Dunedin drops world cup bid

Dave Cull
Dave Cull
Dunedin's formal bid for a slice of the 2015 Fifa Under-20 World Cup and its global television audience has been quietly scrapped because of concerns about the cost.

However, a seven-strong Fifa delegation from Switzerland will visit Dunedin next week anyway, amid hopes the Forsyth Barr Stadium could yet host some tournament matches.

The Otago Daily Times was yesterday told the city's official bid had been abandoned late last year amid concerns the council's share of costs - in cash and in kind - could have more than doubled to more than $1 million.

It had been expected the council would have to pay $450,000 over three years to Fifa to cover Dunedin's share of tournament costs if its bid to secure games - including a semifinal and the final - was successful.

There had been no announcement about abandoning the bid because the Fifa delegation was still interested in viewing the city's roofed stadium.

Mayor Dave Cull, responding to ODT questions, issued a statement yesterday confirming the decision had been made after taking ''a dispassionate look at the business case''.

Comparing the costs imposed by Fifa and the likely returns for Dunedin showed ''it simply does not stack up'', he said.

''The economic impact for the city is, at best, marginal.''

Instead, the council had offered Fifa the use of the stadium for the tournament at ''no or minimal cost to council''.

Tournament organising committee interim project manager Peter O'Hara said when contacted he understood the stadium was still available but there was no agreement on financial arrangements yet.

Money expected from the council would have to come from somewhere and neither Football New Zealand nor Fifa would pay, he said.

''Obviously, there will have to be some funding come from somewhere ... at this moment, we haven't got another option.

''Someone will have to pay.''

Mr O'Hara said Dunedin was the only one of the nine major centres vying for hosting rights to pull out.

Hamilton had earlier opted to abandon its bid, also because of cost concerns, but reversed that decision after the community rallied to raise funds, he said.

''There's no-one that's made a decision like the one in Dunedin,'' he said.

The tournament was Fifa's second-largest event - behind only the Football World Cup itself - with a television audience estimated at up to 450 million people across 200 countries, meaning global exposure for host cities, Mr O'Hara said.

''It's bigger than the Rugby World Cup in that regard,'' he said.

Dunedin had been named by New Zealand Football as one of six possible host cities when news of the country's successful bid for the 2015 tournament was announced two years ago.

The details of Dunedin's bid had developed since and in October, council special projects co-ordinator Kim Newman said the city was vying with other New Zealand centres to host matches including the final.

No money had then been paid to Fifa, but would be if the bid was successful, she said at the time.

The ODT reported later in October the cost of hosting matches could also include exclusive use of the stadium by Fifa during the tournament, potentially creating a clash with this year's Super 15 rugby competition.

Some, or all, of the stadium's gate takings might also have to go to the tournament's organising committee, and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd might also have to waive its venue hire fee, it was reported.

However, Mr Cull said yesterday the city still recognised its stadium would be an ''outstanding match venue'' for the tournament.

''We are in an unusual situation in that we are not submitting a formal bid, but we have a world-class facility and we would welcome Fifa's use of the stadium as a venue.''

Mr O'Hara said the organising committee accepted the council's decision but was still ''excited'' about the city's new stadium.

Fifa's delegation would arrive in Christchurch tomorrow to inspect the city's facilities before travelling south to Dunedin on Monday night, he said.

The seven-strong group of Fifa executives from Zurich, Switzerland, would spend Tuesday inspecting the city's stadium and other facilities before departing that night.

The group would be led by Fifa senior competitions manager Rhiannon Martin and include experts in stadia and training facilities, accommodation, and marketing and media, to analyse all aspects of the city's ability to host tournament matches, Mr O'Hara said.

He would join them in Dunedin but had no plans to meet council representatives while here.

''I think the council's made its position pretty clear,'' he said.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Dont cry for me, Tonga Park

Do you really think we're going to put up with hot-headed Latins in our respectable fastnesses?. Hola to you too.

Very disappointed...

...to see Dunedin has given up on the world cup. Don't the city leaders see the benefits from such an esteemed sporting event here in our city? Can you imagine the influx of foreign currency the likes of Kaka, Messi and Ronaldo would bring? I can see the draw in the ODT now...

Portugal v Argentina - Tonga Park #4

Germany v Mexico - Logan Park #2

Brazil v  Spain -  Bathgate Park (postponed until the U15 Rugby match is finished)

Oh wait . . . U20? 

Forget everything I just said... [abridged]

Stadium 2

stevepf, I'm sorry to read you have no solution for the debt, and yes other councils are in debt but that's hardly an argument to justifying the spend, spend culture down this way.

I believe in user pays and that covers museums or libraries, we just don't have the $$ to be giving things away for free at the moment.

As for the fifa under20s I think you read me wrong but here's the link to what I wrote about it, and its "fantastic opportunity".

I'm asking business to fund it as they have done in Hamilton - if these games make so much for the economy then the chamber of commerce will be eager to rally round and get the $$ required. I'm saying no to ratepayer funding and a big yes to business who should be investing in bringing it to this city.

Problem solved as it costs the ratepayer nil and businesses make their $$ - a win win.




@pablo - I don't have a solution, however I simply don't care that my rates pay for a world class stadium. I would rather $65 of my rates go to that than the $130 that goes towards the public library. No amount of you pointing out debt will change my views. Tell me another city operating out of the red!

You are quick to crucify the council for spending on the stadium, and most other assets in the city, yet you want them to cough up half a million dollars in cash just to get FIFA into the city/stadium, not to mention the extra million dollars or so the city would need to spend on all sorts of things like upgrading training grounds, traffic management plans, official welcomes, just like the city did with RWC.

I personally am happy for the council to spend my rates on attracting the event, but you and the 'people at the coalface' seem to think there is no value. So why have a go at the council for not funding the event, yet stay anti stadium. You've lost me?! [abridged]

Come on 2

stevepf: I'm very impressed by your stance on the stadium and other shiny things the DCC has constructed over the last 20 years but now it's time to pay the bills.

I ask of you this: please inform me and others who I'm sure would be delighted to hear of your solutions to this record debt we are currently in due to frivolous spending on the ratepayers' behalf.

I'm sure I'm not alone in looking forward to your business plan to A: stop the debt B: better still pay it off in a timely and orderly manner C: make them turn a profit quickly as we need the money.

Sadly there are a few constraints to this task as there's no money left to do things like attract acts so I'm sorry to say you are on a shoestring budget. There is the stadium, town hall and of course the museums(s) to work with.

Please don't hit the DCC's default setting of upping the rates to achieve your aims. [abridged]

I expect democracy in a democratic country

@ Stevepf: And unless I'm mistaken, in a democracy, majority rules. I do realise that not every story written by the ODT needs to link back to the stadium but when there are constant articles (no money for this, have to borrow more for that) we have to look at the cause. Strangely, that cause was the stadium we told them not to build. You're obviously a devout supporter of the stadium but anyone with even a small amount of knowledge of economics/banking saw that this was not going to work. [abridged]



Cruise ship transport

Thanks roadwarrior for providing some facts. Pretty hard to get in this little town! Too much smoke and mirrors and broken promises. Unfortunately, since both the "agency" and the bus companies are private businesses, we shall never know the "benefit" to Dunedin in the area of ship passenger transport. Now I wonder how those in the DCC work out such a "benefit" to Dunedin in the absence of "facts"?

Come on

@Speedfreak. You don't think just because you pay rates you get to name a Museum. The name is still Otago Settlers Museum, it just simply brings in the name Toitu as well - Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. It shows harmony between our cultures and I cannot understand why people get so upset. Although I do note the people that don't like the Maori reference of Toitu are the same people that dont want 'Chinese' investment in the city, so no real surprises there.

You do realise that not every story written by the ODT needs to link back to the stadium. The stadium is the only positive thing in this FIFA story, in that we could end up being the only city that isn't putting money foward but still getting games. This is solely due to having a world class stadium.

P.S. Councillors don't have to do what they are asked. They certainly need to take into account the opinions of their city, but what you seem to think is just because you are as vocal as you are that you represent the majority. You most certainly don't . . . and don't bother quoting your 80% anti stadium figures as they are redundant. [abridged]

How it works

In my at the coalface at Port Chalmers on the wharf dealing directly with the aforementioned parties experience, I just want to set people straight with some facts - not I think or I've heard or supposition . . .

The Cruise Line contracts a shoreside company (agent) which varies line by line, to do what agents do, namely provide a service (whatever that may be) for a fee. The agent then contacts a bus company to provide a service taking passengers to and from Dunedin (shuttles), they provide differing numbers of buses depending on passenger and crew numbers. It might be 8 shuttles, it might be 12, it might be another number, the bus company charges the agent accordingly. The passengers pay the agent's representatives on the wharf before they get on the shuttle (around $15 US - always US because that's what the ships work on).

If you're observant you may notice that different bus companies may be used for shuttles depending on which ship happens to be berthed and hence who the agent may be.  As stated already, not all passengers get the official shuttles, many prefer to get the local bus or some will get a taxi (or a limo!!) for the trip.

So the passengers pay a set fee, the shuttle provider collects a set fee and it's the agent that profits or loses on the shuttle bus part of things. Nothing to do with DCC/ORC/Port Otago. The buses pick up and drop off at shipside, there is no charge for them to enter the wharf, nor for the private tour operators, or for taxis or for foot traffic. That would be ludicrous, however you must on the Port's authorised register to gain entry.

Has this covered it? More questions just fire away, although probably not the right forum for it here. [abridged]


It's not about what we like

Stevepf: It's about what we don't like. And that's being asked our opinion and when they have the results, then doing the opposite. Stadium 80 plus percent said no. What happened? Naming of the museum, the majority wanted Otago Settlers Museum. And what did we get?. Not what the majority wanted.

These councillors need to start doing what the people ask or what's the point of having/paying them.

We do like living here, that's why we are still here. The problem lies with those in charge not working for the people and their wishes. [abridged]

Actual donations

Colvin as I understand it the CST did receive some donations, according to the only financial reports they have ever released, available online from the Charities Commission, the amount they received in donations was less than the amount they spent on administrative overhead, so I'd guess the net amount that was applied to the stadium debt was less than zero.

If CST and the ORFU  had been doing what they promised they would have started the day the stadium was announced  and finished by passing around donation buckets at the RWC - we're still waiting.

Stadium finances


Just as a reminder, per your post supporters of the stadium promised millions of dollars for funding the stadium. How much did they actually contribute in the end? That is, who was short on their funding contribution and by how much?

Cruise ship benefits

Dunners: Since you live in the area, do you know if the buses are allowed on to the wharf to pick up and discharge passengers? If so, Port Otago/ORC must be charging for that, and that info should be publicly available, as is the moorage charges for the ships.

Cruise Ship benefits

Hi Trev, I'm pretty sure it's a private company that runs the buses to and from Port Chalmers for the cruise ship tourists. They get charged $15 for a round trip from my understanding. I don't know who the company is who runs this service but from what I've heard I think they are doing pretty well from the service.

Opinion vs fact, as always

The council didn't not support it just because it's soccer and not rugby. Nor does it mean the stadium is financially unviable, in fact they are the only reason we are being considered despite not putting $$ forward. Also, just because your 'at the coalface food & beverage service' wasn't successful during RWC, it couldn't be possibly anything to do with the way you run your business or your (not so) convenient location. I know a huge number of record breaking cafes, restaurants and bars that dominated over RWC.

Right, so the DCC are now pillaging your rates to cover some bus transfers. Never mind the 180,000+ passengers that come into Dunedin in return for such a small spend. They may not spend everywhere, but they still spend and there is a good chance they will return to the city. Sometimes there is a bigger picture and that tourists returning to the city would be great. Dunedin is lucky enough to get a lot of this business by default and the city, quite rightly, chose to try and ensure they leave with a favourable impression.

And now Elton John wasn't successful? Let's survey the retail and hospitality sector and see what's what, because most reported more success in that weekend than any weekend over RWC.

Could you all tell me something you like about a city or one of our assets? You don't like museum spend, you don't like that DCC upgraded Toitu, you disagree with the stadium and now don't like DCC paying for buses for cruise. Guess what, you don't pick and chose what you pay rates for. If you aren't happy with the progress in this city, then perhaps look elsewhere. [abridged]

Charging for buses

Trev, yes the cruise ship passengers have to pay to catch the shuttles between the Octagon and the port.

I live in the area ans I have heard anecdotally that the cost is in excess of $20 per person.

As a result, the canny amongst the passengers catch the regular scheduled commuter service at a fraction of the cost.  Apparently there are always long queues of cruise ship visitors to get on the regular bus service so as to avoid paying the shuttle costs.

