Dunedin rugby’s manifest advantage, and ratepayer subsidy, Again

Received from Rob Hamlin
Fri, 17 Jun 2016 at 9:30 a.m.


ODT article today:


Response posting:

“Until quite recently I was the president of a major Otago sports club that has been operating since the 1870s. The club is located on Dunedin City Council recreational land.

The lease of this land very clearly stated that we were not permitted to hire out the facilities on this site for ANY commercial purposes. A breach led to immediate forfeiture of the lease. This was a condition that both this club, and others like it, adhered to.

It is adhered to because, penalties aside, this condition seems fair enough. The land upon which the club stands is leased for recreational purposes at what were, and are, well below the income that could be raised by the DCC for this publicly owned asset, had the land been zoned and leased for commercial purposes.

If anything the many rugby clubs in this town are even more privileged in terms of their subsidised occupation of public assets, as they have rooms that are on an even grander scale and sit in large and potentially very valuable areas of publicly owned land that are specifically contoured and laid out for rugby, and are maintained for this purpose at considerable public expense.

I am surprised that the DCC recreational leases for their facilities apparently do not contain similar blunt conditions to the one that my committee and I worked with. However, it is rugby, so perhaps I am not so surprised after all. Maybe the leases are rugby ‘specials’ or alternatively, the leases are the same and the apparently regular infringements are just winked at.

For rugby clubs to then maintain that they then have the ‘right’ to routinely operate these recreational facilities, that are largely provided and maintained by the the wider public, for their own commercial benefit, and thereby create a regular nuisance for said wider public within what are largely residential areas, speaks volumes for the ongoing and unreasonable sense of relative entitlement displayed by this small (and shrinking) subset of the community.

For those who become irritated by noise and other nuisances emanating from functions in nearby rugby venues, they may be well advised to acquire a copy of the DCC lease concerned to see if the club concerned are in breach of its terms, and what the penalties/remedies for any such breach are.”


Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Events, Finance, Infrastructure, Media, Name, NZRU, ORFU, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Sport, Town planning, Travesty, What stadium

7 responses to “Dunedin rugby’s manifest advantage, and ratepayer subsidy, Again

  1. Diane Yeldon


  2. Jacob

    This is the plan that the new Mosgiel Pool trust hope to adopt. Use ratepayer funds and Council reserve land for the pool, and then sublet out to their cronies the commercial cafe , gym etc. Without having to operate in a commercial zone, and rate free.

  3. Simon.

    Closing the Octagon for next week’s All Blacks test. Cr Kate Wilson is reported in the ODT as saying “if it weren’t to be closed, I think it would be a very unsafe environment for the Regent users (and) for the general public, given the number of people who will congregate there.”
    Here we go again. The Octagon is to be closed for rugby. It is not enough that we have had to spend $200 million on them for a playground, but they are now intruding on Dunedin citizens’ rights by closing the Octagon for a rugby piss up. If as Cr Wilson describes, that it will be an unsafe environment, why is council permitting this piss up to take place in the Octagon ? Give the Octagon back to the citizens of Dunedin, and let the rugby have their piss up in a controlled environment in the Stadium. Plenty of room there for lock ups and taxi stands.

    • Elizabeth

      Then the Dunedin hospitality trade would complain that Compass at the Stadium via DVML was exercising a business monopoly which was not the purpose of building the stadium with public funds. Sharing the fat around was the so-called, er positive, knock-on effect anticipated for local business. Tui.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    Rob makes some very valid comments re commercialisation of sporting bodies’ uses of leased DCC land. But in the case of the Stadium, there is, to the best of my knowledge not any lease arrangement between Stadium management nor DCC, and rugby groups, be it ORFU, Highlanders or the NZRU. In fact, I doubt that there is even a standard charge per event for rugby in that Stadium. If there was, why would the ratepayers be forced into such heavy subsidising of DVML management in order to give it some ‘charade’ of viability? As a matter of interest, now that the forthcoming test in the Stadium is a “dead rubber”, the punters who’ve ponied up obscene amounts to attend, will be ripe for “Octagon Ravings”.

  5. Simon

    Elizabeth. Isn’t this close down of the Octagon for a piss up monopoly.

    • Elizabeth

      Yes of course but it’s a serious Health and Safety matter requiring temporary road closure. Drunk patrons and vehicles don’t mix.

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