Forsyth Barr Stadium Review

Updated post 20.11.14 at 2:31 p.m.

████ Download: Stadium Review Nov v 15 (585 KB, DOC)

This Report should be left on the table by Councillors at the Extraordinary Council Meeting on Monday 24 November, since the implications of the Review’s published content and lack of content are very serious indeed.

Stadium Review - SummaryRecommendations 24 Nov 2014

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

79 Comments

Filed under Business, CST, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Democracy, DVL, DVML, Economics, New Zealand, NZRU, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

79 responses to “Forsyth Barr Stadium Review

  1. Elizabeth

    Remember when….
    The official opening of the Stadium at University Plaza was held on Friday 5 August 2011. Those attending had to be seated by 6.50am for the hour long celebrations which began at 7.00am.
    But the dirt, mess, conflicts of interest and other abhorrent deceits by the GOBs had started much earlier, mostly out of sight. The “stadium project” was physical, psychological and ‘pecunious’ for just a few men.
    As estimated before it was built, the stadium is now making losses for ratepayers in the order of +$20 million per annum.

    Received Wed, 19 Nov 2014 at 10:13 p.m.
    Note mention of “our stadium”.

    ### interest.co.nz November 19, 2014 – 09:29am
    Gareth Kiernan looks into the murky world of public body cost-benefit analysis and finds it mingled with patch-protection and ego justifications
    OPINION —Wellington City Council has recently approved the construction of a 1,200-seat convention centre in Wellington, which the Council will lease on a long-term basis from the developer at a cost of $4 million per year. The aspect of this deal that has unsettled residents and ratepayers is the projection that revenue from the convention centre is only expected to average $2 million per year, leaving a $2 million shortfall. The fact that the Council is embarking on this project knowing, ahead of time, that it will be a loss-making venture, provides an obvious reason as to why we haven’t seen private sector investment in this space in the past, and has led some people to question the business acumen of the Council.

    (Excerpt) Stadiums & airports
    Stadium building is a particularly galling example for many Dunedin residents, with Forsyth Barr Stadium failing to meet its revenue projections, leaving the City Council saddled with an enormous amount of debt. And you can tune into Radio Sport and hear the likes of Mark Watson still bleating about how we should have built a national stadium on Auckland’s waterfront ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup – despite the fact that an 80,000-seat stadium would probably only be filled twice a year for All Black tests and would fall well short of covering its costs.

    Read more at http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/72972/gareth-kiernan-looks-murky-world-public-body-cost-benefit-analysis-and-finds-it-mingle

  2. Mike

    So the proposal is that we stop paying the DVL/DVML board and kick in even more money to prop up rugby – $18m for the next decade – not a single mention of trying to get rugby to pay a fair sustainable price for their tickets or raising the private fundraising rugby promised. Instead it seems that they propose dismantling the funding from luxury seat sales that was $4m, not actually rent, but (as this report points out) money being used to pay off the multimillion dollar loan taken out when the rugby fundraising never eventuated.

  3. Elizabeth

    My first thought is RIOT.

  4. Peter

    Sue Bidrose’s so-called review, from a quick look, is basically incompetent and unethical because, as Mike says, no onus has been placed on those interests, who pushed for this fraudulent project, to pay up or else face a real threat to close the stadium down.
    Instead we see more money from struggling ratepayers to prop things up with a minor rearrangement of organisational structures to make it look like there is change… where there is basically none.
    What with continuing cost controversies with other council projects, no prosecutions with the Citifleet fraud, it makes you wonder if this council is about business as usual from the Harland/Athol Stephens days.
    The firing of other incompetent management within the DCC seems immaterial with this ongoing mess.
    I have lost faith.

  5. Mike

    So there is one thing here – in the past various councillors (Thomson for example) have claimed that no pressure can be applied to the ORFU because the city depended on that ‘rent’ (really the income from luxury seat sales that goes to to pay off the loan the city took out when private fundraising didn’t happen) – here they say that that income stream is going away even though it was supposed to last for a decade, the term of the loan – that means that all the playing hard ball with rugby is back on the table and people like Thomson can no longer use that excuse to run interference for rugby.

  6. Elizabeth

    Don’t forget that the heavy hand of DCHL chairman Graham Crombie has been all over this Review document. Perhaps a new chief executive has been sold down the river by the same old boys (GOBs). Who knew.
    Best to relearn our old traditions of sock darning and reversing bed sheets, we’re going to need all of them to see this out.

  7. Peter

    I am sick of hearing excuses about the influences of others on council affairs. It is their job to uphold the rights of the citizens and protect them.The DCC, both admin and political have failed to do so. A big FAIL at that. Disgusting.

  8. Elizabeth

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/323980/stadium-needs-more-ratepayer-cash-review

    “As a result of the changes, it was forecast ratepayers would need to fund an extra $1.810 million each year – for at least the next decade – to put the stadium on a “sustainable basis”, Dr Bidrose’s report said. The proposals will be considered by councillors at an extraordinary council meeting on Monday, and, if approved, lead to public consultation through next year’s budget hearings.”

    Message to All. Sustainable and Stadium make DCC and its Sayers a laughing stock.

    Link received.

    10783590_600x400

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/opinion/cartoons

  9. Peter

    A ‘sustainable’ basis? They have got to be joking. This gives the word ‘sustainable’ a bad name. It has become one of those meaningless buzz words used by bureaucrats to mean something entirely different. What kind of planet do these people live on to mouth this kind of bullshit?

  10. Jacob

    And the Mosgiel community board lead by Feathery Bill and the whale, plus the hangers on, want to build a $20,000,000 plus swimming pool with ratepayer assistance. YEAH RIGHT.

  11. Rob Hamlin

    Is this pathetic document all the information that Councillors will get at this meeting? Are the public allowed to attend? If they are then I think that all who can should go.

    Councillors should insist on a detailed answer to a question relating to the recommendation to allow the Stadium to continue operating. That question is “Why?”

  12. Peter

    The overall picture is one of a council out of control, making up policies to fit favourite pet projects and worrying about how to pay for them later on. It’s like someone comes along with a bright idea and, in order to be ‘positive’, others decide the best tactic is to go along with that idea whether it is ‘sustainable’ or not. Why? Because that is the easiest thing to do and nobody likes disagreements.
    The council looks like it makes up policy on the run, produces the right documentation to justify its actions, and…. that’s it…. after a ‘consultation period’ with people who agree with them.

  13. Whippet

    The Bidrose honeymoon is over.

    • Mike

      Well look at the committee:
      – Sue Bidrose, Chief Executive Officer, Dunedin City Council
      – Graham Crombie, Chairperson, Dunedin City Holdings Limited
      – John Hansen, Chairperson, Dunedin Venues Management Limited and Dunedin Venues Limited
      – Grant McKenzie, Group Chief Financial Officer
      – Terry Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Dunedin Venues Management Limited and Dunedin Venues Limited.

      There’s no one there likely to have a view substantially different from the status quo – no one’s there to ask “how can we avoid the ratepayers getting screwed again?” at every juncture – the result is not really all that surprising.

  14. Elizabeth

    To be fair, the chief executive will know that better than anyone.

  15. Whippet

    “To be fair” Does she and the councillors actually know the meaning of that?

  16. Peter

    I think people have been extremely patient waiting for real change to happen under Orders and Bidrose. It is not going to happen. Now it is quite clear they do not have the personal strength to confront those responsible for this financial debacle that is the stadium and obtain all the promised private funding and other donations.
    If they can’t get prosecutions and compensation from petty car thieves, what hope have we got that they will have the balls to chase potential white collar crime involved with the stadium?

  17. Simon

    I couldn’t agree more with your last paragraph Peter, but while the Dunedin Public keep installing a majority of incompetent councillors who have a pecuniary interest (they need the money to survive) to run the city affairs then nothing will change.

  18. Elizabeth

    To those who know critics, economists, commentators and journalists outside Dunedin who have been following the Stadium Disaster (DCC, CST, DCHL, DVML/DVL) as well as the Fortunes of Professional Rugby, send them copy of the stadium review and tell them to let rip. Local government spending is a hot topic right now.

  19. Simon

    Elizabeth It will be interesting to see how the ODT handle this, as they were one of the main backers of the stadium.

    • Elizabeth

      Simon, the owners of the newspaper are rather nose-out-of-joint with the Mayor these days owing to the Rocks of Warrington Beach. Anything could happen.

      • Elizabeth

        ### dunedintv.co.nz April 28, 2015 – 7:02pm
        Warrington beach access issue reaches resolution
        Following months of debate, there’s now a resolution in respect to the rocks blocking beach access at Warrington. While the issue continues to divide the small seaside community, the city council’s taking a stand. But it may not have reached the end of the road just yet.
        Video

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Channel 9 only reported the Warrington Rocks council time-waster. Law says rocks gotta go. So what do our 9% pay rise deserving councillors do? Burble on as if the last one left burbling wins a car, having already stuffed around getting reports, and not getting reports yet because those who were supposed to be reporting were rotating like Oo-jah birds. One speaker, worth at least 25% extra if dog-with-bone-ness is counted, went on at great length in defence of the right of roads to be protected from fossil fuelled transport until repetition of “ecological values” made my teeth ache. Not being due a 9% income boost this is no laughing matter, not with the cost of dentistry the way it is.

  20. Peter

    Thinking further on the ‘sustainability’ basis for throwing more money down the stadium dunny. (The use of that word blew me away.)
    I think, by using this word, there is the distinct possibility that the intent is not just to deceive the ratepayers, but there is also an element of delusion involved. The kind of thing that happens when you really don’t know what to do about such an unholy mess, but you carry on, regardless, on the same destructive path, hoping the good wish eventually comes to fruition. The human mind has a funny way of kidding itself at times and when this becomes a collective group think situation, the implications for affecting so many people becomes so much worse in this case.
    I know there are some who think that the whole stadium vision thing of Farry’s was not just personal self interest disguised, but an actual delusion on his part. Here we go again, in delusion, with this stadium (cough) review. I am in no doubt there will be a very pressured group think situation going on at next Monday’s Extraordinary meeting. Most of those councillors will be so overwhelmed by the whole thing, they will give up and sign off on the dotted line after expressing the usual misgivings, of course.
    We know these people are under incredible stress. The trouble is decisions made under stress are usually bad ones.

    • As the old saying goes “Do what you have always done and you get what you have always got” I can’t see the DCC doing anything different and what we always get is more debt.

  21. Sally

    Sport Otago community sports adviser Alan Nicholls, commenting in the ODT today about the financial crisis at Basketball Otago finishes with the following:
    “The Otago Rugby Football Union avoided liquidation two years ago with the help of the community, so there is a precedent.”
    Alan Nichols conveniently forgets that Basketball Otago doesn’t have a Carisbrook to sell to the ratepayers at double the valuation.

    • Mike

      The ORFU originally offered to GIVE Carisbrook to the city as their contribution to building the new stadium. A while later their financial situation must have sunk in (or their accountants had a hard word with them). Carisbrook was the asset that was backing their loans, they couldn’t just give it away – even worse by pushing for a shiny new competing stadium they were devaluing their primary asset making it largely essentially worthless.

      So by the time the DCC bought Carisbrook the ORFU owned a white elephant worth less than what they owed if the DCC hadn’t stepped in and bought it for far more than it was worth (as it found out when it tried to sell it) the bank would likely have stepped in and wound them up. This was the FIRST time the DCC bailed them out. After shuffling $1m off to a secret trust the ORFU only had enough to pay off their loans.

      The DCC rented Carisbrook back to the ORFU but they didn’t pay their rent, they were still selling tickets to games that brought in less than it cost to put them on (just like they do in the new stadium). The DCC also guaranteed the ORFU’s bank loans – if you spend more than you earn for long enough eventually even those loans won’t be enough even if you don’t pay all your bills – eventually things came to a head with the city and many others being owed hundreds of thousands – this was the SECOND time the city bailed them out, in gratitude they sued the Mayor when he spoke the truth for once.

      Now they want another $18m from the ratepayers’ pockets to support their rugby habit.

  22. Peter

    FFS. Another tosser swilling at the public well. Don’t these people ever give up. Manage your own financial affairs properly, buddy.

  23. Elizabeth

    Updated post at top of thread. Comment from Bev Butler.

  24. I have to admit it, I’ve not been paying attention (like Richard Thomson) to this stadium business. For the first time, I have become aware of the fact that Dunedin has two stadiums. One costs a total of just $13.292 million per annum to service, of which the ratepayers’ direct contribution is just $9.840m pa.
    That is obviously better than the other because it costs in excess of $22 million pa to service. Now I know where that one is. It’s known as the Forsyth Barr Stadium situated in what was formerly Aotea St.

    The other one I’m not sure at all where it is. Sue Bidrose knows where it is, because the details of the $13.292m are just uplifted direct from pages 16 and 17 of the 2013-14 Annual Plan. Old news in effect. What was the panel paid for other than to run a smokescreen to blindside the public and most of the council.

    In fact, I doubt that there is another one, but simply a quiet, none too subtle re-arranging of the financial deck chairs. You really would think that she of all people, having ‘no dog in the fight’, would have grasped the ‘nettle’ and sorted it. By appointing seriously conflicted people to the panel in the first place was just about guaranteeing getting the outcome we have.

    Consider Option 2: Close and Demolish the Stadium. They come up with the fact that it would need to increase to $13.6m per annum for interest and loan payments, an increase of $3.760m pa over the $9.840m at present. How bloody convenient. That’s what happens when you ignore reality and don’t see the subsidies, capital injections, DVML and DVL’s collective annual losses, which all go into other folks’ assessments of over $22 million pa.

    But then, why the need to demolish? Just close it and dump the operating staff. That is how for decades the old Carisbrook operated. It was only with the advent of professional rugby that it changed and broke the organisation.

    Let it be known it is there, and available for any enterprise including rugby to use at the proper negotiated fee per event. Did the panel consider that? No they did not. It’s main aim was to paint the blackest picture in order to sell the status quo.

    Without having fully studied the report it seems a soft sell to me for the citizens to be conned into carrying on being rorted.

    Of course, Option 1: Continue to Operate the Stadium, comes out tops. The advantages:

    # The city continues to have a top quality venue. It still would if closed but left available.

    # Revenue is able to be generated from the operation of the venue. Ditto if closed but available.

    # The city gains economic and social benefits. Ditto if closed but available, though the claims frequently made about financial benefits are not much more than figments of the imagination.

    # The ratepayer contribution towards the Stadium will need to increase. Not necessarily if the closed but available option was taken.

    Going back to the claim of the increase of $3.760m from ratepayers if the demolish option is adopted, this is qualified by saying that the ability to make ‘subvention’ payments from a profit-making company to a loss-making company is lost. Crass misrepresentation of the facts, because if closed but available it would still be in business and losing money (albeit less than at present). Secondly, “the operation of the stadium generates sufficient cash flow to make an annual contribution towards debt repayment”. If it runs on annual deficits, how can it be seen as positive, and funding sources lost if closed. Only if demolished.

    Then there is the problem created for Mr Cull if the recommended transfer of $30m from DVL back to the DCC which blows his ‘blather’ of reducing the city’s debt out of the water. Pushing the balance of $108m odd back to DCTL, not so much. It is just like putting it in a dark cupboard only bringing it out annually as part of the consolidated debt. Dave and Richard wouldn’t have a problem with that as they simply wouldn’t understand it.

    As a report this can only be described as a whitewash, designed to produce a predetermined outcome. In a word “False”.

  25. Elizabeth

    Calvin, back when…. Contract signed (27.4.09) – the day of that other DCC Extraordinary Meeting…. where Councillors didn’t know what they were signing or the implications. It was called ‘Professional Rugby’s Free Trip on Ratepayers and Residents’ —nothing has changed since, except that ratepayers and residents have become MORE and MORE indebted by the Dunedin City Council’s Political Skulduggery, Incompetence, Collusion and Conflicts of Interest.
    White Collar Crime. For a White Elephant. That’s Dunedin, folks.

  26. Peter

    I suspect this stadium shambles will continue to dog Sue Bidrose and Co and Dave Cull and Co until they are driven out, by exhaustion, from not facing and dealing with the deluded thinking they have taken on board.
    By then they will have well and truly exhausted any goodwill and find themselves sitting alone and despondent in a city cafe like an observed ex Mayor I saw the other day.

  27. Russell Garbutt

    I have just had a cursory read through this report and so will need time to digest, but I don’t know if I saw any reference whatsoever to the case for getting professional rugby to pay either what they promised, or pay to use. If not mentioned this is irresponsible. The figures, at first glance, seem incorrect. If the stadium loses money operationally each and every year, then why are the operational income figures only included in the costs of demolition? Like Calvin, the annual costs do not reflect the actual reality, but if the DCC repeats this smaller annual cost often enough it seems to think that people will believe it.

    Transferring where the debt lies of course is just shifting the deck chairs round on the Titanic. The ratepayers are still liable.

    The sentences that take the cake however are those round the damage that the authors see about Council competence. They think that if the stadium were to be demolished then people would wonder about Council competence. Holy Shit. Ever since Farry and his close mates set out a plan to get the ratepayers footing the bill for a new professional rugby stadium, the Council, one way or another, has been complicit in either the plan or in the cover up of the whole process. Remember Harland’s comments to the DCC way back? It was more important for a perception to be put round rather than the facts?

    This stadium is a mausoleum to ego, and a whole lot worse. This report at first cursory glance is a very sad document that fails to really address the main issues that many hoped would be addressed.

    • “They think that if the stadium were to be demolished then people would wonder about Council competence. ”
      Classic, fit to stand alongside “When the bride wears white it proves she’s a virgin.”

  28. Elizabeth

    Texts just now from Bev say she has been interviewed by NewstalkZB and Radio NZ News. Fairfax News has also been in touch and Bev has sent a comment to ODT.

    Links to these and more will be posted here when available.

    Meanwhile at RNZ News: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/259845/keep-dunedin-stadium,-report-says

    Comment received from Bev Butler
    Thu, 20 Nov 2014 at 1:53 p.m.

    The Stadium Review promised much but delivered nothing except another financial bombshell for the ratepayers.
    Yet again the ratepayers are being asked to bail out the stadium without pursuing those responsible for the stadium financial disaster. The main issue has not been addressed, ie the Carisbrook Stadium Trust’s failure to deliver on the promise of the private funding. The stadium needs to be put on hold until the CST delivers the private funding they promised the ratepayers. The rugby unions, likewise, have never made a contribution to the stadium and have bludged off the ratepayers to serve their own interests.
    This latest financial demand on the ratepayers will not be the last. Talk of making the stadium sustainable is absolute crap, a sick joke. There never was, nor ever will be, anything sustainable about the stadium.

    Unfortunately, I will not be in Dunedin to attend the Council meeting on Monday. I’m sure that many others will attend to express their disgust at yet another plea for bailing out the stadium. The councillors should throw out this pathetic Stadium Review and seriously look at holding to account those responsible for the stadium financial disaster. An independent forensic audit of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust is urgently required to ascertain exactly where the $71 million paid to the CST went.

    [ends]

    • What, is this that frightful naysayer, the same Bev who opposes Progress, so selfishly anti-rugby that she begrudged the city getting a fabulous asset guaranteed to Put Dunedin On The Map? Golly gosh, how times change – or do they?
      She failed and Dunedin’s definitely On The Map. People smirk at a mention of it, tap their heads and make a circling gesture with a forefinger. We’re back to the gold rush days of being a major NZ city, the one with all the money (alas, today it’s in the red column not the black, but please don’t quibble). After decades of drifting village-wards we’re right up there with Auckland, only $112 less debt per person than Auckland’s eye-watering figure. Now “another $1.8 million from ratepayers per year” which on previous form means, ah… now what did $66 turn into, and how long did it take to reach its current figure? Means $1.8 million that we’re mentioning today. Treat us like drips, drip-feed us.

      A trickle of extras for booking online, booking in person, paying by cheque, paying by cash, paying by plastic, postage and packaging, insurance, delivery, pickup from depot, user-pays recycling disposal fee – precedents and hints for catching up with Auckland are available everywhere. How about a Rortatown competition, involve everyone in finding more ways they can be ripped off? Dunedin Pride – we can’t let Auckland get away with this, even though people like Mrs Naysayer Bev herself bust a gut to stop us becoming contenders in the City Mismanagement semifinals.

  29. Peter

    It’s symptomatic of the floundering taking place that the stadium review was delayed for so long. Ironic given they couldn’t even come up with a truly sustainable solution. Incompetence writ large.
    Buckling to vested interests had won the day.

  30. Elizabeth

    A vile swarm of locusts upon their houses. However, Dunedin ratepayers and residents (and all the Otago outliers paying over and above to Aurora) still may get that long hoped for grand gladitorial slaying at the Stadium arena in next weeks. No-one better to organise the event than Terrence the Bloody Bruiser from Oz. The spectacle of Farry’s come-uppance promises macabre and sadistic delights. Roll up Roll Up.

  31. Elizabeth

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/20158059/dunedin-mayor-'stadium-is-not-a-lemon

    The juicy MP3 – Dave Cull at his Best [audio]

    Apologies, MP3 link to Cull’s interview now restored. It appears RNZ had entered the wrong url initially.

  32. Elizabeth

    BTW that was Bleeping Dave Cull the Nincompoop, interviewed by Mary Wilson at RNZ National’s Checkpoint. Once again (yawn), this is the Mayor calling those vociferous types who simply want MOTHBALLING, the “lunatic fringe”.

    Of course, as a wise woman and experienced broadcast journalist Mary Wilson wasn’t believing Daaave’s patter.

    This stunningly obvious interview fully attests to the Mayor’s lame callous disregard for the poor and vulnerable of Dunedin and those opposing misuse of public funds —the hallmark of his two-term mayoralty.

