed kind of answer. No means we expect more of the politician than flippancy. These are just the beginnings of the part of NO that I fully understand.

      • Elizabeth

        Latest. Newstalk ZB is advertising the Elton John concert at the Fubar Stadium, heard today.


        In other news:

        ### ODT Online Tue, 28 Dec 2010
        Elton John becomes a father
        Sir Elton John is holding close a new tiny dancer. The piano man and his husband, David Furnish, have become parents to a 7-pound, 15-ounce baby boy born on Christmas Day.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 13 Jan 2011
          Elton John concert date announced
          Elton John will perform at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday, November 25. The date was announced today by promoter Phil Sprey of Capital C: Concerts. Booking information, including prices, is due to be announced next week.
          Read more

          Diaried that date for hair washing!

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 20 Jan 2011
          Ratepayers to get first shot at Sir Elton tickets
          Otago ratepayers will get first option on tickets to Elton John’s concert at Forsyth Barr Stadium in November. A special 10-day early booking period is being given to Otago ratepayers, Dunedin Venues and promoter CapitalC:Concerts announced today.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 20/01/2011 – 4:41pm.
          Comment by Max Burns on Answers to Elton John questions
          Addressed specifically to ‘Barnaby’ and ‘Fmr CA’:
          Thank God most Dunedin people are informed and supportive of the new stadium and the upcoming Elton John Concert. As a staff member at Capital C: Concerts, which is promoting the Elton John concert, I can assure you that the artist, the staff, the equipment and the marketing….. in fact everything is being paid for by the promoter. Not the city. The company has a commercial contract with Dunedin Venues and is ‘hiring’ the facility. Yes, paying to be there. Today a special ratepayers’ offer was made, by the promoter in support of the stadium and to help make the venue a success into the future. The promoter, my boss, has taken a huge risk by spending millions to get the great artist to Dunedin when others seldomly venture outside Auckland.

          Max Burns,
          Capital C Concerts
          ODT Link

        • Elizabeth


          @UglyBobNZ Ticket information for Elton John at Forsyth Barr Stadium:**187&quickseatsButton.x=10

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Sun, 30/01/2011 – 9:45am.
          Comment by Max Burns on Don’t let facts get in the way -Jimmy
          Jimmy Jones seems to have more information than we do…..and we are the ones hiring the venue for the concert.
          Read more

          Oddly, Max Burns of Capital C promoters is bothering to blog…

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Tue, 8 Feb 2011
          Concert queue-jumping alleged
          By Nigel Benson
          Allegations of queue jumping are dogging Dunedin’s new Forsyth Barr Stadium before it has even opened.
          ODT subscribers and local ratepayers could buy tickets through TicketDirect from 9am on February 14, while sales to the general public would be delayed until February 24.
          Read more


          This from Reader at ODT Online: Anyone can get tickets on the 14th

          Oh, and Max: Elton John rumours

          Farsighted might be right… Back to the old days

          Yet, Max says, at Honesty please, “No-one has tickets to Elton John yet.”

          Something’s going on.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Wed, 9 Feb 2011
          Elton John promoter says criticism ‘ungracious’
          By Nigel Benson
          The promoter behind the Elton John concert in the new Forsyth Barr Stadium has hit back at criticism of ticketing for the event, describing the reaction as “astoundingly ungracious”.
          Read more

  30. This does raise the question:
    As ratepayers are guaranteeing the debts of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, what limitation is the Dunedin City Council placing on DVML in risking losing money in promoting or guaranteeing events?
    The deputy-chairman of DVML is Peter Stubbs, who is chairman of The Edge, which manages the venues of the Auckland City Council. He certainly knows about the risks of event management: The Edge lost $1.9 million promoting My Fair Lady. This is even more than the $1.8 million Auckland Regional Council lost on David Beckham.

  31. James

    A touch off topic, but I see that the More FM winery tour is scheduled to hit Logan Park this year. Having an all weather back up would be handy, although not a money spinner.

  32. Anonymous

    Between 12pm and 1pm today there was a short, moderate summer shower.
    The stadium roof leaked. Cascading off the edge by the guttering and smaller waterfalls coming down inside under the ETFE at the joins, in several places, pooling on the lower levels of the North stand, significant amounts in the North stand concourse.

    This is the second time I have observed this and in areas that are “complete”.

  33. Come on that was not moderate, it was BIBLICAL. Even I had to pull over on Peninsula road. There was lightning, hail and an incredible amount of rain causing surface flash flooding over EVERYTHING.

    If you call that moderate I’m guessing you’d be thinking the Queensland floods are just a wee summer shower.

    Also from what I have heard all of the joints etc haven’t been sealed yet for exactly these reasons and won’t be done until the end of the process. Further, better these things show up now during BIBLICAL electrical storms than when the place is all done and dusted.

    You should have seen the leaks around our new guttering after that downpour.

    • Elizabeth

      We await an official response.

      How much sealing gunk does it need to offset poor construction detailing?!

      Phil’s probably going to hit me over the head for that comment.

  34. peter

    Thanks for the report, Anonymous. Does this count as one of Malcolm’s ‘acts of God’ that could not happen?

  35. Anonymous

    I’ll give you biblical if it lasts 40 days and 40 nights and a bloke called Noah pops round to see if you want a boat built. This didn’t even last 40 minutes.

  36. peter

    Maybe barely four minutes.

  37. Phil

    Oi, Elizabeth. I’m not the bashing type. But the day’s not over yet.

    Water’s a funny thing. It tends to find a way around (or through) things. Large roofs leak. The Railway Station leaks, the Edgar Centre leaks, the old Settlers Museum roof leaked. The trick is to plan for the leaks. Modern construction techniques today tend to allow for the fact that water will penetrate an outer layer. Eventually. Particularly as designs become more complicated, with lots of joints, changes of direction, the use of different materials together etc. You accept that, and design for the removal of water which does penetrate. You can’t seal every crack, every joint, and expect a lifetime guarantee. That’s unrealistic and just setting yourself up for failure. The sensible approach is to set up a second line of defence at the acknowledged weak points. And that’s probably what will need to be allowed for here, if it hasn’t already.

    I’m not that familiar with the detailed design of the roof structure. But I assume there is some kind of catwalk system fitted to each truss ? Allowing for gutter cleaning, regular maintenance, repairs, etc. I don’t think anyone would want heavy cherrypickers trundling over the expensive turf and fragile drainage system every time a plastic bag blocks up the roof gutters.

    • Elizabeth

      Haha Phil (noting it’s only 9.40pm…) – an intelligent answer as always on construction matters. Hoped you were lurking somewhere.

      Early on it was said a catwalk system would be incorporated in the roof design but I wasn’t able to view construction drawings to check, and haven’t been on site lately.

  38. Irrelevant if it was 4 mins or 40, it was one of the biggest downpours recorded in Dunedin by the Metservice (twitter confirmed this) in recent times.

    It was enough to cause flash flooding all around the parts of Dunedin that it hit, and in anyone’s books an unfinished roof hit by that intense level of rain is enough to let a few gutters over flow.

    At the point I pulled over on the peninsula road there were 15 other cars all pulled over too, and that is unprecedented and unheard of.

  39. Anonymous

    Maybe on the Peninsula it was, not at the stadium site.
    That event was nothing compared with the flash flood when Smiths City in Filleul St flooded, for example, twice in recent times if memory serves.
    This was not just water overflowing gutters. This was water coming through the ETFE joins.

  40. Phil

    That’s always a really effective marketing ploy. Give people a short fixed period to purchase, with the threat that they might not be able to buy tickets after then. Gets a bit of panic impulse buying started. It works well.

  41. Phil

    Oh, this is spin doctoring straight out of the Farry play book. And not very well done, at that. Max and Phil, you must be able to do better than that. No-one has said that people have a physical ticket in their hand. They are saying (geez, why am I spelling this out ?) that tickets have been either bought or allocated. This is kindergarten stuff.

    A couple of years ago (pay attention here Phil S and Max B, and try to keep up) I decided to go and see the ballet at the La Scala theatre in Milan. Bookings for the entire 3-week season went on sale 4 months prior to the show. On the morning that the bookings opened, I logged onto the theatre website and booked 2 seats. Within 30 minutes of the bookings opening, the entire 3-week season was sold out. When I tried to book more tickets later that day, not a single seat was available for purchase.

    Careful, here’s the tricky bit. Everyone who had booked a seat for that particular concert season, 4 months earlier, received their gold and white shiny cardboard tickets in the post, from Italy, 7 days before opening night. Not one single person received a ticket in their hand prior to that day.

    Everyone with me so far ? Good.

    Now, according to the Capital C: concert’s rule of economics (who clearly know more about such things than Italian theatre operators), not one single seat, out of the 60,000 available seats for the entire show season had been sold, prior to 7 days before opening night. Not a one. 3,000 seats, for 7 nights, over 3 weeks. Why ? Because no-one had received their tickets in the post. Every single one of those seats was still available for someone to buy. Someone should have told the poor staff at Teatro alla Scala that they hadn’t actually sold any tickets on that opening day, 4 months earlier.

    Excuse me for having little patience with the blatantly stupid.

  42. Phil

    And sorry, Mr Sprey, if we don’t throw ourselves at your feet in gratitude for your attempts to try and recoup the 750,000 dollars you lost on your Wellington concert 2 years ago. We realise that your only aim is to be charitable towards the ungrateful people of Dunedin and that you’re a non-profit organisation with no ambitions of personal gain. Our mistake.

    If Max and Phil had been following the progress of the stadium project they would have realised that the public of Dunedin have reached their limit of half truths, partial disclosures, and attempts to disrepect or intimidate them. Capital C might be feeling a little shocked at being hit so hard over not being 100% honest and upfront in sharing all their information. But, suck it up, fellas. You want to blame someone, blame the people who contracted you to promote the stadium. They have made the rest of us suspicious and to look for inconsistencies in stories. The stories coming out of Capital C are changing every day, with new revelations coming to light, and with 2 different people saying 2 different things. And we’ve had enough of that down here over the past 3 years. There’s no way you can win this battle. My best advice is that you either be 100% open, or shut up completely between now and concert date.

  43. Caz

    Hi Elizabeth
    Has anyone thought how odd it is that advertising for the Elton John concert and ticket sales, have begun nine months before the concert?
    It was a stadium supporter on Forsyth Barr Stadium site on facebook who started the rumour that pre-sale tickets have been sold by saying he already has tickets.
    What better way to draw attention to the concert than annoying the hell out of ratepayers who have been given preferential treatment (yeah right) in being able to purchase tickets before the rest of the country can and then feel cheated because tickets have already been sold, so they think, to Forsyth Barr employees
    I suspect that there is a clause in the promoter’s contract that states that if a certain number of tickets have not been sold in a certain time, the concert will be cancelled.
    Now I wonder who created this hysteria about tickets already being sold.
    Any guesses?

    • Elizabeth

      Unfortunately Caz, there’s some lower down and higher up the food chain capable of this. I dare say all will be revealed – can’t be upsetting Capital C for too long, plus I’m sure EJ has classier cities to play if it all overheats.

      Deplore the pitch to “ratepayers” anyway, the general public is paying for this massive (private) indulgence of the rugby and property investor crew.

      I’m thinking the concert distraction is merely that. Are we convinced the stadium will be ready by the due date? Or are we down to just “some of it” ready? The biggest non party house accompaniment to Carisbrook (holding the pool matches) there ever was.

