By Bev Butler
The Long Term Plan [2012/2022] as a document is only beneficial to the community when it fully incorporates the probable financial outcomes for the city. This Long Term Plan has not taken into account the financial future of the stadium. (The DVML six-monthly report has been delayed until after submissions close). The DVML report will reveal that the stadium is running at a multimillion dollar loss and it is now time to do a cost-benefit analysis of whether it is financially viable for the stadium to remain open or not. The results of a cost-benefit analysis of the stadium would then put the city in a clearer position to then make decisions for the future. The city in its present overwhelming debt situation can ill-afford to continue to sustain the stadium multimillion dollar losses. The Council has been capitalising interest for the last few years to the tune of over $40m. This situation if allowed to continue will eventually result in bankruptcy.
The main anchor tenant of the stadium (the ORFU) is technically insolvent and has already come to Council requesting a bailout. The Dunedin ratepayers cannot afford to keep on bailing out the ORFU. It will not be long before the ORFU again request another bailout. This has been the pattern over many years. I have no confidence that the ORFU bailout conditions will be met just as the stadium conditions were not met (see attached spreadsheet).
The council has to change its mindset that ‘what is good for Otago rugby is good for Dunedin/ Otago.’ Clearly, on a financial basis, this has not been true for many years. It is not the DCC’s role to continually ‘wet nurse’ the rugby interests in this town by caving in to their repeated, self=destructive mode of operating. Namely, their calling on public funds when they get into financial trouble.
It has become clearer as Official Information has been released that the process that led to the building of the stadium was corrupt. I request that the Council instigate a full independent inquiry into the whole stadium project so that those responsible for misleading the community are held to account. Until this happens the stadium will continue to divide the community.