    • Mike

      To be fair he does say that secretly he wishes the damn thing would go away.

    • Russell Garbutt

      I’ve listened to the interview and I really object to Cull’s dismissive remarks about the lunatic fringe. All of those who opposed the stadium right from the first go have been proved to be right. He is actually the lunatic for not recognising what is real and what is not. He, at the time was a much better option than Chin, but at the end of the day he has been proven to be a bit worse. Why? Because he pretended to be something else, but has proven himself to be nothing better.

    • He came across, to me at least, as not the sharpest knife in the plasticine box, risen to a couple of levels above competency, not quite bright enough to know he should say very VERY little.

      His explanation of why demolishing the stadium would cost more than keeping it illustrated his difficulties framing in his own mind a three dimensional picture of the problem. His analogy of a car that’s too expensive to maintain and run provided a clear picture of his level of understanding. His view, that by selling the car at less than you paid for it meant you still had to pay off the difference between that and what you’d paid for it, ignored the ongoing costs of a vehicle that proved totally unsuitable and too expensive, and ignored the advice of those multimillionaires who say “don’t fall in love with your investments”. Sure there will be a pitiful amount received compared with what it cost, but at least its costs won’t keep mounting up and up, so the debt will be more quickly paid off and then there will be money for moving forward, REALLY investing in REAL assets this time, if by some remote chance by then we have a council with a majority of clued-up Vandervis types instead of wibbley-wobbles whose thought-processes are as incisive as a kapok pillow.

  33. Lee Wyllie

    What a bunch of doom and gloom fellows you all are, if only we all flew the Dunedin Flag instead of all this criticism, let’s be proud of what our City does, after all what has been is hindsight, let’s get on with making our City a place of value for the next generation.

  34. Well, I have now digested the whole thing and it is true, the deck chairs will be moved, assuming council accepts the recommendations of the report. I see no reason to believe that they won’t. Being one of Cull’s ‘lunatic’ fringe it pleases me to hear him once again make a prat of himself on national radio.

    Option 4 is the recommended choice as outlined pages 15 – 22. It involves DVL and DVML being placed into the family of DCHL. DVML has a serious problem in as much as its budgets cannot handle the rent of $4 million pa paid to DVL. So, the report says that it should be halved to $2 million pa. This, of course poses a problem for DVL as it needs the $4m to handle its debt. The question of DVL’s debt to equity ratio is critical and with this shortfall in rent there needs to be a reduction in that debt to restore the ratio.

    Easy done says the report. Simply reduce it by $30m to just $108m and put the $30m back onto the DCC’s books. This poses a couple of problems, one being Cull’s claim to get the DCC’s debt down to ($200m) by 2021. The other is that it will require an additional $1.810 million pa from the ratepayers. It all of course makes no difference to the consolidated group debt. That remains hovering around ($620m). So I guess the next headache for Cull will be to hold to his “no more than 3% rate increases”.

    The report then spends another 7 pages reviewing the economic benefits projections of the stadium going back to the BERL report of 2004. And we all know the benefits which have accrued in the ten years since then. It’s really just pages of more speculation which Cull and ‘his lunatic fringe’ will cling to like drowning men to a life raft. It revisits the close/demolition financials, spends a lot of space on DVML, extolling the virtues of CEO Davies and the initiations of seeking events like Rod Stewart, Jimmy Barnes and Lorde. It briefly talks about the merits or not of an Artificial Turf option to increase the flexibility of use. Given the current heavy usage of the stadium by rugby, it was decided the risk of an artificial surface could jeopardise that.

    Strangely, though it acknowledges that heavy usage, absolutely nowhere in the whole report does it so much as mention the fees to rugby for that usage. Just why they can make all of their budgetary projections on viability of debt coverage, operational cost recoveries, and in general assess the running of the complex, and still ignore that one absolutely vital aspect dumbfounds me. Talk about a ‘lunatic fringe’, it’s right there in the building.

    The whole thing falls down on that one major factor, it’s “RUGBY RUGBY RUGBY, STUPID”. The whole thing is doomed if they can’t bring themselves to face that.

    • Mike

      One thing they don’t address are the tax implications of moving $30M off of DCHL’s books on to DCC’s – they won’t be able to use subvention payments to avoid tax on the money they use to pay it off – it will mean that they will need to find another $10m from somewhere.

    • @Calvin Oaten
      November 20, 2014 at 10:32 pm
      Shuffling the deck chairs is what shufflers do as you know Calvin.
      But I think the nub of what you say is here:

      Easy done says the report. Simply reduce it by $30m to just $108m and put the $30m back onto the DCC’s books. This poses a couple of problems, one being Cull’s claim to get the DCC’s debt down to ($200m) by 2021. The other is that it will require an additional $1.810 million pa from the ratepayers. It all of course makes no difference to the consolidated group debt. That remains hovering around ($620m). So I guess the next headache for Cull will be to hold to his “no more than 3% rate increases”.

      He (the Mayor) will disguise the pathetic and overblown management structures that surround this edifice that the council has allowed to be constructed to manage a few occasionally used buildings. This is shuffling. To keep the rates down to be within the 3% increase envelope he will sell off more family silver. He seems to be at it now with notification for the sale of Open Space Reserves including a chunk of the Town Belt (76 Lovelock Ave).

      Frankly I would rather keep some of the silver and consider cutting this monster that these shufflers have created down to a size that suits this little town.

      You observed earlier that Carisbrook was left empty during most of the time that it was run by the ORFU with just the groundsman’s wages and a few utilities bills to pay. In other words – just a shoestring. It worked and was an appropriate form of administration. Well, I think that in truth this is really about the right level that should be aimed for here now for all of these things. The thing comes down to value for money. We are going to be stuck with this stadium. In reality it will be empty most of the time rather the same as Carisbrook and for that matter the Town Hall complex. Take a knife to the overblown administration surrounding all that and face up to providing what people actually use and need. But no you and I both know it is easier to ‘dun’ the ratepayer. If they persist with this then maybe Cull should be the first to be culled.

  35. Elizabeth

    ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:35 20/11/2014
    Stadium under fire as city eyes next steps
    By Wilma McKay
    Dunedin’s state of the art but financially failing Forsyth Barr Stadium is again under fire as the city digests a review of its funding, ownership and operation. In 2008, ratepayers were assured by the project’s lead organisation Carisbrook Stadium Trust the stadium would cost $188 million “and not a cent more”, with a capped annual cost to each ratepayer of $66. But even before its completion in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2009, stadium costs began rising. They are now $260 million and rising. City councillors are to gather for an extraordinary meeting on Monday to discuss recommendations out of the review, including one that ratepayers stump up $18.1 million extra over the next 10 years to keep the arena afloat.
    Read more

  36. Rob Hamlin

    My latest posting got abridged and turned into one enormous paragraph on the ODT: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/323980/stadium-needs-more-ratepayer-cash-review#comment-64924. The point made is an important one. It’s not the Stadium structure that costs the money, it’s the grass inside it that is required for pro-rugby, but a damn nuisance/obstacle for any other potential user cum revenue stream that costs the big biccies. Get rid of the grass and you get rid of pro-rugby now that Carisbrook is gone. All the other opportunities for this structure remain or are actually enhanced.

    This means you also get rid of the Suite 29 culture and all those extra ORFU related costs that DVML is currently carrying. Eliminating pro-rugby from DVML’s entertainment portfolio massively reduces DVML’s costs, and is unlikely to significantly reduce their revenue as there appears to be hardly any from this source. That should do the trick. This is probably the best option, but it was not considered – now I wonder why? It was my wonderings along these lines that got abridged.

    • Mike

      Rob: I see this happening to me sometimes too – I don’t think it’s malicious, more like operator error – I suspect sometimes they manually copy/paste text and lose the formatting information in the process.

  37. Tom

    Comments from Cr Thomson in today’s ODT.
    “The reality is, I don’t think we have much choice.”
    If that is as good as you can do Richard, may I suggest that you move on and let someone take your place that has the guts and the will to sort this mess out and bring those to account, who have created this unprecedented mismanagement of ratepayer funds.

  38. Mike

    I note with interest the response by Sandy Graham in this mornings dead-tree letters to the editor in the ODT – a correspondent wonders why ticket prices for the hot water pool have gone up …. she replies it’s because “it better reflects the cost of operating the pool”.

    Now if only she worked for Sue Bidrose and could avail her of this wonderful piece of DCC policy …..

    • Yet another instance of what we get because Councillors and DCC have an almost total lack of joined-up thinking. No wonder they have difficulties with whatever Lee Vandervis is going on about, issue after issue. Bewildered, their brains hurting, they conclude it can’t be their fault for not being up to the job, the majority can’t be wrong/dim/conned/tunnel-visioned. can it?

  39. Sally

    Stop swanning around Richard and get this mess sorted.

  40. Peter

    Excellent letter by Anne Elliot in Saturday’s paper in response to Chris Staynes’ bullshit crystal ball comment. As she points out, how come others knew what the peer reviews etc said about the stadium, while he claims he and others did not.
    He either didn’t do due diligence as a councillor or he is telling a lie or he is just plain stupid.
    In the end he and the others, except Stevenson and Butcher, voted for the stadium and have fed it in copious amounts of money to shore it up. A huge joke that Greater Dunedin see themselves as some kind of smug, reforming outfit… the sensible ones who know best how to progress this city. All they do is slither to vested interests like the Chin crowd.

    ODT 29.11.14 (page 34) -Eds

    ODT 29.11.14 Letters to the editor Elliot Lawson Dorney p34

  41. Cr Thomson: “I don’t think we have much choice.” Should read: “I don’t think, period.”

  42. Crystal balls, fail.
    Time for balls of steel.
    Bev could recommend a reliable supplier.

  43. Elizabeth

    DVML was planning to upgrade the stadium’s PA system next year. The cost was not yet known.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 9 Dec 2014
    Fix sought for sound issues as sales curbed
    By Chris Morris
    Forsyth Barr Stadium officials are looking to solve the venue’s sound problems after confirming ticket sales for major concerts are being restricted as a short-term fix. Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive Terry Davies told the Otago Daily Times yesterday the company was considering ways to improve the venue’s PA system and concert sound quality.
    Read more

    █ A proposal to replace the board of Dunedin Venues Ltd with new independent directors will be discussed in the non-public part of the next full Dunedin City Council meeting on December 15.

    ****

    Comment at ODT Online:

    A bigger scoop
    Submitted by MikeStk on Tue, 09/12/2014 – 7:12am.

    […] So maybe $500k-$800k more from the ratepayers then – right after we had been told that the funding problem had been ‘solved’ by dipping into our pockets every year for two decades – what gall! – this is the problem with this place, the more you give the more it thinks it can take.

    Read full comment here.

    • Elizabeth

      How bullish does the CEO get when swinging ratepayer guaranteed testicles at the negotiating table? Are they the size of peas or pumpkins?

      Kangaroo gets lude at ODT Online, see whole comment here

      Do you have faith in a frozen yogurt man. Is that the same as selling snowballs to the E……. ?

  44. Calvin Oaten

    “Chinese water torture.” So that’s what it is all about? First you get the story all is well, Dr Sue, finance guru Grant and co. have it sorted. Beaut! Then ‘wee Terry’ says we might have to close large chunks of the stadium for concerts due to the ‘appalling acoustics’. Hello? wasn’t this point up for consideration in the ‘full and comprehensive stadium review’? Terry was there, at least in body, I can’t speak for his brain. He said figures of $500K to $800K have been mentioned on the problem. He says that seems high. How the hell would he know, he’s never been right on anything else so far. My guess is it will be way way over that and the result would be…. well…. just as bad. Like putting ‘lipstick on a pig’, you can’t make a ‘silk purse’ out of a “sow’s ear’. Like we all know, this is an ongoing ‘suppurating sore’ which no amount of ointment and bandages will fix. Euthanasia might be the only solution, but the ‘sans’ medicine of Dr Bidrose and her team won’t countenance that. Where is that great ‘lightening strike’ when you want it?

  45. Peter

    Pretty awful timing all right. We had ‘the war to end all wars’ (WW1) and this ‘stadium review’ was pretty much heralded as ‘the review to end all reviews’. Problems fixed, we ‘move on’ as the mantra goes.
    One thing though. restricting seat numbers because of the acoustics saves them the embarrassment of not filling the stadium to capacity. There will be a new definition now of a ‘full stadium’ presumably. This ties in with Terry’s advice that they need to restrict events so the stadium does not get over exposed!

  46. Elizabeth

    A mere $57,000.

    “The southern franchise [Highlanders] enjoyed an average crowd of about 12,500 in its eight home games at Forsyth Barr Stadium last season and one big gate – more than 21,000 attended the game against the Crusaders – helped get the franchise into the black.”
    http://www.odt.co.nz/sport/rugby/327061/rugby-highlanders-record-profit-57000

  47. Hype O'Thermia

    Boldor, commenting on the odt online, reckons they could start doing the right thing re the Fubar Stadium as promised, small gesture though it would be: “…. It might pay a quarter of an interest payment for a month.”

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