  44. peter

    Not even the news of the EJ concert – trumpeted as a coup for the stadium – has gone smoothly for them. All closely followed with the recent news of the kitchen outfit – or lack of – which I’ve heard is threatened with legal proceedings between the contractors and the CST/DCC, plus Delta pulling out of ‘private’ funding, what more strife is in the wings? It doesn’t give confidence, does it.

  45. David

    You wonder why we need a new stadium to get Elton John, when a place like New Plymouth can get him.

    And the venue was outside at the local gardens.
    With half our population.
    And twice our rain.

    I suppose the pension isn’t enough to run the gulfstream with the price of avgas these days so he’ll play anywhere.

  46. Phil

    The stadium is a bit of an oddball in his tour. Most of the other locations on his new album tour seem to be the same size or smaller than the Westpac Arena in Christchurch. I can only imagine we were cheaper to rent than Christchurch or the Vector Arena. The spokesperson for Capital C did say in the ODT last week that they were getting the venue for a reduced rate. I hope it gets filled up, or it’s going to look a bit rattley.

  47. peter

    Good point, David. The Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth is a wonderful,natural amphitheatre, in stark contrast to that grotesque warehouse structure that punctuates our waterfront, which we unfortunately see from many vantage points in Dunedin. As you say, Taranaki can really turn on the rain, but people adapt. Here we want to cosset our rugby players in cotton wool. Not that it will help them on the field.

  48. Calvin Oaten

    Are you saying that EJ will be performing in New Plymouth and Christchurch? If this is so, goodbye to patrons coming from far and wide. 30,000 – or anything like it – now seems the longest of long shots. Poor old Malcolm, he will be most crestfallen.

  49. Phil

    No, Calvin. I was just comparing the seating capacity of the stadium with the seating capacity of the recognised concert venues around New Zealand. Those venues are of a similar size to the other venues selected around the world by Elton John to perform in during his upcoming album promoting tour. They are typically in the 5,000 to 7,000 seat range, which would suggest that is about how many tickets they expect to sell in each location. If they thought they could book out Wembley and make an obscene profit, they would have. But they haven’t. And most of the stadiums lie with a population catchment area greater than the population of New Zealand (but in a closer proximity to their stadium), so we can directly compare population levels with the level of expected interest.

    It was interesting to see Phil Sprey (or his trusty sidekick) pass the comment that there would be no additional Elton John concerts in New Zealand this year……. “at this stage”. A slip of the tongue perhaps ?

    A quick check on UK ticket prices for an Elton John 2011 concert has ticket prices ranging from 150 NZD through to 350NZD. And that is including the UK GST, which is currently at 20%.

  50. peter

    Personally I’d be annoyed if I lived elsewhere in NZ, and booked a ticket for the EJ concert in Dunedin, and suddenly they announced new concert venues closer to home. Don’t they usually announce all venues at the same time? Maybe there is a cancellation fee (how much?) and you could rebook, but there is the possibility of not being able to get a ticket, at a price you are prepared to pay. I would feel ripped off, to say the least.

  51. Marvo

    Phil – Went to Elton John last year, best concert in years – concert sold out in less than an hour and the arena here seats over 20,000 (crappy 20yr old arena that nobody wants to go to either)

  52. peter

    Where was that EJ concert held, Marvo? City and venue.

  53. Phil

    I’m sure you’re right, Marvo. And I’m sure it was a great concert. The only venue on this worldwide new album promoting tour which gets any closer than half the size of the Dunedin stadium is in Berlin. The venue there can hold almost 20,000 people and is within a 60 minute drive for 3.5 million people. Dunedin is a 60 minute drive from Oamaru. Any venue within Europe or America has a huge advantage when it comes to population catchment areas. Some people will pay almost $1,000 for a ticket, a return plane trip from Auckland, hotel accommodation, and meals. But possibly not 20,000 people. It will need at least 10,000 tickets bought locally, which hopefully will happen.

    I would just say though, if Elton could gain ticket revenue from 20,000 people at every concert, do you not think that he would book a 20,000 seat venue every time ? You don’t see Metallica playing at the Brewsters Arms pub.

  54. Marvo

    Concert was in Calgary, Alberta

    Don’t forget Elton plays at the Red Piano Bar in Las Vegas as well that seats 2000 tops, he does it for acoustic purposes and intimate audience interaction. He is the sort of artist that transcends all venues playing intimate and small to Cowboy Stadium/Wembley ish.

    Just trying to provide some balance, the comment was made that he only plays small venues and inferred that it will have trouble selling out stating Dunedin has a small catchment area. This event will sell out quickly for sure both from concert goers and venue appeal.

  55. peter

    That’s a fair comment, Marvo. Thanks.

  56. fergal

    At the risk of being slammed, here’s my 2 cents worth on some recent comments:
    Comparing venues and tours etc isn’t worth it. I know bands that will do stadium tours one year, and then do smaller venues the next year (one quoted as saying they liked to actually be able to see the audience), or only festivals, or they’ll only play amphitheatres – as Marvo has pointed out, what an artist does in one country one year may have little reflection on what they do in another. Why do they do this? Because they can. For some odd reason a lot of NZers like Elton and a lot will travel to see him.
    For a promoter to have a venue that can seat say 30,000, without the risk of weather, and not having to set up several concerts in smaller venues will bring benefits and probably additional challenges. They will be wishing this venue was in Auckland…but it’s not, so it will add an extra dimension to their thinking with the allocation of events that they promote.
    Re the comment about some people are paying almost $1000 a ticket – I didn’t know you could get $1,000 tickets – but I’d imagine it would get you pretty close…perhaps you get to sit on Elton’s lap!
    As for any perceived ticketing issues, possible subsequent venue announcements etc, don’t for a minute think this is new….I know, I’ve been stung more than once myself, and it’s disappointing…but things happen (rightly or wrongly) and you just have to go with the flow if you want to see the show. Get your knickers in a twist if you like, but it won’t make a scrap of difference…it’ll happen time and time again. As for advertising and selling tickets in advance – again common practice I would think. Why would a promoter announce a show and then not take the opportunity to sell as many tickets as possible as soon as possible?
    As for wrapping our players in cotton wool…if you believe the roofed stadium is for the players’ benefit I think you’re misguided. The reality is that most national and international rugby is now played at night (whether we like it or not – and I don’t particularly, but that’s how it is), and Dunedin gets wet (dew) and cold at night. The playing surface suffers (ie players slip and slide), the handling of the ball suffers and spectators get frustrated with the resulting poor spectacle and they also get cold. I know of plenty of people that won’t attend night rugby because it’s too cold. The point of difference this stadium offers is massive…the weather is largely eliminated as an issue from whatever performance is occurring (music, sport). And when you pay good money, it’s good to know the uncontrollable (weather) is controlled.
    Anyway, have a good weekend everyone.

  57. Phil

    Sounds like I need to clarify my earlier comment: “Some people will pay almost $1,000 for a ticket, a return plane trip from Auckland, hotel accommodation, and meals.” I don’t think that many people assumed I was talking about $1,000 purely for a concert ticket. Not when you can’t buy a ticket for that price today. That is what it will cost a person who lives in Auckland (or anywhere outside of driving distance to Dunedin), but wants to travel down to Dunedin and attend the Elton John concert.

    Make no mistake (and I’ve tried to include this in my posts), I hope the event is a sellout. Not for Elton, and not for Capital C. They’re in this purely for personal gain. But for the City of Dunedin. The stadium will run at a loss for the evening, that’s accepted. The promoters have said that they are not paying the full rental price. But if it’s not filled then it’s going to look like, well, a half filled stadium. And that’s not the best publicity we want. We need people coming to Dunedin from outside of Dunedin every time, not trying to fill seats with locals who don’t rent hotel rooms or visit albatross colonies. So, fingers crossed.

    Some good points there though, fergal. But I’ll say that the only way to get people turning up to football games (and that is the prime use of the stadium between February and October every year) is for the home team to start winning. I can be warm and dry at home, so going to the stadium will have to offer me something more. I’m not going to pay money to see something I don’t enjoy. I don’t care if they are trying their best, sorry. They are professionals, just like you and I. If they want money from me, then I want something in return. That’s not unreasonable. When they can start winning more games than they lose, I’ll be supporting them to the hilt. Until then, they’re a failed business.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Tue, 15 Feb 2011
      Second Elton John concert ‘possible’
      By Nigel Benson
      A second Elton John performance is possible after a rush of opening-day sales for the entertainer’s November concert in Dunedin. Nearly 22,000 tickets sold within six hours of the box office opening yesterday. Many prospective purchasers, however, struck problems, frustrations, or both.
      Read more

  58. Stu

    TicketDirect took a bit of flak for some system problems, but they got there in the end. A lot of the frustration was from ticket purchasers who either were not prepared or tried to get in too early. Hint: If it says tickets on sale from 9am, calling at 8:45 isn’t going to get you any joy. Same for the Web site.

    Our network held up under the extra load :-)

  59. Phil

    That’s excellent news. And given that the ticket sales were restricted (cough cough) to Otago residents, it shows that there is sufficient interest within the region for such events. That’s good to know. Not so good for the hotel/motel/pub industry, but they do pretty well regardless. The challenge now is to hold that level of local interest once the novelty of a new venue has worn off. A full house for this concert also means that the promoter can now pay the full rental price for the venue, instead of the reduced price they wanted. So that’s great news for the stadium and for the ratepayers.

  60. ro

    What IS the full rental price for the hire of the stadium? What is it designed to cover?

  61. Phil

    Whatever it is, it’s less than what Capital C Concerts are paying. They said a couple of weeks ago that they were paying a “percentage” of the standard hire fee. But refused to divulge exactly what that percentage was. “Commercially sensitive” means “God help us if anyone ever finds out”.

    Pretty good deal when you can gross more than $3 million for a night’s work and get the venue for a song. So to speak.

    I thought that David Davies mentioned something about how they would lose $300,000 if they opened the stadium for free viewing of the RWC semi finals and final. So it must cost at least $100,000 every time they open it up. Coincidentally, $300,000 is almost exactly the same amount as DCC were GOING to spend hosting the same event in the Octagon. Before they canned it. What luck.

  62. ro

    If the stadium costs $100,000 a day to open up, then there’s no way that the $400,000 cost of holding the 3 RWC matches can cover much other than operational costs – that is, none of the excluded items that CST insists are operational expenditure could be included. However, this story is for another thread.

    On this thread, do we know if the promoter must provide stages & seating and screens, video boards, & sound systems or if we citizens must? And if these last are the promoter’s responsibility, who pays for the installation of the wiring etc to facilitate them?

  63. Phil

    Remembering that the stadium receives no fee for hosting the 3 RWC matches there. It’s a 100% operating loss for the venue. You could write it down to marketing, I guess. But it’s an expensive ad campaign.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 16 Feb 2011
      Hopes now high for second concert
      By Nigel Benson
      A second Elton John concert in Dunedin is looking more likely after another rush on tickets yesterday. Fewer than 4000 tickets out of 30,000 for the November 25 concert remained, promoter Phil Sprey, of Capital C Concerts, said yesterday. Another 700 new seats were made available yesterday, in the Gold Stand North ($250) and Gold Pitch ($200) areas.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        Sir Elton John plays at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on November 25.

        ### ODT Online Tue, 22 Feb 2011
        Elton decision due Thursday
        By Nigel Benson
        Promoters will decide on Thursday whether to proceed with a second Sir Elton John concert in Dunedin.
        Capital C Concerts managing director Phil Sprey said he would wait until the last tickets had sold before negotiating with Sir Elton’s management about a second concert.
        Read more

        Double-pass win ‘amazing’

        • Elizabeth

          Phil Sprey: “Losing a few sales is a hell of a lot better than losing your life”

          ### ODT Online Fri, 25 Feb 2011
          Elton John sales take back seat
          By Nigel Benson
          The first day of public ticket sales for Sir Elton John’s concert took a back seat to the Canterbury earthquake disaster yesterday. Capital C Concerts promoter Phil Sprey said it had been “a terrible day for sales”, but had to be put in perspective.
          Read more

  64. Phil

    I don’t know which was the more offensive. The fact that he said it, or the fact that the ODT printed it. Take your pick.

  65. Kiwifly

    whats offensive Phil ?

  66. peter

    What was said by Phil Sprey was obviously something that did not need to be said, Kiwifly. Who actually gives a rat’s arse about the Elton John concert at a time like this?

  67. Kiwifly

    methinks you are being very precious peter,And as usual just looking to find fault in anything stadium related.”sigh”

    • Elizabeth

      Keep it calm, people.
      Everyone’s on a painful ride – let’s help those around us and afar to deal with this emergency.

      Lots of Christchurch people are arriving in Dunedin – they need your support. Please find ways to provide it. Keep yourselves busy – the situation is deepening.


      The best way you can help is by giving donations of money to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal.

      (via @NZcivildefence) The New Zealand Government has launched a global appeal to help the people of Christchurch and Canterbury #eqnz #Christchurch [How to make your donation by Credit Card]

      Go to the Trade Me home page for information on how to donate.

      Visit your local banks and make donations there.

      New World Supermarkets You can make donations to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal at all New World checkouts.

      @BNZBank To donate to BNZ’s @NZRedCross appeal account, use the donate button within BNZ internet banking or this acct: 02-0500-0982004-000 #eqnz

      @BNZBank We’ve just updated our instant #eqnz donation button on BNZ internet banking to include credit cards. There’ll be no fees for CC donations.

      @NZredcross Pls note: 0800 733 276 is NOT a donation number for #eqnz U can donate here: thnks


      Donations by Text Message:

      @CEQgovtnz Telecom, Vodafone and 2 Degrees mobile customers can text ‘chch’ to 933 to make an automatic $3 donation #chch #eqnz

      Red Cross donations to Christchurch Earthquake Appeal: text ‘quake’ to 4419 to make a $3 donation #eqnz

      Salvation Army donations to Christchurch Earthquake Appeal: text ‘quake’ to 5339 to make a $3 donation #eqnz

      VodafoneNZ Red Alert 2011 Earthquake Appeal: text ‘QUAKE’ to 555 to make a $5 donation. 100% of your $5 donation will go to the Red Cross 2011 Earthquake Appeal.


      @TelecomNZ asking for old style telephones (eg wired not cordless) for #EQNZ as they work with no power. Take into local telecom stores. @telecomnz store:

  68. Stan

    All I know is that Sprey concluded that interview (I _guess_ he was contacted explicitly about the impact of the events in Chch on the Elton John concert) with “Losing a few sales is a hell of a lot better than losing your life”.
    Please keep things in perspective and rein in the cheap shots. Please.

  69. peter

    If he was contacted he could have said, ‘This is not the appropriate time to be talking about concerts.’ Full stop. No cheap shot intended.

  70. Anonymous

    I’d like to see Malcolm Farry dig in his pocket and donate the $4.35 million to the CST for ‘extras’. We’ve known this has been coming for a long time and it’s disingenuous for him to now say it is nothing to do with CST that it is is DVML’s problem.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Mon, 28 Feb 2011
      No Dunedin Elton John encore
      By Nigel Benson
      There will be no second Sir Elton John concert in Dunedin.
      The Christchurch earthquake was a factor in the decision, with Canterbury expected to be one of the main markets for the proposed second concert.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        Winnowed down from the $6 million recently brought to councillors’ attention.

        ### ODT Online Mon, 28 Feb 2011
        Report: $4m for ‘extras’ at stadium
        By David Loughrey
        An 11-point list of “possible additional” spending at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, with a newly released price tag of $4.35 million, is about to hit the Dunedin City Council table, just months before the stadium is due to open. The list and the figure, printed in a brief, two-page report to be discussed by a full council meeting today, are causing angry ripples in stadium circles, and angry denials the items were left out of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust’s (CST) planning.
        Read more

        Additional spending (via ODT)
        Cost $4.35m, says report

        • Scoreboards
        • Large replay screens
        • Internal find-your-way signs
        • External signs
        • Wi-Fi system
        • PABX phone system
        • Catering fit-out
        • Radio communications
        • Grow lights
        • Fit-out of level 2A for rental
        • Toilets in the west stand


        The Dunedin City Council is meeting today Monday, 28 February 2011, in the Fullwood Room, Dunedin Centre, at 10.30 AM.

        Agenda – Council – 28/02/2011 (PDF, 46.9 KB, new window)

        Report – Council – 28/02/2011 (PDF, 615.6 KB, new window)
        Annual Report of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd

        Report – Council – 28/02/2011 (PDF, 55.2 KB, new window)
        Possible Additional Capital Expenditure on the Forsyth Barr Stadium

        Report – Council – 28/02/2011 (PDF, 633.0 KB, new window)
        Statement of Intent – DVML and DVL

        Report – Council – 28/02/2011 (PDF, 191.6 KB, new window)
        Rugby World Cup 2011 – The Octagon

        Report – Council – 28/02/2011 (PDF, 226.4 KB, new window)
        Half Year Report from DVML

  71. Anne Ellliot

    What does it mean when “Councillors are required to make no decisions on the matter” and “The report, from council financial planner Carolyn Howard, recommends they merely note the issue”?

  72. peter

    At the council meeting they had to add a 12th item – the moving of the media box to the North Stand. So the $4.35m will be closer to $5m. Oh dear. Some good questions from Crs Vandervis, Stevenson and Wilson. Cr Bill Acklin seemed to be more worried about the timing of agreeing to more money for these extras, as needed now, rather than the cost to the ratepayers. Bill’s attitude seemed to be ‘to put it on the tab’. The kitchen fitout is the most urgent according to David Davies. (They are still negotiating with potential catering providers. Wink Wink.) The other ‘extras’, less so at this stage. He indicated that there will be a call for more funds needed for the turnstiles at a later stage. I guess they don’t want to hit us with the whole list right now. Just stage it out is the obvious strategy – one that Farry has used constantly.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks for the update Peter, couldn’t make it there this morning. As indicated at this thread on 12 February, the ask is more like $6m and always has been. Obscene. Malcolm and team no doubt have more to surprise David Davies with – that guy has inherited something of a nightmare from CST, unfortunately. Never voted for Bill Acklin and never will.

  73. peter

    Yes, it seems Farry has made all the outrageous claims concerning ultimate costs and who bears them and now it is up to DVML to come to terms with it all. They are left carrying the can and forced to put the begging bowls out. Not that they should be given a ratepayer cent of course. You remember Farry saying ‘the exclusions are not exclusions’. How sick that sounds now. I thought David Davies looked quite stressed today – not that I’d blame him for feeling so.

  74. Russell Garbutt

    Does Bill Acklin fall into the uninformed or uninformable category?

  75. Phil

    Worth noting that, with the exception of the lighting rig, all the “excluded” items were originally included in the recommended scope of work by the architect and design team. It was CST who decided to remove those items at the time of tendering, when it became apparent that the cost of the build would exceed the budget ceiling requirement for the project to proceed. It’s negligent by the CST, but it’s also negligent on the part of the Council of the day. Several reports signed off by Council showed specifically those items of work for which no funding allowance had been made. Everybody involved knew that these items would be needed, and that someone would have to pay for them. Right from the start. The only person who seems to have been kept out of the information loop has been David Davies. He must be wondering what kind of circus he’s walked into.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Tue, 1 Mar 2011
      Council to consider stadium extras
      By David Loughrey
      Greater Dunedin councillors yesterday helped block a motion that would have ended more ratepayer money going to the Forsyth Barr Stadium, amid claims members of the group had broken election promises. It also became clear at a Dunedin City Council meeting that a catering fit-out was the essential item in a list tagged for additional funding at the stadium – a list that expanded during debate.

      It emerged . . . the council had in late January voted that acting chief executive Athol Stephens undertake a peer review on a request for funding from DVML, and that DVML and the council apply for funding from non-ratepayer sources.

      Read more

  76. peter

    This development obviously happened in the afternoon. We weren’t there at the time. Surely this must be the end of Greater Dunedin’s honeymoon – if they had one. Once again the onus has been put back on the ratepayers to fund the extras/exclusions for the stadium – something that was clear as a bell in the 2007 CST Feasibility Report. Greater Dunedin knows this full well. DVML/CST has stared them down the barrel of a gun and they blinked first. Of course they will come up with the crap that they always said they supported funding to allow the stadium to at least open and start making money. Yes, but why do the ratepayers have to do it? The big boys would pay up if they knew they were dealing with strength on the council. Their egos are tied up with the project. It is important to them. However, they know they are dealing with weaklings. I am particularly disappointed with Jinty McTavish whom I thought might have a more independent mind despite her GD tag. How on earth does she think the stadium is sustainable in any sense of the word? Her support for this does the Sustainable Dunedin cause, which she is a visible part of, great harm. When those sustainability projects that are dear to her heart hit a financial brick wall she will have plenty of good reason to bawl her eyes out. She has only then got herself to blame for voting for the rugby stadium.
    You can see what happens at council. Some ask some good questions so it appears they are on the ball and then they vote for further funding of the stadium. Few, however, pursue their questions to elicit more information. It’s all very dishonest. I am disgusted.

    • Elizabeth

      Peter, this suggests to me that residents and ratepayers have to take a much harder line with elected representatives, something this city has not had the balls to do for, how long? This latest stage of incompetence should be seen as a turning point in local politics – but hey isn’t the public generally more keen to just secure a seat at the Elton John concert. A bunch of lemmings if so.

      The vote as recorded is no surprise, and I remind myself why I didn’t vote for most of the councillors now in place. As I said, and as others did too, before the council elections, there was little to vote for of substance and it may take several elections to get the kind of leadership and depth of expertise this city needs.

      I underline that the full cost of the ineptitude is to Dunedin residents AND ratepayers.

  77. peter

    I couldn’t agree more, Elizabeth. When you get part of a DCC team elected (GD), that is the brainchild of a PR company, you are in trouble. Inevitably you get a collection of ‘feel good’ slogans, and no substance, when action is called for. Claiming to have a team of rational, ‘analytical thinking’ individuals, who are ‘fixit’ men and women that will change the debt spending habits of the last council, plus throw in buzz words like ‘sustainability’, seems to have been GD’s noble goal (once), but already they have lost their compass. At this rate Dave Cull will become a ‘mini me’ Peter Chin. Though at least Chin knew he wanted the stadium right from the beginning while Cull never really want it, but is now seen to be fluffing around trying to make the best of things, in the worst possible way, by giving in to the final demands of the rugby people – and thereby looking impotent. People respect a leader who can fully understand the underlying power forces in the community, stare them down, and govern in the interests of the whole community.
    At least we can thank Crs Vandervis, Stevenson and Butcher for being strong and not caving in. It is particularly ominous that the vote to signal the wastage of more ratepayer money on a debt ridden stadium is done on the same day we give a donation to Christchurch as a result of their earthquake. How we could use that close to $5m stadium extras money if, God forbid, a similar disaster happened to us.

  78. ro

    Peter & Elizabeth – the report was only noted. The council has not yet voted to pay for any of the extras yet. They haven’t even been asked for it yet as far as I can see – what Athol did was supply the inside story to us all to clear up once and for all what was still excluded, & what DVM want by October; the council noted it. It does seem that in order to pre-empt a request from DVM, Fliss (was it?) proposed that they turn down future requests now. That might have been nice but all is not lost yet and now is the time for pressuring the stadium’s supporters and supplying back bone to the councillors. It is not the time to insult them.

    Farry, of course, having said all along that these things are not capital expenditure but operational, and having collared the a large proportion of the operational income for the private sector’s contribution, (as well as the Government $15m) has put the responsibility for raising the dough onto DVM. DVM will certainly be scouring every charity around but the fall-back position is of course the users of the venue: the rugby world cup in the first instance. but of course, the RWC is giving zilch for this and the city is the effective user of the venue for the RWC and so the city is, according to Farry’s plan, the funder of these the excluded items. There are still two fall-back positions: 1: hold the event at Carisbrook; & 2: follow Christchurch’s example & have them held elsewhere – Australia if necessary.

    But this still leaves the need to have some of the exclusions (a PABX system – wi-fi connections etc for chrissake) there for Elton’s concert. If the only source for funding these things by then is still the city, then he too must be held at Carisbrook. Getting council to bite these bullets will be a difficult task but much more likely if we don’t call them shitheads now.

  79. ro

    Sorry – missed out a few words…

    …now is the time for pressuring the stadium’s supporters to stump up the cash and supplying back bone to the councillors. It is not the time to insult them…

  80. peter

    The pressure on stadium supporters to come up with any firm cash, in the till for construction, has been ongoing for years to no avail. I think it is naive to think this will change with the latest $5m tranche needed. That is unless they are told firmly that if they want their stadium they have to finish it off by AT LEAST paying for the extras. This is no big ask if the wealthy Dunedin/Otago families who have pushed for the stadium came to the party. I understand, from two different sources, that one very wealthy local has a fleet of up to 30 expensive cars with a person employed specifically to maintain them. This is just the cars he owns, not alone other interests. It just goes to show you the obscene wealth of some of these people who are prepared to bludge off the ratepayers to pay for their stadium toy. Being hard-nosed businessmen they don’t pay for something if some one else – in this case the ratepayers – are prepared to do so.
    Our councillors surely know what the stakes are by now. Most of them are personally nice enough people, but they are timid. I remember listening to one councillor last term who was almost apologetic asking questions about the stadium and felt he/she had to preface his/her questions by first ‘thanking Mr Farry for all his good work’ before the questions were asked. It was pitiful to see. This person may have thought it was the politic thing to do, to help talk him around by talking sense with facts, but he/she should have known better.
    You are right. These councillors need backbone. But I don’t see anything to build a backbone on.
    By the way, the vote Fliss Butcher proposed was for no more money to be spent on the stadium. Full stop. Three councillors voted for no more money. The rest voted for an open-ended commitment to spend more. There is now a clear majority to do so when the time inevitably comes in two weeks’ time or thereabouts to spend an extra $5m for now. More later for turnstiles etc.

  81. Kiwifly


  82. ro

    So Peter, how are you planning to avoid this long-foreseen raid of the citizens’ common purse to cover the excluded necessities? By railing at the people whose decision it will be before they are even asked for it? Can you not see that it’s counterproductive? Instead, can you see any reason NOT to keep reminding everybody, especially the councillors, that there are alternatives? The first alternatives are those the DVM are currently chasing. And while they are chasing those, we have time to remind council that Carisbrook is still there and there is no loss to the citizens if the new stadium isn’t opened until the excluded necessities have been sourced from elsewhere.

  83. peter

    Rosemary, You have your opinion on the world of politics and I have mine. We’ll leave it there.

  84. Phil

    The only item on that list not included as a capital item prior to the construction contract being signed is the lighting rigs. Everything else was acknowledged by all parties as being capital items. Malcolm probably has an “out” where the rigs are concerned. Although it’s purely on a technicality, and a bit of a flimsy one at that. He doesn’t need to have lighting rigs in order to sow the grass. Nor does he need to have rigs for the initial spring/summer growth period. And that’s where his responsibility today ends. What the rigs are needed for, is to sustain that growth during the autumn and winter months. And keeping the grass growing is an operational issue. No longer his concern.

    Of course, I say it’s a flimsy excuse, because the rigs were always a necessary cost to have a stadium. Likewise with periodic turf replacement, which is an acknowledged requirement.

    Excuse me for not being terribly sympathetic to the cause, but in what fantasy land would directional signage be considered to be an operational issue. If you want to open that door, you might as well say that seats are operational also. Which, by the way, were also purchased outside of the GMP contract.

    A capital item is something which is fixed in place and is not dependant on circumstances of occupancy use. Signs pointing to the bar, the kitchen, seating areas, first aid, ticket office, the toilets, will always be pointing to the same place, regardless of what the building is being used for. Where operational costs come in is if the signs get damaged, or need to be replaced if they start fading.

    It’s like painting. Painting the stadium the first time is a capital cost. Maintaining the paint is operational. We all understand that. Naturally, if you repainted using a superior product to the original which somehow increased the value of the asset as a result, then it becomes a capital item again.

  85. Phil

    To our occasional one line “contributor”, I note the following:

    “Internet Troll: One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument”.

  86. Anonymous

    I am beginning to think that the “it” referred to in the subject of this thread now refers to “cap”

  87. ro

    Love it! Unfortunately it’s not Malcolm going cap in hand, but Dunedin Venues. Once again, Malcolm is furious that we are being told what we’re paying for (and what not). I don’t think he does humility.

    Incidentally, Davis Langdon identified both lighting and heating to pitch as having been excluded from the construction costings. And they advised the city to seek an analysis of the effect that these exclusions would have on revenue.

  88. peter

    I’d say you are right, Anonymous. DVML/CST have got nothing to worry about with the extra $5m needed. The DCC meeting on Monday was just a rehearsal for the final act to soften us up.

  89. Phil

    So would that be 3,000 of the $400 seats ? I don’t know what a prime seat is, but I’d imagine it’s not those at the back. I had a good chuckle at the comment that hordes would be flocking in from California and the UK. What a load of rubbish. Obviously Ticketek had a few purchase enquiries from people or travel agencies with overseas addresses and creditcards. But, given that Elton John is playing about 40 concerts through Europe and the US, are we seriously supposed to believe that people are going to pay an extra $5,000+ to fly for 40 hours, all the way down to Dunedin, for a one night concert. When they could pay 10% of that price to travel anywhere within their own continent to see the same show. If only.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 07/05/2011 – 9:42am.
      Comment by Max Burns on Elton’s fee
      As a representative of the promoter, Capital C: Concerts, I can say the fees paid to Elton or any other artists are confidential. As no DCC funding or Dunedin Venues funding is involved why is there any need for any public disclosure?
      Read more

      Mr Burns is an employee of Capital C: Concerts.

  90. Phil

    Hey, Max is back ! We’ve missed his chirpy little ray of sunshine. It’s been so good of him to step up since Phil Sprey mysteriously lost his voice and his ability to write. That’s what I call above and beyond. Which is why I would really do not want to be the one to tell him that the founding member of the “knockers” movement (to quote the dynamic Max) was his very own boss, Mr “The Invisible Man” Sprey. Someone else is going to have to do that, I’m afraid.

    Speaking of gone but not forgotten, the self appointed Internet Hard Man and self proclaimed expert on all things ice related (apparently he knew people) sports reporter from the Sun (oops) ODT seems to have forgotten to get back to us. Probably way too busy chasing up that next fact filled headline. Next time, I’m sure.

  91. Bev Butler

    I agree with Max. It is irrelevant what fees Capital C: Concerts pay to Elton John. That is their business.
    What is in the public interest though is whether the stadium was hired on a standard commercial basis. Can Max confirm that Capital C: Concerts hired the stadium on a standard commercial basis? After all, it is a publicly owned and operated venue.

  92. Anon

    $500 pa over 5 years or $2000 one off:
    “The Forsyth Barr Stadium University Supporters Club
    A unique opportunity has arisen for Otago alumni and staff to benefit from the development of the Forsyth Barr Stadium University Supporters Club, which entitles members to an exclusive personalised brick to be laid in the University Supporters Club wall or walkway, as well as access to complimentary tickets to scheduled matches in the Stadium. To find out more visit
    Just another brick in the wall.

  93. Peter

    You’ve got to read Issue 39, March/April 2011 of NZ Today if you can stomach the lies. There is an article on the stadium by Allan Dick. It reads like a propaganda piece, making claims about the stadium that cannot be substantiated. An example. In reference to the Elton John concert Farry says,’The show was sold out immediately and why wouldn’t other promoters want to do what we’ve done with Elton John?’ This is blatantly untrue. Allan Dick could have simply asked Farry if the concert was sold out immediately why did they still advertise seat sales? The man is out of control, but at least this article documents what he says.
    There is no attempt in the article to state the other side of the debate.

  94. Bev Butler

    Max Burns
    On your website it states that there are still 3000 Elton John tickets left for sale. I have just rung the 0800 number and alerted the telephonist that Malcolm Farry is going around publicly declaring that all the seats to the Elton John concert were immediately sold out. I hope you get the message. I am not sure why he should be trying to sabotage ticket sales and your advertising programme. Sometimes reality and the truth get confused when big egos are involved.

  95. Russell Garbutt

    Just how many tickets are there, and therefore how many left to sell?

    I note that nearer the top of this thread there appeared an ODT story that said:

    “### ODT Online Wed, 16 Feb 2011
    Hopes now high for second concert
    By Nigel Benson
    A second Elton John concert in Dunedin is looking more likely after another rush on tickets yesterday. Fewer than 4000 tickets out of 30,000 for the November 25 concert remained, promoter Phil Sprey, of Capital C Concerts, said yesterday. Another 700 new seats were made available yesterday, in the Gold Stand North ($250) and Gold Pitch ($200) areas.”

    Probably typical ODT story in that the total number of seats for this concert are unclear. Are there 30,000 tickets, or are there 30,700? But whatever the answer, it seems that back in February there were “fewer than 4,000 left” and now we learn that there are “still 3,000 left” which sort of indicates to me that ticket sales over the last 3 or 4 months have been slow to say the least. Certainly the “second concert” will have gone out the window by now if they can’t even sell the first concert – especially after the extensive full page ads all over the place.

    Those sales certainly won’t be helped if St Farry of St Clair is doing his normal verbal diarrhoea all over the place and sticking his nose into areas that actually have nothing to do with him. He should be devoting his full attention to trying to screw some actual private funding for this new rugby stadium and keeping right out of the business of Capital C Concerts. Mind you Farry did tell us all that the new stadium would be getting things like Royal Tours, Dalai Lama visits, World Swimming Champs, Long Course Speedway – maybe it would be just great if all the companies like Capital C Concerts just handed over their businesses to him – he clearly knows more than they do.

