The city’s flash stadium and soaring debt highlight growing unease at local authority borrowing.
### stuff.co.nz Last updated 10:14 04/03/2012
A new house of pain for Dunedin
City’s spending in the spotlight
By Lois Cairns – The Press
Dunedin city’s finances are in the spotlight as the collapse of the Otago rugby union throws fresh doubt on the economic viability of its swanky stadium – which ratepayers will spend the next 40 years paying for. Dunedin’s overall debt has increased 1700 per cent to $586 million since 2000 and frustrated ratepayers say the debt carried by the council is too high for a city of Dunedin’s size and that unchecked spending, in particular on the controversial stadium, has saddled them with an unfair financial burden. The Dunedin City Council has ordered an independent review of the final cost of the Forsyth Barr Stadium in response to a report which raised serious questions over the amount it spent on the venue. Forensic accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers are now combing through all the contracts and bills for the stadium to determine exactly how much money has been spent above the $198m budget. Russell Garbutt, the former chairman of Sport Otago, has been an outspoken critic of the council’s decision to fund the stadium, and said it was clear from day one the venture would be a financial disaster.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr