Tag Archives: Rugby stadiums

Stadium: Who is being protected?

Received from Russell Garbutt
15 July 2014 at 4:30 PM

What is an advertisement, and what content of an advertisement needs to be able to be verified?

Readers of the Otago Daily Times, and followers of the on-going stadium debate which shows no signs of lessening in its intensity may be intrigued to know just where the sensitivities of the ODT lie.

Let us look at some simple facts which cannot be in dispute.

The Carisbrook Stadium Trust which was acting as an agent of the Dunedin City Council, decided to publish a full page advertisement in the 31 May 2008 issue of the ODT. The advertisement was headed up “The Facts about the New Stadium”.

In this advertisement it was claimed that “The funding target establishes a debt free stadium. On this basis the business plan for the stadium shows that it makes a profit. Unlike nearly all other Council owned facilities it will not need annual funding support. This assessment has been confirmed by two of New Zealand’s leading accountancy firms”.

This is published and accessible and the wording of the advertisement cannot be interpreted in any other way as the heading refers to all that followed as “facts”.

The advertisement also claimed that the Trustees of the CST were “committed to delivering this stadium, under budget, on time and to achieve its financial, social and economic goals”.

Now of course some advertisements for wrinkle cream use all sorts of phrases like “clinical tests prove etc etc”. Many people are ready to pounce on claims that are unable to be substantiated, or are untruthful, or are misleading, or cannot be proven. In other words, the makers of the wrinkle cream need to be able to show that there were indeed “clinical tests”. The fact that the clinic may have been part of the company making the cream is sometimes understood, and in any case, the makers of the cream hardly ever claim that “totally independent clinical trials using double blind processes found what we are claiming is true”.

But this is not some pot of wrinkle cream.

The CST claimed a number of facts in their advertisement that they said were verified by two of New Zealand’s leading accountancy firms.

So, I submitted a very brief letter to the Editor of the ODT that simply asked this:

Dear Sir

In light of the continuing operating losses of the Awatea Street Rugby Stadium, and the on-going debt costs from its construction, it would be interesting to be informed of just who the two leading NZ accountancy firms were that confirmed the Carisbrook Stadium Trust’s claims published in the ODT in 2008 that the stadium would be built debt free and would return an annual operating profit. Maybe these two companies could now tell us how the reality differs so much from the published claims.

Yours sincerely

The ODT has informed me that my letter was noted but not selected for publication. This is newspaper speak for it’s been binned.

Why should this be?

Should the ODT not be interested in ensuring that an advertisement of a major size on a subject that had divided the City was not at all misleading in the same way that claims were made that may not be able to be substantiated, or could be shown to be unfactual?

Is the ODT particularly sensitive to the views of those that decided to publish this advertisement?

Had the ODT entered into any understanding or arrangement that the paper would support the stadium project which may have led to less than stringent standards of advertising being followed in this case?

But perhaps more telling is that to my knowledge, the ODT has not followed up on the obvious story of just who these two leading NZ accounting firms were that supported the claims of a debt free stadium and an annual operating profit. My point is that time and distance show us that these claims were so at odds with the claims made and published, that serious questions remain unanswered on just how the CST and these two companies got it so wrong.

Maybe another newspaper sees the story that the ODT doesn’t?

[ends]

CST advert ODT 31.5.08 detail

odt may 31 2008-1 (pdf cleaned)

█ Legible copy: CST Advertisement, ODT 31 May 2008 (PDF, 200 KB)

Related Posts and Comments:
9.7.14 John Ward, no mention of stadium or CST trusteeship
23.5.14 Stadium | DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 ● Benson-Pope…
9.5.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 Submission by Bev Butler
12.3.14 Carisbrook Stadium Trust: Financial statements year ended 30.6.13
8.3.14 Carisbrook Stadium Trust subject to LGOIMA
24.2.14 Carisbrook Stadium Trust: ‘Facts about the new Stadium’ (31.5.08)
22.2.14 Carisbrook Stadium Trust costs
24.1.14 Stadium: It came to pass… [stadium review]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

29 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, CST, Democracy, Economics, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design

Stadium: ODT editorial (1.2.14) —Garbutt debunks myths

### ODT Online Sat, 1 Feb 2014
Editorial: Business, or community asset?
The Dunedin City Council has been grappling with Forsyth Barr Stadium issues this past week. Fundamentally, they stem from the fact the economics of running the stadium are far worse than initially projected, an outcome that should surprise few. Many stadiums around the world struggle financially and Dunedin’s is no exception.
Read more

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Comment received from Russell Garbutt
Sunday, 2 February 2014 9:07 p.m.

The Editorial asks a question but answers it in the way to be expected, but unfortunately the arguments that the Editor uses are at best specious, and perhaps are nothing other than a rather obvious way to influence those that are now coming to grips with the review.

Let us debunk a few myths. I attended a number of meetings where Mr Farry presented and the rationale for the stadium altered dependent on the audience. I vividly recall a meeting of University staff held in Burns 1 chaired by the previous Vice Chancellor, Sir David Skegg, where Mr Farry said that it really was a stadium for the University. I attended other meetings where the stadium was to be built as a venue for regular and spectacular travelling rock shows. But it was always a professional rugby stadium.

The biggest elephant in this room is the myth that the stadium — whatever its purpose — was to be built debt free, and would require no ratepayer funding as it would generate a profit each and every year. For the ODT to compare this project with something like Moana Pool is plainly just stupid.

