Major debate and valid questions remain about how the stadium was funded and built and whether the council made the right decision to throw in so much public money (originally $91m, but later $148m) as explained in the sidebars to this story.
### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 03/06/2012
Dunedin’s House of Blame
By Steve Kilgallon – Sunday Star Times
The prospect of yet more glittering new stadiums being constructed by ambitious city fathers – as being debated right now in Christchurch and Auckland – is met with scorn by some in Dunedin, where the saga of the Forsyth Barr Stadium has left a city divided and its ratepayers facing vast debts.
“five years of internecine warfare in Dunedin, three High Court actions, claims of conflicts of interest, a divided council, a pile of debt and an even bigger pile of documents”
A covered stadium was a grand concept for a city of just 125,000. At various times, it was imagined that it might host international soccer, rugby league and even swimming; that penguins would frolic in a (converted) adjoining quarry, and not just that the biggest names in rock music would visit, but, perhaps, the Dalai Lama and British royalty. With significant “private finance” support, the cost to the taxpayer would be capped at a mere $91 million and the stadium delivered to the dollar at a total cost of just $188m. Now it’s been built, there remains debate on quite how much it actually cost. Its creator says it came on time, on budget. Some critics argue double that. Dunedin council engaged consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers to give them a figure, and explain any blowout.
UPDATE: Steve Kilgallon’s story reposted at Stuff Sport
Stadium plans met with scorn [05:00 03/06/2012]
In full here, the sidebar appearing in Sunday Star Times print edition:
ON THE MONEY
Council wasn’t meant to bear all the weight of the stadium: a much spruiked “private sector finance” contribution was kicking in $45m.
The latest PricewaterhouseCoopers report says just $700,000 of a promised $45m had been found by last November (two months after opening day), and reported how various updates to the council scaled back the timing of that funding from 100 per cent received before completion to just three per cent. Peter Chin says when he left office in 2010, it was “on track”; however his successor, Dave Cull, dismisses the private sector finance (PSF) as “risky”.
It’s argued, perhaps validly, the PSF was really just advance operating revenue: it wasn’t philanthropic donations but long-term seat sales, sponsorships and lounges. If used to fund the build cost, it begs the question: what would offset operating costs once it was open?