    • Elizabeth

      The article in NZ Today Issue 39 March/April 2011 to which Peter refers below is titled ‘Global Village’ (pages 50-57). Story and photography by Allan Dick.

  96. Peter

    Russell. It has already been publicly announced that there will be no second concert. This was not that long after the speculation that there could be a second one. All part of the hype.
    If you read the article it is totally Farry speak. His ego is right up there. There is the definite slant that the stadium couldn’t have happened without him. True.
    Quote: ‘After being rejected by Dunedin people as mayor, it would be easy to understand if Malcolm Farry had simply focussed his attention on looking after the interests of the Farry Group. But he’s in love with his hometown and wanted to give it something.’
    Don’t you love it! The interests of the Farry Group…… his involvement with the stadium. No connection? Think land for starters. Think the interests of other key players. Think conflicts of interest that litter the project.
    We are also treated to Malcolm’s ‘love for his hometown’ and him ‘gifting’ the stadium to us. Think public money and our gift to him and his cronies. This kind of bullshit makes you sick.
    Is he being set up – or sent up – with this article?

  97. UglyBob

    The ODT story was also before the Christchurch earthquake quashed the likelihood of large numbers of Cantabrians picking up tickets for a second concert. It seems the initial sales were based on a crowd of 30,000 with the number increased to 35,000 by increasing capacity in the West Stand and selling seats for the lounge area on level 4 of the Stadium (the seating charts displayed on the Ticket Direct website were altered part way through the piece to reflect the change in capacity).

  98. Bev Butler

    Hi Russell
    Maybe the 4000 seats left was when they were still insisting that the stadium has 30,000 seats. According to a recent LGOIMA request, the stadium has only 28,751 seat capacity – plus media seats. So instead of selling 1000 seats from the 4000 maybe the 3000 seats is an ‘adjustment’ down to the actual number of seats in the stadium.

  99. Russell Garbutt

    All a bit vague isn’t it?

    Mind you, it is Capital C Concerts that is taking the “risk” isn’t it regarding the Elton John Concert. However, if they are getting the venue at a rate that is less than the commercial rate, then all of a sudden it is not a deal that should remain quiet. Anything less than a true commercial rate and it becomes a ratepayer subsidy and as ratepayers we are fully entitled to know the sort of deals that are being struck.

    If Capital C Concerts are paying a true full commercial rate then I’m happy. Next question, what is the true commercial rate and is this what the ORFU, the Highlanders and the rest of any professional rugby crowd is paying?

  100. Peter

    Ugly Bob. The effect of the Canterbury Earthquake on the possibility of holding a second concert is speculative. We are still 3000 seats empty for the EJ concert – the only one to be held in NZ. The total capacity with temporary seating is now officially 28,751 as stated after a LGOIMA request.

  101. UglyBob

    Peter, most of the comments posted here are just speculative. As the temporary seating has not been erected and a seat count has not been undertaken so is the the information released under the LGOIMA. Moreover, what was the precise wording of the request as this will very much determine the official response.

  102. Russell Garbutt

    I would have thought that if you are selling seats then you would know how many you had.

    Also if the stadium constructor has purchased all the “temporary” seating and the “permanent” seating is already there, then a pretty good idea would be known as well. So, no matter what, if Capital C Concerts says that it has somewhere like 3,000 seats left to sell and St Farry of St Clair is publically saying that it is all sold out then I would have thought that Capital C Concerts could well have the grounds for some action. No different to any0ne else spreading information that is incorrect I would have thought – unless St Farry is above all that sort of stuff…….

  103. It seems obvious why both the number of seats for sale is fluid, and also why it does not match *any* figure for the seating capacity of the stadium.

    For the concert, there are seats on the playing field, and some of the permanent seating is currently not being sold because of poor sightlines (because the stage is where the temporary East Stand might otherwise be). Therefore, the number of seats might only resemble the ‘normal’ seating capacity by chance. And, if the concert were to sell out, they could probably sell some of the obscured view seats if they chose to, so the number available need not be static.

  104. Russell Garbutt

    Distracted Scientist – doesn’t my point still hold? I totally agree about the seating arrangement not being anything like a rugby match, but Capital C Concerts will know exactly what the layout is to be, and how many seats they have to sell. No different to a promoter putting something on at the Arena in Chch. Every show is different as it relies on the stage size, and whether the audience is seated or standing or combinations of both.

    For St Farry to be inferring or telling publications that the concert is sold out when the promoter has somewhere like 3000 seats unsold would not be at all helpful for the promoter I would have thought. Am I wrong? Would you be pleased if you were the promoter?

    While we are at that, didn’t I read that the attendance at the last Highlanders vs Lions match at Carisbrook was a tad over 5000? No wonder Sky TV required that the seats in the new grandstands are painted to look like people are sitting in them. That, and a bit of a crowd track on the audio and it will look and sound like many more. Only one problem, the painted empty seats don’t pay money to get in….

  105. Russell, I wasn’t passing any comment on what Farry might or might not be saying (in my limited experience, journalists can have issues with accurately attributing meaning). However, Capital C will know how many seats that they are planning to sell, but will also probably have some idea of how many additional seats they could flog off a bit cheaper if it sells out. Certainly, if people were assuming it was sold out that would be negative. I know a Sydney-based ex-Dunediner who was unaware that there were still tickets left here, but I think that they are going to Melbourne to see EJ.

    While we are at that, didn’t I read that the attendance at the last Highlanders vs Lions match at Carisbrook was a tad over 5000?
    Possibly you did. That would require you to be rather more interested in the Highlanders (or at least the business of rugby) than I.

  106. Russell Garbutt

    Actually, I don’t give a flying kkkk about the well-being of professional rugby, but I do care one hell of a lot about how the failure of this business is impacting on the ratepayers of a City that I was born in, and have spent most of my life in.

    One of the nice things is that many of the truths are now starting to be revealed, and I hope that the little sods that caused this to happen are well on their way to retribution. But unlike Swann, their intentions and past voting records are a clear indicator of their incompetence in city governance. That will not save them.

  107. Peter

    Getting back to the main point. Malcolm Farry told NZ Today there was an ‘immediate sell out’ of the EJ concert. On enquiry, there are approximately 3000 seats left.

  108. Peter

    Russell. I agree the truth will finally get out about the rorting of Dunedin – the stadium being the penultimate vehicle for this. It is interesting speaking to reasonable people, who are not that well informed, but kind of like the ‘promise’ that the stadium might bring.
    I went to a function last night and spoke to a very pleasant woman who said she has supported the stadium because she felt it might be good for her boys, in the future, as a community asset. Nevertheless, before she knew my connection, she expressed deep unease about the process of how the stadium has come about. She knew enough to know that there have been ‘things’ that have been done that are not right.
    In the end, people don’t like to be lied to – even if they kind of like the idea of something like the stadium. She acknowledged the stadium is more for elite rugby than club rugby for her sons.
    At least she was prepared to think about the issue compared to the kind of boofheadedness you can observe at the Fubar website. Mainly young men, mind you, from the sound of them. Also you get denial from people who don’t like their view of the world sullied by knowledge of things that are not nice.

  109. Phil

    That website is pretty much dominated by young rugby players, students, and people living outside of the city. Few of whom seem capable of seeing past the thrill of getting drunk with 4,000 other equal minds on a Saturday night. The life skills levels sadly do not match the enthusiasm levels. That being said, it serves a purpose for the stadium drivers in displaying unwavering support for the stadium. I wouldn’t waste too much time over there. There appears to be an inability to comprehend that because a person is concerned about the cost and debt, it doesn’t automatically mean that they are against the idea of a new stadium. It’s a lost cause try to explain that concept. It’s all about embracing the idea of throwing a really great party tonight, and worrying about the cost of the party tomorrow.

  110. Peter

    Don’t worry, Phil, I don’t spend much time there. The participants remind you how easy fascism can take hold in the right conditions.

  111. Kiwifly

    very much like here then peter hmmm?

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Thu, 2 Jun 2011
      Seats still available for Sir Elton
      By Nigel Benson
      Tickets remain for the Sir Elton John concert at Dunedin’s still-under-construction Forsyth Barr Stadium on November 25. Capital C: Concerts managing director Phil Sprey said yesterday “a couple of thousand” seats were still available for the first concert by an international performer at the stadium.
      Read more

  112. Peter

    Maybe ‘a little correction’ as a result of enquiries after Farry’s dumb comment in NZ Today.

  113. Peter

    Yes, we do note. I have sent a letter to the ODT on this Farry comment, which is going for comment – which is good – but you’d think it would have been a news story in itself as his claim was rather extraordinary. I think this story is their response – but they don’t seem to like challenging him directly. Instead they leave any criticism of him to letters to the editor. I cannot recall any ODT report that tackles him head on when he is way off key. Are the ODT scared of him…. or what?
    I imagine DVML’s David Davies, and Phil Sprey, would not have been impressed with Farry’s comment and are probably ripping their hair out.

  114. Anonymous

    Word is that the reason the Rapture didn’t happen last month was because Malcolm had not been able to complete negotiations for the rights to hold the Dunedin portion at the new stadium. It has been delayed to October, but I expect that to be put back further so as not to clash with Elton John and RWC 2011.

  115. Peter

    What a pity, Anonymous! With the rapture we could have avoided the stadium debt (capital and interest)… as the stadium would have gone up in a puff of smoke….. with the non believers, like us, saved. Alleluya.

  116. Phil

    I haven’t seen a lot of follow up coverage about this, but I was thinking the other day about Capital C Concert’s latest money making venture in hosting a “competition” to find a warm up act for the Elton John concert. From what I recall, the prize for the winning band is the opportunity to play on stage. Given that the performance is the reward, does that mean that the band will not be paid a fee ? If so, top marks to Phil Sprey for suckering in a band to play for free. Free entertainment and a cut price deal on the venue. Brilliant. He can’t believe his luck at the moment. He’ll be able to buy back his Wellington home in no time now.

    • Elizabeth

      1.7.11 ODT Online Promoters looking for Elton John warm-up

      ### Friday 1 July 2011, 9:52AM
      The hunt is on nationwide for a band to open for Elton John in Dunedin!
      By Capital C
      The ‘OPEN 4 ELTON’ promotion will offer the successful band a CV opportunity that few have plus their airfares, accommodation and a $5000 cash prize will make this a sought after spot. The promoter is looking for a band in the pop/rock genre and one that compliments the programme, plus anyone entering must have performed professionally or semi-professionally in front of an audience, have a body of original material and preferable have already produced a CD or DVD of their own work.

  117. Calvin Oaten

    Malcolm is going to have his own ‘Rapture’ together with 500 odd Lebanese at the end of October in the Town Hall. What!!!? Not the Stadium!!!? It will only be a small ‘Rapture’ without the rising to heaven at the completion. Perhaps he failed the entry exam.

  118. Peter

    Yes, I would have thought he’d want to showcase his little dream with his clan, but I understand the Lebanese community is as divided about the stadium as all of us. Maybe a fair number told Malcolm, ‘No way.’ Especially now that they have twigged that their homes and businesses are being rated steeply to pay for the white elephant.
    To top it off, the powers that be don’t even want him to open the stadium. Will he even get a seat at the podium? Personally, I think he should open the stadium because he is largely responsible for this debacle.

  119. Calvin Oaten

    Peter; talking about not being on the podium, did you see on Channel 9 Mr magnanimous Jim Harland prattling on about how he (you would think) delivered funds to complete the SH88 diversion. No mention of how he set the whole needless expense in the first place. I struggled to stop gagging. No doubt he will be on the podium at the stadium opening. Malcolm might go and toss himself off the ‘Tarpeian Rock.’ Now there’s a thought.

  120. Peter

    Yep, Calvin I saw that too. They’ll have their grand opening day and the next day it will be back to the struggle of keeping the stadium afloat and back to the sniping from all corners. David Davies must surely be looking for an exit strategy. I would if I was him. Malcolm will want to keep a low profile at the Dunedin Club.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 15 Jul 2011
      Stadium decision upsets Meatloaf promoter
      By Debbie Porteous
      Forsyth Barr Stadium management is offside with a major Australasian concert promoter after reportedly withdrawing from an agreement to host an international act. Promotor Helen Eccles, of the Frontier Touring Company, told the Otago Daily Times yesterday she was “not happy” with the stadium’s venue managers after an arrangement to host a Meatloaf concert fell through. Mrs Eccles said she had confirmed Meatloaf for one show at the Dunedin stadium in October. A date was pencilled in and prices were being set, but when she asked for the contract, she was told the concert was off because there was an agreement Elton John would be the first act at the stadium, New Zealand’s biggest indoor concert venue. She said she had to remake the entire schedule because of the changes.
      Read more

    • Elizabeth


      “The Dunedin City Council planned to stage a community concert to celebrate the completion of our city’s new multi-purpose stadium,” acting Dunedin Mayor Syd Brown said yesterday.

      ### ODT Online Sat, 16 Jul 2011
      Stadium concert auditions to begin
      By Nigel Benson
      The build-up to the biggest party of the year starts next week. The Otago Daily Times 150th anniversary concert, the “Big Night In”, at Forsyth Barr Stadium on November 12 will feature some of the best singers, dancers and entertainers in Otago and Southland. And interest has been sky-high as the audition panel prepares to travel around the regions from next weekend.
      Read more


      Previous Comments:

      • Elizabeth

        Typical angle is “buy-in”…

        Knox and Selwyn first teams to play at stadium
        (via ODT Online)

        “The first game of rugby at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium will be between two of the city’s university colleges, with Knox and Selwyn to play on the venue’s opening day. Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) yesterday announced the teams, made up of students from the University of Otago, would play in an August 5 lunchtime event, open to the public for a gold-coin donation.”

        Will the gold-coin donations go towards insuring DCC infrastructure assets, or to an unrelated charity such as professional rugby or the NZ Academy of Sport ????

  121. Peter

    Basically Helen Eccles was signed up and then told we have now a better act to get money from (theoretically) so now we’re not interested. Who wouldn’t be pissed off? I don’t know about Meatloaf. How about Meathead? Such unprofessional rudeness. This will get out among other promoters and they will get the clear message. Beware of Dunedin. Enter a ‘contract’ at your own risk. Are we surprised by these cowboys?

  122. Stan

    OK. Elizabeth suggests that the charity will be professional rugby or NZAS. My guess is not, but I’ve been wrong before.

    • Elizabeth

      Nicely put, Stan.

      • Elizabeth

        Uh-oh, it’s Maxy again… who?

        ### ODT Online Fri, 15/07/2011 – 7:34pm.
        Comment by Max Burns on Elton John concert
        FYI, the following statements are the facts: 100% of the risk and the costs of Elton John are born by the promoter Capital C Concerts.
        Dunedin Venues has neither subsidised or paid anything toward Elton John’s fee.
        Only two and a half thousand seats are left beofre it is a full house and that is expected to be easily acheived.
        No-one is underwriting this concert other than the promoter.
        The concert has already broken even and is well in profit. Any speculation on losses is plain stupid
        As an employee of the promoter I can say with confidence my posting is accurate.

        • Elizabeth

          I don’t want to say anything about the line-up…

          ### ODT Online Tue, 26 Jul 2011
          Public to vote for Elton John’s support act
          Members of the public are being asked to decide who will take the stage in front of 30,000 fans as the opening act for Elton John’s concert at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin in November.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Tue, 26 Jul 2011
          Opinion: Dazed and Confused
          Meatloaf took the words right out of my mouth
          By Roy Colbert
          The news that Meatloaf, and excuse me a minute while I bow in reverence, will not be performing at the Forsyth Barr Stadium later this year because Elton John wants to be first, has driven me down into an emotional nadir from which I may never recover. I mean, MEATLOAF! Not the Doobie Brothers or Creedence Clearwater without John Fogerty, but Meatloaf, the man whose Bat Out Of Hell album was, quite simply, the best bat out of hell rock music has yet come up with.
          Read more

  123. Phil

    I was worried that Max had left town. If a couple of people have written suggesting that Elton’s fee is subsidised or is being underwritten by the venue operator or local authority, then I don’t think that is what they mean. What I suspect they mean to say is that the concert is being subsidised by the local authority. And that’s 100% correct. You have to be careful when dealing with people like Capital C, or CST, to get your wording right. As they have a tendancy to grab on tight to any “wriggle out” loop hole.

    A reduced venue hire fee (as acknowledged by Capital C:) means that the shortfall in the venue operating cost is being paid for by the venue operator (local authority). That’s a subsidy to the venue hirer, being Capital C: Concerts, who otherwise would have had to pay the full venue hire cost for the staging of their concert.

    I’m sure that Max is completely correct in saying that, with help from the acknowledged local authority subsidy, the concert is going to generate a profit for the promotion company. Well done them.

  124. Russell Garbutt

    So, the question therefore is, if it is widely known that Capital C can get a venue hire deal from DVML, then why can’t everyone else get the same deal?

    By agreeing to such a deal, DVML have effectively devalued the product.

  125. Amanda kennedy

    The priority seems to be to give the impresion that the stadium is ‘successful’ in order that important stakeholders do not look like financial imbeciles. I’m talking about Farry and the stadium councillors but there are others I am sure. They and the other councillors perhaps tell themselves that they have to get the public on side to have any hope at success. This suits Hudson and Brown of course because it also justifies spending more ratefunds on the stadium to prop it; and the new story will be that the stadium will be the public’s responsibility. Crs Hudson, Collins, Ackin and stadium mates will tell us all how they thought the stadium was not such a great idea financially but there was such public demand for it that they had no choice but to push ahead with it. And the public who demanded that stadium will have to pay up for it, because they chose it against their better judgement.

  126. Russell Garbutt

    Amanda, the re-writing of history of the stadium project is already underway but will be able to be discounted through the means of the new media.

    The last Council, who shoved this thing through are, in my mind, divided up into two main groups – those that voted for, and those that voted against. When you look at those that voted against, it seems to me that they did so because they believed that the case for the stadium didn’t stack up. I get the feeling that other things had higher priorities for these people in general terms.

    When you look at those that voted for, there is a group that simply didn’t understand what was going on and went along with what they were told to do. There is another group that may have genuinely believed the concept of a stadium was a good idea, but didn’t know the sorts of questions to ask to get accurate information on which to base a quality decision on; and there was yet another group that were determined to make it happen, no matter what information was put in front of them.

    I think that most people can assign people to these groupings.

  127. Amanda kennedy

    Yes, I don’t know if it was corruption or just incompetence on the parts of the stadium councillors and their push for the stadium debt. But I do know they will blame us.

  128. Amanda kennedy

    We the people of Dunedin demanded that stadium be built and Crs Hudson and mates were only doing what the people wanted. Now that the opportunity costs are coming home we all have to pay for it because like silly children we wanted the shiny big thing. So predictable. Thankfully we do not just have the print media.

  129. Calvin Oaten

    Amanda: Malcolm is already on record as saying, “he was simply charged with bringing forward the best option to get over the Carisbrook /ORFU debacle. He did by coming up with the proposal adopted, but if the people don’t support it then so be it, he is not at fault.”

  130. The Statement of Intent expects DVML to make an operating surplus of $3 million per year to be paid as rent to DVL.
    But is hard to see where this surplus is going to come from. David Davies says that there is no money in Rugby, and the World Cup is going to lose money. Elton John is at a discount rate. Dunedin is taking the risk with the Phoenix. The ODT is getting the Stadium for free.

    • Elizabeth

      Let’s not forget types like Richard Bunton have always supported the stadium…

      ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Aug 2011
      Conference at stadium
      By Elspeth McLean
      One of the country’s major medical conferences will be held in the Forsyth Barr Stadium next August.
      Read more

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 3 Aug 2011
      Opening act for Elton
      By Nigel Benson
      A Hokitika singer-songwriter will open Sir Elton John’s concert at Forsyth Barr Stadium in November. Katie Thompson was selected to open the concert after a nationwide “Open 4 Elton” promotion, which attracted 50 entries and drew more than 70,000 online votes.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        Tweet (Wed 03 Aug 20:31):

        @whatifdunedin If you can receive Ch9 News #Dunedin apparently there’s a goddam awful interview tonight w Malcolm Farry – last airing 9.30pm – no weblink available

        IF anyone has the ability to record the interview…

        • Elizabeth

          And David Davies has that amazing salary package too, to make the stadium work. But I’m still not convinced we want past-middle-age ‘has-beens’ as stadium acts… whatever happened to servicing the student demographic ?


          Mr Gudinski said he wanted the stadium to be made available for no charge.

          ### ODT Online Thu, 4 Aug 2011
          Promoter furious after Rod Stewart shunned
          By Matthew Haggart
          A major Australasian concert promoter has seen red after another top act in his roster of rock ‘n’ roll stars has been passed over by the managers of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Melbourne-based promoter Michael Gudinski wanted to bring rock and roll hall of famer Rod Stewart to play a midweek gig at the stadium next February, but has been left livid by what in his opinion is the “completely unprofessional” response from Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML).
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ANOTHER sad day for Farry. He uses a 14-page ODT full colour advertising supplement, ‘Celebrating Our New Stadium’, to pronounce to the whole of New Zealand: “The debate may go on locally but don’t allow that to interfere with our feeling of delight, satisfaction and celebration that we should all feel at what has been accomplished.” (‘What a journey!’, page 2)

          A pathetic little man.

        • Elizabeth

          DESPITE his pronouncements on the locals, Farry expects them to turn up to all the events David Davies hasn’t got signed on the books – to rifle locals’ pockets some more. The grace and logic is STAGGERING.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Tue, 1 Nov 2011
        Elton John concert biggest so far this year
        By Nigel Benson
        The Sir Elton John concert in Dunedin this month will be the largest concert staged in New Zealand so far this year. Capital C: Concerts promoter Phil Sprey said a 35,000 capacity crowd was expected at the November 25 concert. About 800 tickets still remained unsold yesterday in the licensed upper south stand ($275 each) and the premium platinum ($400 each) and diamond ($300 each) areas.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          “For $120, some people could end up with a seat which was $400 previously.”

          ### ODT Online Thu, 17 Nov 2011
          $120 Elton John seats tipped to sell fast
          By Elspeth McLean
          The last few hundred tickets for the Dunedin Elton John concert on the eve of the general election are expected to be snapped up when they go on sale for $120 each tomorrow morning. Promoter Capital C managing director Phil Sprey said the seats were dotted mainly in pairs, threes and fours all over Forsyth Barr Stadium and most were in expensive zones.
          Read more

  131. No Alistair. It doesn’t say that: the $3 million rental to be paid to DVL is a cost. The Statement Of Intent forecasts a “Net Profit (Loss) before rent” of $3·3 million for next year. There is no good reason to feature this figure and it is my view that its purpose is to cause confusion. The figure you’re looking for is the bottom line “Profit After Tax: $91,660”.

    But don’t think that DVML’s profit means anything because:
    – it is not the profit of the whole stadium (which includes DVL’s losses and DCC hidden costs)
    – DVML is structured so that the profit/loss can be chosen at will – the less rent they decide to pay the more profit they can declare.

    The stadium team has decided that DVML will make a small profit and that the local media will focus on this and ignore the big losses of DVL and the costs hidden in the DCC. DVML will be the show-pony and we will be led to believe that that the Financial Black-hole Stadium is a great success.

  132. Amanda kennedy

    Sure. The ‘interesting’ relationship between the main print media in town and the DCC is something to be aware of. The ODT has shown where its loyalty lies. The ODT celebratory party at the stadium is very appropriate.

  133. Russell Garbutt

    Jimmy Jones is correct. Can you think of another business that can say to its landlord – “hey old chap, my business isn’t doing all that good, so I will tell you how much I am going to pay for rent. I need to show my shareholders that I’m running a profit”. They would be out of there faster than a lizard drinking.

    Put bluntly, DVML is not meeting the costs of DVL and so the shortfall is being met by the ratepayers. Just how and how much can readily be determined by looking at ALL the financials of DVL, DVML, the DCC, DCHL.

    DVML is already devaluing their product and will find it very hard to charge anyone what they should be charging. Every real dollar lost in the operation of DVML simply means another dollar that has to be borrowed by some part of the DCC and we all know who meets that cost don’t we?

  134. Calvin Oaten

    If we look at the 17 March 2008 report presented by Mr Harland to council we can see on page 5 section 5.8.10 through 5.8.15 “Post completion phase” it clearly shows that a new CCTO called OVL (morphed into DVL) will assume the ownership of the stadium at $188 million, funded by DCC shares of $103.0m and borrowings from DCTL of $85.0m. The $103.0m is funded by ORC, CTO University and Private Funding. DVL will pay $85.0m to DCC from DCTL borrowings. DVL will pay all debt interest out of revenue from DVML which will manage the facility for which DVL will pay a fee to cover DVML’s expenses. All surplus will be transferred to DVL. Any shortfall will be required from either ratepayers or DCHL. But DCHL is already committed to pay down the capital at $5.0m per year plus $17.95m in interest and dividends to DCC, a total of $22.95m per year.
    It should be noted that the $85.0 m has now increased to $147.0 m odd due to additional contracts (despite Malcolm’s protestations that the project is on time and budget) and the underwriting of the private funding which has as yet not eventuated. It is not rocket science, but this and the previous council have placed the city into a bottomless financial pit with this stadium from which it is difficult to see how it can get over it. Fancy a DCC default, anyone?

  135. Hype O'Thermia

    From the “satire’s only slightly stranger than Fubar number-crunchers” sector:
    “Lord Po said the event was a ‘big moment’ for the 2012 Cowes Flonking Organising Committee (Coflog), adding that 23 million ticket applications had been made by almost 12 people, which showed the Games had ‘higher levels of support than any previous international flonking event’.”
    Off-topic? Only if you don’t hold that laughter is a safety-valve, and sometimes a pin to puncture inflated egos & asses.

  136. Russell Garbutt

    Lovely reference Hype O’Thermia and reminiscent of John Clark (Fred Dagg) talking about the Farnarkling Championships. Hilarious.

    I can only think of a couple of things that would potentially be funnier – a book or two co-written by Peter Chin and Richard Walls with forewords supplied by Malcolm Farry. Possible titles – “I’ve got the facts”, or “I did it my way with your pay”.

  137. Hype O'Thermia

    There was that kitchen glitch, the late-in-the-day “Oopsie, shouldn’t that be 3-phase wiring, what’s it say on the plan?” If I were to attend anything there I’d make sure I kept 10% of my attention away from the event so as to be alert for the smell of burning.

  138. Russell Garbutt

    I would suggest that Farry is rapidly being exposed as what he always was. Tomorrow morning will see him in the spotlight and presumably he will repeat his mantra. All this means is that he will dig a larger hole for himself. Roll on the day that he will be held accountable – along with all of his mates who seem to have benefitted from this project. Will we see some stocks built in the Octagon that are custom fitted? One hopes so.

    • Elizabeth

      Russell – stocks in the Octagon… ahhh, such a lovely green and cost-efficient option over the modern day prison system.

  139. Amanda kennedy

    Yes, Elizabeth. But fascinating to watch unfold. A napoleon complex, perhaps. Interesting to see how one person can capture and hold to ransom a whole town. And who colludes with this whole strange saga. Lots of lessons to be learned about the media in Dunedin, the power structure here and how it protects itself.

    • Elizabeth

      Amanda, there’s a nasty rumour about that dumped councillor Richard Walls is writing a book, which is not the same as THE book held in collective minds right now, about who it can be thrown at.

  140. Russell Garbutt

    Gibbets are another option.

  141. Amanda kennedy

    Why am I not suprised. Another napoleon. We breed a lot of them down here. Must be the isolation and the strange tendancy to think that some people should have ‘as of right’ a seat on council. Like this is a fiefdom and not a democracy. I’m looking at you Cr Collins (the ‘glass half full man’), and Hudson. We got rid of Walls, we can do it with these decades long councillors. Here’s hoping.

  142. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth!! You are joking, aren’t you? Richard is writing a book?? He could collaborate with Malcolm and title it: “How to Break a City in One Decade” or “A Tale of Two Twitties” or “The Walls of Babylon”.
    How about a ballad? “Busted flat in old Dunnos, demented in the brain, watching Malcolm flushing down the drain, with the deficits amounting and the bailiffs accounting I owe it all to Paul and Michael G. Da De Da etc.”
    Apologies to Kris Kristofferson and Bobby McGee

  143. Hype O'Thermia

    There’s a tale I heard about a local body election several years ago. Apart from some minor players there were two leading contenders for the mayoralty, one a lovely singer and the other a man who could sell snow-making equipment to Alaskans.
    The person who told me had been present at one gathering when results came in: the singer had won.
    Incandescent or incoherent with rage – I can’t remember precisely which word my informant used – the loser raged and cursed and vowed to seek revenge for this insult to his personal qualities and his forebears and his descendants. “I’ll make this city pay!” he swore.
    And so it came to pass……

    Is this a legend without foundation or did someone else hear the same, I wonder: who else was there that evening?

    • Elizabeth

      More recently, the lost one told an architect that (paraphrased) he wanted to leave his family a legacy.

      In kiwiana, ‘legacy’ means ‘stadium’.

  144. Anonymous

    “Walls of Jericho”

  145. Amanda kennedy

    He’s left a legacy alright. but the joke is on him. Wonder if he has ever heard that you should never ‘do the proverbial where you eat? Unless Farry intends to leave Dunedin he may find people who are not Important Stakeholders have long memories.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 5 Aug 2011
      Promoter will ‘not have a bar of’ venue
      By David Loughrey
      Dunedin Venues Management LTD (DVML) chief executive, David Davies, yesterday said he was “disappointed” he had not heard from concert promoters before this week about the collapse of negotiations to bring Rod Stewart to Dunedin. Mr Davies said he was not aware of the situation until an Otago Daily Times reporter rang him on Wednesday. “It is distracting from what should be a real celebration,” he said on the eve of the stadium’s official opening.
      Read more

  146. Peter

    Not sure which thread this best fits, but the title is fitting.
    In case you have missed it, Calvin wrote an excellent letter to D Scene today where he was able to give an update on the real cost of the stadium – minus any extras that are currently being hidden by the council in various budgets to disguise the true cost. He uses the last few Annual Plans to source his figures. Grand Total? $241.046m. The funny thing is the letter was sent to the Old Fox and, for once, he was left speechless. He couldn’t respond because the figures are official ones and Calvin can’t be accused of cooking the books.
    Metaphorically speaking, you’d have to say that Calvin has Malcolm pinned up against the wall and has kneed him in the nuts. Such is the strength of this letter.
    Still, that won’t deter Malcolm from continuing to tell all and sundry around the country that the stadium is ‘on budget’. Lazy journalists, who don’t do their homework, or are embedded rugby jocks, repeat this crap to their audience.
    Finally, as we know, it will all come out in the wash that the ‘on budget’ claim was always bullshit and a future council will hopefully bring the truth out in the open. A sequel to the DCHL drama if you like.

    • Elizabeth

      Peter, I read Calvin’s letter to D Scene this morning not long after midnight . It’s good, I say with a hesitation. Everyone, including Calvin who says so, realises that the stadium project is costing way more than the published figures declare, whether Malcolm gets breathless or not.

      The rot in DCC / DCHL accounts is so deeply cancerous that we may never discern the extent of what has happened in numerical terms. It’s a bit like advising the tax department your new jet boat is pool equipment.


      Register to read D Scene online at

      D Scene 17-8-11
      Your say – letters to the editor (page 7)
      By Calvin Oaten, Pine Hill
      The stadium is now open. CST chairman Malcolm Farry has extolled the performance of all concerned in carrying this monumental project through to completion both on time and within budget. He makes great emphasis of these facts, saying it was something many doubters said couldn’t be achieved. He said it is the “southern way” and “southern people” have a way with money. it would be churlish to deprecate this performance in any way. Or would it?
      {continues} #bookmark

  147. Mike

    I was quite amazed how close my number and Calvin’s one are considering we came at them from quite different ways. If you take out the things that I think Calvin doesn’t include ($109m interest, $8.7m SH88) my $360m turns into about $240m.

  148. Calvin Oaten

    Mike; those are not my numbers. As I state they are all from previous Farry claims and Annual Plans. I purposely avoided speculating about unconfirmed extras (such as land purchase, temporary seating, pitch construction, kitchen development, landscaping, SH88 and of course, the Carisbrook purchase) I wouldn’t, at this stage hazard a guess at the interest quotient. So it is abundantly clear that the true cost (if ever known) is way in excess of the confirmed $240m I stated. I suspect this is part of the reason Malcolm Farry (bless his little heart) wouldn’t comment. He, better than anyone knows that would blow his whole ‘CHARADE’ out of the water.

  149. Russell Garbutt

    Re the total cost – I currently have a letter to the Editor of the ODT asking of Athol Stephens the total cost of the stadium project including all these peripherals and including interest. The letter has been referred to Athol and I’m looking forward to a full response. However any belief that the stadium has cost somewhere round $200m is, of course, a complete fabrication. The total cost must include all the things we have paid for IF THE STADIUM PROJECT HAD NOT BEEN COMMENCED. So that does include all the peripherals.

  150. Mike

    I agree – one thing I’ve continually seen people do is to add up what was pledged to be contributed and conflate that with the actual cost of building it.

    Of course the most interesting number is the difference between the true cost and what others are contributing

  151. Peter

    And, of course, the big unknown at this stage is how much of the ‘private’ funding will evaporate. An added cost to the ratepayers as we are the guarantors. Rumour has it that the contracts were dodgy. We’ll soon see if this is true.
    We do know that Delta is a ‘private’ funder. A dodgy claim for starters.

  152. Q: Where would you find the Heartland Hotels Lounge and Scenic Hotels Lounge?
    A: L4 Forsyth Barr Stadium.

  153. Peter

    A contact rang this morning and said that on the radio – not sure which station – it was reported that they have had to fly some turf down from the AMI Stadium to do some repairs on our own turf before the next game. Anyone else heard about this? The damage must have been significant for this to happen. Doesn’t say much about the durability of Malcy’s much vaunted ‘first natural turf under a roof’ claim, does it? It seems it can grow with a LOT of TLC, but it can’t be used fit for purpose. Oh dear. More maintenance money to come, courtesy of the ratepayers. Let’s make the stadium work, they say. Hah!!!

  154. Anonymous

    I was at the stadium last night for the Phoenix training session.
    Looking at the pitch, there are definitely some patches which look very rough, particularly near the South-side touchline.

    It is relatively easy to keep track of any turf operations.

  155. Peter

    That’s an interesting observation, Anonymous. Yes, I guess you can’t hide the bald patches with a comb over!

  156. Peter

    Anon, do you know what Heartlands Hotels and Scenic Hotels paid for having their names on the lounges at the stadium?

    • Elizabeth

      Peter, a tweet just in – wonder if Stuart McLaughlan and Earl Hagaman are there today?

      ( Sat 20 Aug 14:08) @SallyBoult @socialspace being hosted in Corporate Box by Scenic Hotels

    • Elizabeth

      “Phoenix goalkeeper Mark Paston said he hoped the turnout from southern fans at yesterday’s training would bode well for a large walk-up crowd for the match against Brisbane Roar. The pitch surface and its synthetic fibre-threaded grass was similar to grounds which had been used at the Football World Cup in South Africa last year, the All Whites gloveman said.”

      “The stadium and pitch surface have also drawn rave reviews on the Brisbane Roar website from players who rated the indoor venue as one of the best the players had seen.”

  157. Peter

    Some disparity here. Where lies the truth? Something difficult to follow with this stadium project/rort. In some regards.
    Maybe the ODT and D Scene could follow up.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 20 Aug 2011
      Phoenix get 15,000 – and stadium’s first Mexican waves
      A crowd of 15,000 packed into Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr stadium tonight for Otago football’s biggest occasion in recent memory – and they did not go home disappointed.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Mon, 22 Aug 2011
        Chance stadium crowd will get to roar again
        By Hayden Meikle
        Football fever could return to Dunedin as soon as December, with the city in line to host a full A-League match. Coaches and players alike were singing the praises of the new Forsyth Barr Stadium after 15,037 raucous fans turned out to watch the Wellington Phoenix play the Brisbane Roar in a pre-season game on Saturday night.

        “The atmosphere you can create within the dome is electric. It’s a great surface. Everyone has done a top job. If there is an opportunity to come back, I’m sure this venue would be looked at favourably.” -Ricki Herbert

        Read more

  158. Pedant

    I attended the Phoenix game on Saturday night.

    I approached with an open mind.

    I was a little surprised to pay $28 for my seat when I had seen a family pass (1 adult, 1 child) advertised for $20 during the week. It was, after all, a warmup game. I queued for my ticket at the north stand, then (in a rush) got a ticket for the south stand so had to hump my way around there.
    As I walked I was thinking that the university did alright out of this whole deal – crest on their attached building to the west and nice branding imprint on mesh to the south of their building. Almost suggests that the stadium is theirs.
    I was a little surprised to see the sprinklers still on within minutes of kick-off (and again at half time.)

    Ratings (all out of 10)

    Ticketing – 6
    A lot of people queuing – signage not the best. Game started later than the advertised kick-off time of 7:30 pm probably due the number of people still entering the venue.

    Atmosphere – 5
    I was promised great things but was rather disappointed. Sound seemed to echo around a lot. The ‘Yellow Fever’ section (west stand) made some noise but due to the echo it seemed to emanate from some other part of the stadium. The rather parochial crowd may have contributed to a lack of atmosphere – cheers and boos were all rather one-sided. No banter between opposing teams. A lot of people seemed to have little football knowledge. Not a criticism, just an observation.
    The big screens were up but had no replay facility, so there was effectively no point to them. I found myself wanting to leave at half-time.
    None of the tingle I usually experience when attending live events.

    Facilities – 6
    I didn’t need to go to the toilet, and I didn’t want any food. Couple of food caravans on the concourse. The seats felt and looked cheap. If your seat was in the north stand then that is where you stayed – very little crowd movement except a little at half-time. There wasn’t really anywhere to go to take photos or to soak up the *ahem* atmosphere.
    There was no lighting as I made my way to Anzac Ave after the game due to the unfinished nature of the plaza.

    Architecture – 3
    The whole thing looks and feels cheap. Oamaru stone of the university doesn’t match the plastic of the stadium – but I must admit to liking the projecting wall detail on the north of the university building. I would suggest that the much-vaunted ‘intimate’ nature of the venue is due to site constraints and the ultimate span of the bow trusses over. I will reserve full judgment until the landscaping is complete but I don’t hold out much hope. The whole thing did very little to inspire me.

    People have asked me how I found the whole experience and the one word that always comes to mind is…


    • Elizabeth

      Dave Cannan provides some observations from the Phoenix match – see his column ‘The Wash’ (ODT 22/8/11, page 2 – print and digital editions):

      • There are still some issues in the food and drink areas in the North Stand, with long queues waiting for hot food still being made blocking those trying to get access to the takeaway offerings available in the display units.
      • Some boggy grassed areas, especially in Anzac Ave, were churned into mud by fans. Those quagmires won’t be a good look if they are still there for the Rugby World Cup.
      • Where were the taxis after the game? A colleague tells me he had a 30-minute wait some distance from the stadium. Surely a taxi rank is needed somewhere close by.
      • Why did they water the stadium pitch before the game and also at half time?
      • And did anyone else notice the pitch was quite churned up in front of the goalmouth at the west end of the ground?

      • Elizabeth

        Must be time David Davies came out with a “DVML” statement on turf management, within a full debrief of stadium performance to date.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Fri, 26 Aug 2011
        More control for traffic at stadium
        By David Loughrey and Matt Haggart
        More people will be brought in this Saturday for traffic management duties at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, as organisers continue to tweak systems to make the facility work smoothly. Last week’s Phoenix football game stretched the roading system, as 15,000 people flooded into the area.
        Read more


        ### ODT Online Wed, 24 Aug 2011
        Your say
        Stadium – no parking
        By kirsten.l
        Must say I love the signage on the State Highway before and after the stadium that appeared last night…..
        Can someone please tell me who the car parks are actually for?
        ODT Link

  159. Anonymous

    Injunction explained:
    The little bird explains that this is self-inflicted and a direct consequence of the SH88 property acquisitions. There is likely to be a sequel.

  160. Elizabeth

    Might have to do something about this thread, it’s long and jumbled.
    Interesting comments though.

  161. Peter

    Interesting comments, Pedant. When you say the whole thing ‘looks and feels cheap’, this ties in with comments elsewhere that even some seats have been broken with people clambering over them. Maybe they need to clamber with access to and from seats, in the stands, being so tight.
    We can only anticipate ‘unforeseen’ maintenance issues, not long down the road, once the stadium has settled in. Especially if the materials are cheap and Chinese made.
    One view of the stadium,however, that does kind of feel more impressive, is the side where you approach from Ravensbourne. You can see into the stadium more clearly and the glasshouse effect is more obvious.

  162. Calvin Oaten

    Talk about cheap! Buy one pair of shoes at ‘Smiths Sports Shoes’ and get one free ticket for the Otago Canterbury game. Spend over $200 and get two tickets. So if you want to know how big the paying crowd is, just check out their shoes. Just kidding, but hey, David Davies is energetic about making this stadium work.

  163. Hype O'Thermia

    The steakholders of course.

  164. Russell Garbutt

    When we look at who gets first-class treatment at the stadium, readers of this site will be interested to know that the recent “function” held at the stadium on 29 July to celebrate the “completion” and attended by the usual members of the inner circle seemed not to be organised by anyone connected to the Council.

    A month ago, I asked some basic questions of the Council about this function held at our venue which I thought to be fairly reasonable. The questions I asked were:

    • Who was on the invited guest list for the function to celebrate the stadium completion held at the stadium on 29 July along with which organisation each individual represented.
    • What was the total cost of the function including any payment made to the stadium.
    • Which budget met this cost.

    The answer I received was that:

    • The function was not organised or funded by the Council. We do not hold a record of the guest list. Some Council elected members and staff attended as guests.
    • The Dunedin City Council does not hold this information.
    • The function was not funded by any Council budget.

    Readers may then start to ask themselves just who issued the invitations to this function? Was it funded by one of the mythical private funders? Was it the Carisbrook Stadium Trust who are of course an agent of the Council? Was it a grateful contractor? Was it a very grateful seller of land? Was it the Marketing Bureau Ltd who supplied so many useless reports for us? Seeing as how it is our venue, how were the ratepayers reimbursed for the use of the venue? Was it one of the habitual investors who have loaned their money to the DCC through taking up bonds? Was it DCHL who might have wanted to put themselves in just a little more debt? Just who were the most generous hosts?

    So many interesting questions and so many blanks in responses. Just what you might expect I suppose from snouts in the public trough.

    • Elizabeth

      Russell, I wonder if the name sponsor of the stadium finally forked out, with the hospitality. But seriously, stadium rats do smell.

      The ODT’s ‘celebrity’ photos (available for viewing and purchase…) will be a good start on the guest list – for those that turned up to glory in the accomplishment. Whatever that was, leaving most Dunedin residents and ratepayers to dumpster dive in the aftermath.

  165. pat adamson

    Thank’s Russell, your comments are great. It’s time Mr Farry came clean on the private funding. We are only asking for the amounts given that have no benefits attached. That means corporate boxes don’t count or naming right etc. This information is a Ratepayer right as we have been lumbered with this debt without any proper say, no referenda was held that we could have a binding vote on. Nothing was really done to get full ratepayer consent that this amount of debt should require.
    Come on Mr Farry give us the truth about Private Funding, it’s time to come clean.

  166. Anonymous

    But the concert is sold out. Malcolm said so.

  167. Anonymous

    But the concert is sold out. Malcolm said so. Twice.

  168. Hype O'Thermia

    And so it was, and still is. Note that the seats are in pairs, 3s and 4s – they have been breeding in the meantime.

  169. Anonymous

    Further to earlier comments about an article in NZ Today, issue 47 includes an article featuring some local adventure and tourist operators. Thankfully its title was not related to an Oddity-style fantasies about professional rugby players and stadiums. The story by Tony Haycock was therefore a refreshing read about the opportunities that exist beyond the local media’s inward gaze. The unobtrusive advertising could also be easily overlooked which was also a pleasant surprise.

    ### NZ Today – Issue 47 – December/January 2013
    Dunedin Wet and Wild
    By Tony Haycock
    For the traveller passing through Dunedin with their thoughts on an exciting destination with outdoor fun and adventure, the possibility of actually having the Edinburgh of the South as journey’s end may well have never entered their minds. What the city seems more suited to, are the rising numbers of cruise ship passengers on day excursions from the increasing numbers of cruise ships passing through New Zealand waters. […] However if you thought this, you would be wrong. That was what I thought and I was wrong. Surfing I was aware of but, mountain biking, rafting and sea kayaking are just some of the outdoor entertainments Dunedin and immediate environs have on offer […]

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