How sad

Qsrc: it's sad to hear about the problems you've been having with the stadium, it's especially sad news about your partner. While I've experienced none of those things the city I love has been driven close to bankruptcy by that self same stadium and its supporters who have reneged on their promise to raise tens of millions of private fundraising to pay for it.

No, not the stadium's fault

QsRC - sorry to set you straight, but all businesses should be set up knowing all the facts. Facts learned dispassionately and professionally. What we consistently have had in all "community business" are estimates based upon research that seems at best shonky with no peer reviews or audits. While your partner may be directly employed because of the cruise ship industry which is great, it is clear that many questions arise on just how Dunedin's economic future can be assured.

People that say that cruise ships should stay longer in Dunedin simply don't have a clue how the industry operates, and I suspect that not a lot of people know the sorts of attractions that ship-board tourists really want to see, or spend money on. Many people are unaware that tourism operators are on the ships pre-booking trips and visits for example, and have the power to sway what people get to do while in Dunedin or other ports.

However, you cannot flippantly dismiss the deep concerns felt by Dunedin ratepayers who now have lost all opportunity spending because people on councils have spent all our money on one facility. Or do you have a solution? Almost daily we see millions being needed for drainage, lights, roading and other vital infrastructure, but we now are over $650 million in debt and are about to have our ability to borrow reduced because of our level of debt. What are your solutions while pondering your flat tyre and your rained off sporting match? [abridged]

Cruise ship benefits?

I have asked before but will ask again. Are cruise ship passengers charged to bus between Dunedin and Port? If so, how much? If the Regional Council supplies the buses, and charges, what is the net profit/loss per year ? Can any bus owner supply this service? Surely this information is available to the public - somewhere - ???? Or is everybody playing secret squirrel games?

It all comes down to.....

It's always the stadium's fault!

I was riding my bike on Sunday and got a flat tire, it's the stadium's fault!

I was playing cricket on sunday then it was rained off, it's the stadium's fault!

I was driving to work this morning and got every red light along the way, it's the stadium's fault!

My partner is directly employed due to cruise ship visits! it's all the stadium's fault!!

Reply to russandbev

The cruise ships: I can only speak about food as I deal in a sector of that industry, the ships are all pre-stocked and do not buy en masse at a port they arrive in, i.e. Dunedin. Passengers are not allowed to take food on to the boat from where they stop for a couple of reasons - A: food is already pre bought and contracts are all tied up to get the best deals, good for big business but not for smaller operators; B: the argument from cruise liners is bringing outside food in may bring in a disease, illness etc.

I'm sure their is some spin-off while they are here as they do have to eat somewhere, drink, buy gifts and do things like the train ride, but what are the actual figures? And what is the cost to the average ratepayer per cruise liner vs benefit to the average ratepayer.

I do not believe we do enough for cruise passengers as they have lots to spend and want to spend; in general the average stay in Dunedin for any tourist is only 1.5 nights, again we need to entice them to stay longer here.

An example is the new museum and I struggle to see why there is not a charge for entrance. Someone has to pay the bills and we are not here to provide free things for tourists to do. They expect to pay for things and have $$ to spend - we need to help them spend it or they will spend it at the next stop and not ours. [abridged]


A question for Pablo

Pablo, some interesting and valuable comments. Since you are connected with the food industry, perhaps you can confirm what sort of business is done with the cruise ships? My experience tells me that for example when an American ship finished or started a cruise then the ship was provisioned via containers of food shipped from the USA with only minimal staples provided from local suppliers. I asked the Hotel Manager on the ship what the rationale was and was told that the mainly US clients were used to US food and that it was cheaper and easier for a company to contract a US food supplier to fill containers with pre-determined quantities and types of food and ship them wherever their ships were starting cruises or needed provisioning. I imagine exactly the same would apply to German cruises or whatever.

I have long believed that the inflated and optimistic benefits of some tourist traffic are suspect and your comments add some weight to this view. One thing seems sure and that is that the economic returns from the wretched stadium are mythical.

ej a success 2

speedfreak43: what I was saying is the different clientele that the e.j concert brought to the city compared to the r.w.c clientele, by this I mean when the e.j crowd was here they stayed from more than 12 hours, was here to eat, drink and spend making it a good weekend away probably with the wife/partner (meaning more spending); but far more of the r.w.c crowd came and left on the same night, and yes they did spend a lot on booze but not a lot else.

I'm not trying to justify the concert that cost us ratepayers a lot to hold for little return for most but I'm only comparing the spending habits of both sets of supporters not the fact more debt is piled on the average ratepayer, and this is wrong to do this to these ratepayers again and again and again.

trev: I agree with you as to what is going on by sending so much work overseas as it makes no sense to me because if you pay local people for work they generally spend it local and that's what we need not the $$ going outside of the city or worse overseas.

National have a lot to answer for, as do Labour, it does not leave a lot of options for us all.

Under 20 feedback

stevepf - thanks for the direct feedback from a company at the coalface of the food industry and tourism here in Dunedin rather then the theorists and crystal-ball gazers. Re your feedback, I could never see a New Zealand company being invited to cater for a Rugby World Cup game anywhere in Austalia - can you? And yet here in NZ we blindly open our doors to the world and invite competition against local companies, whether it is food catering, or railway wagon construction!

National has a lot to answer for in blindly following an open-market policy in everything! Re Rugby World Cup tourists, your feedback is far more truthful then the statistical assumptions made by ivory-tower economists that were ignorantly made at the time regarding the "value" of the RWC to Dunedin.

A good decision

A good decision that should be extended to all those sporting interests - particularly rugby - who want a 'free lunch'. The criteria should be the same for all. Neglible economic return to the city, with us paying their costs, is clearly not the way to go. Far cheaper to watch the games on telly and let others pay the costs.

E.J. a success?

Im in agreeance with all you said Pablo, with the exception of the Elton part.

From memory, there was to be 2 EJ concerts here. The first did not sell out completely and the second cancelled due to lack of interest. A few days out from the concert, heaps of unsold high-end tickets were offered at reduced prices to move them, which I'm sure, made those that had paid good money for theirs really angry.

Also, due to the insistence that EJ be the opening act, Aussie promotors of almost all the decent acts that come to this country had their nose put out of joint and the end result is no band has come here since. I'd call that a dead loss.

Jimmy Barnes, Shihad or some similar band would have been a better opening act, in my opinion, as while they possibly may not have drawn the same attendance, there would have been more follow on concerts.

Note to DCC. This is what you get for hiring from overseas instead of from within. Don't forget the thousands it cost the ratepayers when he left either.

Professional sport + business

stevepf, the reality is these big tournaments only make a $$ for few businesses and the Rugby World Cup only had a business satisfaction rate of 9% throughout NZ. Here in Dunedin my firm, which is in the food industry and also deals in tourists, had its worst trading in 25 years and no we did not "jack up our prices". Elton John on the other hand was a success as a lot of punters made a weekend of it, whereas the rugby crowd came, drank and quickly left.

A good example was the Arg vs Eng game that a plane loan of Argentines came, watched the game and left after the game back to Argentina, and the same for a lot of Aussies in other centres.

As for the food side of things during the Rugby WC, the catering went to an Aussie firm for the Dunedin games and they ignored local food suppliers.

In short the Rugby World Cup was not a success for most businesses down this way, only a small few get the rewards from sport, and as I said it is really up to sponsors and business to bring these events here, not the average ratepayer.

Stadium (mis)use

"Build a World-class venue and they will come"

Yeah right! World-class events put up their hands but want us to pay for the privilege of them coming here, to such a degree that the Stadium operation runs at a loss.

Please explain to me again how this building was a good financial decision. How can the continual sucking money off the ratepayer be justified?

Sense at last

At last the DCC is seeing reality with these kind of events as they cost so much to make money for so few, but if businesses really believe these events are a winner then please do open your wallets to fund this event but please don't raid my wallet.

Would I have liked to see this event here? 100% yes but it's called reality and it shows if businesses are not prepared to fund these kind of events then they don't see a winner at the tills for them.

Multipurpose Stadium, yeah right

The only reason the DCC have pulled out of being a host is there will be a clash with the Super 15 rugby. If this had have been a rugby competition there would have been no discussion about cost, it would have happened.

It is good to see they are actually thinking about the cost, but this is not some second rate competition, this is one of the most watched sports in the world.

Come on DCC, put your one-eyed rugby views to one side and expose the stadium to a true world audience. The publicity for Dunedin would be huge.


ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Waihola StoreWaiholaSupermarkets
The Look Hair Design LtdDunedinHairdressers
Lakeland GlassQueenstownGlass Merchants & Glaziers