As others have pointed out, anyone can use Moana Pool at any time of day or a big portion of the night and they can do so on almost every day of the year. Thousands use it every day and it is truly a community amenity. The stadium is off limits and the only ones that can use it as they wish are the professional rugby teams.

Just why the ODT and the proponents of the stadium have not talked to Mr Farry, Sir Edgar, and the other members of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST) to clarify with them exactly how the stadium was to be provided and run at NO ratepayer cost, is a mystery. Maybe it is because the ODT know that the promises made to do exactly that were nothing other than wishful thinking. But then again, at that crucial time, the CST informed us that two leading New Zealand accountancy firms supported the CST promises. Maybe instead of continuing to support the stadium, the ODT would be best to do some investigative work and find out just why these two firms believed that the CST was on sure ground.

While it might be hard for the ODT and other proponents of the stadium to have to admit that those that saw the actions of the CST in a different light to them and have been proven to be right in every area of concern, it is plainly ridiculous to now adopt the view that stadiums always lose money and so we shouldn’t be worried. That is not what was promised and that is not what has happened.

[ends]

Related Posts and Comments:
1.2.14 Stadium: ODT editorial (1.2.14) —“Palpable claptrap” says Oaten
29.1.14 Stadium: Brent Edwards cuts the grass (ODT 29.1.14)
27.1.14 Stadium: No 4 at interest.co.nz
25.1.14 Stadium: Some helped it along, or themselves!
24.1.14 Stadium: It came to pass . . .
17.1.14 Garrick Tremain: Our Stadium
26.11.13 Russell Garbutt: DCC, stadium failings
7.10.13 DCC councillors, no idea annual cost of owning, operating FB Stadium

For older posts, enter *stadium* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: dunedintv.co.nz – Russell Garbutt re-imaged by Whatifdunedin

1 Comment

Filed under Business, Concerts, Construction, CST, DCC, DVL, DVML, Economics, Events, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

Stadium: ODT editorial (1.2.14) —“Palpable claptrap” says Oaten

### ODT Online Sat, 1 Feb 2014
Editorial: Business, or community asset?
The Dunedin City Council has been grappling with Forsyth Barr Stadium issues this past week. Fundamentally, they stem from the fact the economics of running the stadium are far worse than initially projected, an outcome that should surprise few. Many stadiums around the world struggle financially and Dunedin’s is no exception.
Read more

****

Calvin Oaten [odt.co.nz] 7cComment received from Calvin Oaten
Submitted on 2014/02/01 at 1:56 pm

The ODT must have gotten a special on ‘lipstick’, because the Editor has really applied it thick and heavy on this “Pig”. I must go past and have another look at the shade. The last time I saw it was the same old ‘deathly pallor’, befitting its purpose in life.

He says: “Before too long the Stadium might well even struggle to meet operating costs, many of which are fixed.” What sort of statement is that, when it is acknowledged that the ratepayers at present pay $9.125m each year (pa) towards stadium related costs? Right there is a full barrel of ‘lipstick’.

● $144m of debt at 6% pa is $8.6m pa, Capital debt paid in 18 years (as Dave Cull claims) is $8m pa. Total $16.6m pa.

● Then there are the council contributions of $750,000 pa for community use subsidy, plus $400,000 pa events attraction fund. Total $17.75m pa.

● Then there are the Accumulated deficits of DVL and DVML amounting to $16.373m (see both annual reports ‘change in equity’ sections).

All up, the stadium hole is $34 million pa deep.

● Oh, and let’s not forget (as it often is) the High Performance Sports Centre, built on the NE side of the stadium. It was funded by the DCC on the basis of the HPSC paying all costs in order to clear the debt within ten years. This was reputed to cost the HPSC around $850,000 pa. Shortly after, a quiet motion was put to council that it should make an annual grant to HPSC of $850,000 pa, and it was readily approved by the council of the day. So there goes another bundle of ratepayers’ treasure.

We won’t even mention SH88 or the Carisbrook fiasco.

The Editor then says, “the councillors and the people of Dunedin will have to understand the stadium’s valuable place in the city’s extraordinary range of community – educational, cultural and sporting – facilities. It is a valuable community asset.”

Palpable claptrap. If the stadium suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke (we wish) the only thing put out would be Super15, ITM cup and Test rugby. Nothing else, fullstop. Cricket, University Oval, Soccer, Caledonian Ground. All other sports, including lower grade rugby are well and truly catered for. Concerts, the Town Hall/Regent Theatre/Mayfair Theatre. Basketball and Netball, Edgar Centre/Lion Foundation. Swimming, Moana Pool.

Seriously, the stadium is an incredibly expensive arena foisted upon the citizens by a small, very determined group of ‘rugby nutters’, and that is the truth of the matter. The editorial in today’s ODT is nothing more than a ‘hollow attempt’ to put a case for the stadium as an asset, based on nothing but falsehoods and ‘mystical’ dreams. That it will mislead a lot of more deserving citizens is the shame of it all.

[ends]

Related Posts and Comments:
29.1.14 Stadium: Brent Edwards cuts the grass (ODT 29.1.14)
27.1.14 Stadium: No 4 at interest.co.nz
25.1.14 Stadium: Some helped it along, or themselves!
24.1.14 Stadium: It came to pass . . .
17.1.14 Garrick Tremain: Our Stadium
26.11.13 Russell Garbutt: DCC, stadium failings
7.10.13 DCC councillors, no idea annual cost of owning, operating FB Stadium

For older posts, enter *stadium* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: odt.co.nz – Calvin Oaten re-imaged by Whatifdunedin

2 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, DVL, DVML, Economics, Events, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium