Simon concert raises case for events fund

Steve Richardson
Steve Richardson
Paul Simon's performance at Forsyth Barr Stadium is expected to deliver a multimillion-dollar cash injection for Dunedin, underscoring the need for a new events attraction fund, the Otago Chamber of Commerce says.

Simon, the 12-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter, was last week unveiled as the long-awaited follow-up to the Elton John sellout show.

He would perform at the stadium on April 6, then at Auckland's Vector Arena on April 8.

Chamber chief executive John Christie yesterday said the concert would attract fans from around the South Island and possibly across New Zealand.

A sellout crowd would probably mean an economic impact on a par with the $14 million delivered to Dunedin by the Elton John concert in late 2011, which drew 35,000 fans.

That was because, as with the Elton John concert, fans coming to Dunedin were likely to be ''more mature'', with higher disposable incomes, and spend more than one night in the city, he said.

''The demographic will be pretty similar and from that perspective we are likely to see a similar economic impact for the city,'' he said.

It was a sentiment echoed yesterday by Hospitality Association of New Zealand Otago branch president Mark Scully and Dunedin Restaurant Association president Steve Richardson, who both welcomed news of the concert.

''It's going to appeal to a wide range of people because he's had success over such a long period of time,'' Mr Scully said.

Mr Christie said yesterday there was no doubt the concert would make a positive economic contribution to the city, and underscored the need for a new events fund.

The city needed headline acts like Elton John or Simon to lure people to the city.

''It keeps Dunedin on people's list of places to visit,'' he said.

Dunedin city councillors were set to consider a report on DVML's financial future - including the possibility of a new events fund to offer incentives for big acts - in coming days as part of the council's 2013-14 pre-draft budget meetings.

Deputy mayor Chris Staynes also raised the prospect of a new events fund, paid for by the city's hospitality businesses, late last year, as the council grappled with news of DVML's $3.2 million loss for the 2011-12 year.

Mr Christie said talk of a new fund would generate debate, but the city needed to spend money to make money.

''We do need to have a budget there for events that are going to be able to attract promoters, to bring events that are going to be of some risk to them to Dunedin.''

The big question, Mr Christie believed, was whether ratepayers or the city's hospitality sector, who stood to benefit the most from more big events, should pay for it.

''I think that's something we need to work through as a city and then get on with it . . . but we definitely need a fund,'' he said.

Mr Scully said it made sense for those who benefited from big events to pay for such a fund.

However, it became more complicated when considering whether only central city bars, restaurants and accommodation providers should be covered, or if the net should be cast wider, he believed.

''Some will get massive gains out of it, some will get minimal, and some will actually have a negative effect,'' he said.

''That's the challenge for the council. If they want to implement something like that, it has to be well thought out and it has to be fair.''

Despite that, he believed securing more big events would be ''absolutely crucial'' for the city and the stadium.

''At the end of the day, if we can have events that bring money in from outside Dunedin, that's the key.

''The more events like this we have at the stadium, the better.''

Mr Richardson was more circumspect, saying his members welcomed big events but did not want to pay more to help attract them.


Paul Simon

I will be at the stadium after all. Bluesfest tents & schedule is out this evening. Two bad clashes, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters up against Iggy & The Stooges on the Saturday and Paul Simon versus Wilco on the Monday. Will see the Iggster and Wilco, so off to the stadium to see Simon and Well or Auck to see Plant supported by the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Ahhh. A real stadium

@yessiryousir:  And one you could comfortably pop ours in and shut the lid. Lol

But all joking aside, just curious if said stadium had a plastic roof? Would I be correct in assuming our roof would not be helpful in obtaining any kind of quality accoustics?

It's here...

All we can do is embrace it and try and come up with ideas to generate more income so it is less burden on us.

I too have been abroad to concerts and actually ones in Europe and the US in 60-70000 seat football stadiums and they have sounded great and atmosphere had been awesome!

I think what we are forgetting is teenagers/young 20 somethings, do have expendable cash for entertainment or the abiliity to wring their parents' wallet dry.

Not so old...

But clearly missing the point!

Paul Simon

Yes The Macklemore & Ryan Lewis gig should be supported if you are into hip-hop. It is part of Orientation so a large crowd can be expected,and ticket prices are affordable. But bear in mind that the size of venues they play back home is around the 1500 mark. Logan Campbell Centre at 3000 not yet sold out. The promoter does not have a large high cost to move band, so the Dunedin concert should be a good little earner for all concerned.

As for gigs at the Enmore, to fly from Dunedin to Sydney is expensive compared with to Brisbane, so you would need to have the spare coin and fanatical music interest to fly over for one gig.

Queenstown to Auckland is much more affordable,though of course there is only a fraction on offer of what you can catch in Syd or Melb..

Festivals in Au offer value for money if you are forking out the airfares, and there are a large number of them.

Hypothetical husband a right slacker

Hypothetical the mother may be, but no one said she's single, just that she has five kids. I blame her other half, and wouldn't be surprised if WINS doesn't know.

Contemporary you say...

If you want contemporary get along to Macklemore and Ryan at the stadium in a few weeks. Can't get more contemporary than that. And if you don't know who they are just Google them. They've had more US number 1 hits than even Linkin Park!

Choose your concert

yessir: this town has a lot of young people, students, not exacly known for their ability to pay hundreds of dollars for a stadium ticket.

I travel to go to shows, saw a great show in Sydney earlier in the month, cheap when there are direct flights - by acts that would never play the rugby stadium with its terrible sound (the Enmore is sort of a ratty town hall sized venue) - travelling to shows is a reasonable alternative to having people bring them to you  - remember that for the approx $540million the stadium will end up costing us (up $40m over the 20 years of the loan because of this year's $2m rugby/DVML subsidy) we could have bought each and every resident of Dunedin a ticket to Auckland each and every year to see the concert of their choice - and we'd not have sacrificed prime industrial land next to the Uni. We could have even given rates rebates to those who chose not to use their airplane ticket.

The thing is it's a rugby stadium - it's rugby that's losing us all this money, concerts at one a year are a side show.

Shut it, aged ones

@yessirnosiree. It's not the vocal old that dictate who plays here, it's overseas promoters and their affiliates, basing marketing decisions on demographics. Unfortunately, we are a cohort of aging boomers, beatniks and superannuitants. Demographics tell Hoyts Cinemas that there is little over 30 audience for their product. This determinist market research convinces promoters that we would shun One Direction. It is, of course, ageist nonsense. Even oldies can admire unique performance artists like Lady Gaga, possibly the only superstar that studied theology. Anyway, get online with others, balance the generational bias and show that Dunedin is not just a retirement village.

Hypothetical single mum

MikeStk, she also pays extra in whatever other council facilities may increase charges e.g. rubbish bags and landfill fees, library overdue fees, parking, and experiences reduced services some of which have been discussed and rejected, some "invisible" and some implemented.  Examples (assorted) are reduced library hours, street cleaning, permits for activities her school may be holding to raise funds as well as for alterations her landlord may consider (then decide not to go ahead with because of cost, delay and hassle) to upgrade the house she lives in, sewer and storm water systems getting older and crumblier and not being upgraded at a steady and timely rate before they fall apart.

Old vs New acts

Couldn't agree more yessiryousir. 

More contemporary acts as well as (not instread of) older acts would be great to see.  I went to Elton John and thoroughly enjoyed it, as his music is from "my era", however I was excited at the prospect that Bruno Mars might put on a concert here.  I would definately have gone to that. Unfortunately that one seemed to fall through.

The fact is, older acts will bring in the numbers (and the dollars that go with them), but so would more contemporary acts.  Bring them on!

I like the idea of a music festival.

Not so old here....

@yessiryousir My partner and I are both under 30's neither of us would go to a One Direction, Pitbull or Rhianna concert. Especially not a One Direction concert! why not simply because all 3 are garbage. My work mate and his partner both under 30's wouldn't stop laughing when I mentioned One Direction and Pitbull.

I think you out of touch with what under 30's actually like and what they can afford.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are at the stadium in about 3 weeks, so let's just see if they sell out.

Paul Simon

Do some research in regard to what size venues artists perform in elsewhere, before you post. Pitbull & Rihanna have both been to Au recently and they played at venues which a much smaller capacity than Forbar Stadium. Just because they have built a 35,000 seat stand for rugby does not mean every music act that plays there needs to attract 35,000 punters. Promoters were not prepared to bring them over the ditch,and there are many acts which stop at Au.

As for Vector, displays the fact that there have been plenty of great shows there. Leonard Cohen and Cliff Richard/The Shadows were two of the best shows I have ever seen. Lady Gaga put on a great show.

Hypothetical single mum

MikeStk, she also pays extra in whatever other council facilities may increase charges e.g. rubbish bags and landfill fees, library overdue fees, parking, and experiences reduced services some of which have been discussed and rejected, some "invisible" and some implemented.  Examples (assorted) are reduced library hours, street cleaning, permits for activities her school may be holding to raise funds as well as for alterations her landlord may consider (then decide not to go ahead with because of cost, delay and hassle) to upgrade the house she lives in, sewer and storm water systems getting older and crumblier and not being upgraded at a steady and timely rate before they fall apart.

You old folk...

Why is it you always pick apart everyone's comments?! 

Inner Caversham... Who cares?

The fact is, all these old has been acts are not going to bring many economic benefits to the city. Dunedin is an aging dinosaur populated city that needs to catch up with the times and start investing in acts that people will actually sell out, not bringing aging rock/pop stars that might sell 5-10000 tickets, how about bringing One Direction, Rhianna, Pitbull etc to Dunedin, these would sell out! Taking the teenage dollar, Teens/under 30's would travel to see these acts or how about a 2-3 day festival in one of the long weekends...

It's time for Dunedin to think younger and the DVML to bring acts that people, not just old people or people given comps would go see.

Uptown Caversham

Just an idea, based on topography: Inner Caversham: the flat bounded by South and Hillside Rds, KE St to the Hill. Outer Caversham: South line and green belt, Calton, The Cliffs, Valpy to Forbury Corner.

Big Vector headache

Vector gigs. Not our greatest moments on the world showbiz stage. Both Stefani, Lady Gaga and Minari were hit over the head there.

Paying rates

stevepf: of course your hypothetical single mum pays rates - if the rugby stadium forces the city to raise rates her landlord will raise her rent - that's why all residents get to vote for the council, not just the ratepayers.

Of course when the city passes on the cost of the ORFU bailout, and the rugby stadium interest payments and the millions of dollars of DVML's running losses to the ratepayers, and to her rent her benefit doesn't change, just as super doesn't change for the pensioner couple living next door, nor do the students living on the other side get any more income when their rent goes up.

You may appreciate the ratepayers subsidising you and your mates' rugby tickets - but everyone has that extra money just hanging around waiting for a drive-by wallet rifling by the council.

Shutting the stadium

Chirpbird: well it depends, it would appear that the city will have to start running the stadium in the most cost effective way possible from the point of view of their ratepayers - because of the contractual situation the city is in it's going to hard for the city to get to a point where things can be shut down at the lowest cost - the sweetheart deals CST gave its mates for renting the best seats in the house have tied the city's hands contractually, on one hand forcing us to borrow tens of millions of extra dollars and pay extra interest and of course on the other hand to subsidise rugby by millions this past year and for years to come - by my reckoning we have 4 years for them to run but realistically the city can probably walk away from them and still come out ahead in 3.

Of course what the city must start doing right away is holding those contractees to the very letter of the contracts they have signed: send their cheque in a day late, cancel them etc as soon as they can do that DVML can start selling the same seats at market rates rather than mate's rates - once enough have been converted they can shutdown the stadium and pay off the rest.

Certainly the city needs to start writing all contracts on a year to year basis, especially with the ORFU and the Highlanders, that will put them and their fans, on notice that they'll have to pay their own way or not play at all.

And yes of course they should be making plans to shut the stadium down in the most cost effective way possible if there's not a way for it to pay for itself, but, if they can make it pay they should keep it, and of course they're equally obliged to get it to make as much money to subsidise rates as possible

Inner Caversham?

You guys creating new suburbs now to somehow support your opinions?

Paul Simon

Vector not Vectra. Vector is a relatively recent addition to the Auck scene. The past shows section sets it out. There are numerous other Auck venues. If you go to Pollstar and click on Auck, it gives a reasonable list of who is scheduled at the other venues, which also comprise Civic Theatre, Auckland Town Hall, Bruce Mason Centre, kings Arms, North Shore Stadium, Western Springs Stadium, Mt Smart Stadium. Last but not least ,do not forget the website for the 1250 capacity Powerstation,which features regular acts of interest to real musos such as myself. Any music is good music. Perhaps I might watch Wilco at Bluesfest and come to the stadium to see Paul & Rufus. Jimmy Cliff would have been a great addition to the bill for all those reggae fans, but is in NZ some weeks earlier.

Trickle down

"Mother of five" can seek one of the jobs that are created as a result. There will be hundreds of jobs on event day that she could apply for and get her share.

I've also just done a Google serach and can't find Vectra Stadium anywhere... do you mean Vector Arena? This is exactly why STS failed. Getting the basic facts wrong, or just plain making them up. If STS representatives plan to stand for council again then I suggest they brush up on the basics and they may get in. But I don't really think there is support for one issue candidates.

I really do fear a world where we look at the lowest common denominator all of the time. Imagine a world where everything is given to people like "Mother of five". People like "Mother of five" would have no incentive to go out and look after themselves, while the rest of us don't have a stadium, library, art gallery or pool as it's not fair on "Mother of five" as she can't afford it. Anyone with any talent or money would leave, and those left would have nothing to do and resort to drugs and crime for entertainment.

cost-effective stadium

MikeStk: wouldn't the most cost-effective way to operate the stadium actually be not to?

Impact of RWC

@trev - Firstly, I don't need to contact motel owners about the impact of RWC. I work in the travel industry and couldn't find accommodation to save my life over the weekends. You might say that only applies to weekends, but capacity thats' still four weekends full that ordinarily wouldn't. Plus you cannot base the success of RWC from just a select bunch of motel owners. Not to mention, we are talking about Paul Simon/Elton John ...

Secondly, you didnt answer my question. I have statistical evidence of the study in front of me, so if you think it's dodgy I suggest you highlight where and what the errors are. A question very well dodged.

As for Bev's hilarious hypotetical question of the mother of five in Caversham seeing no benefit ... well hypothetically where does she work? Money into economy means people spend money which keeps people in jobs. If she is at home living on a benefit and just renting her home, it won't matter whether she does or not she doesnt pay rates. I am a family and whilst there is no dorect benefit to me as such, money into economy and a vibrant city helps become a great place to migrate too, amongst other things. 


Mother leaves Caversham, prefers Dixie Chicks anyway

R & B. No need to drag that mother into the argument. Much of Inner Cavvy has gone too.

Wrong direction, actually

"[H]ow is mother of five from Inner Caversham going to participate in the miraculous trickledown of the millions of dollars of economic benefit to Dunedin" writes russandbev.  Trickledown theory was a self-serving crock from the beginning, as pointed out by John Kenneth Galbraith and the Keynesians and politicians from Ross Perot (US) to Damien O'Connor (NZ) Nice for the rich, ruinous for the poor.  What we have seen in the Stadium debacle has been trickle-up.  This is by no means uncommon, and its prevalence increases with the degree to which influential parties outside government are involved in the push for expensive unnecessary projects paid for from the public purse.

Facts not wishful BS

To get an idea of who is touring NZ or to be precise, Auckland, go to the Vectra Stadium website and look at their upcoming shows.  Then compare that list to the shows that have either come to, or are coming to Dunedin.  Then ask yourself if the shows that are going to Auckland need to be "incentivised" to appear there.

Second question to ask yourself, how is mother of five from Inner Caversham going to participate in the miraculous trickledown of the millions of dollars of economic benefit to Dunedin if the ratepayers have to "incentivise" touring artists.  This economic benefit seems just like all of the promiosed economic benefits of the stadium.  They all turned into windfalls for a few individuals and massive on-going losses for ratepayers.  History and facts tells us these things, blind idiocy tells us otherwise.

It doesn't matter

Chirpbird: it doesn't matter whether it's a public service, or as the council commissioned Price Waterhouse Cooper investigation determined: something created for professional for-profit rugby, if the council is going to fund it in any way the statutorily defined purpose of the DCC is now to operate in a manner that is "most cost effective" to the ratepayers, they're required to choose the alternative that has the least impact.

Charitable, and public service, and more

Chirpbird reminds us that the stadium qualified as a "charitable purpose" and will probably weasel its way into classification as a "local public service" - but wait!  There's more!  Given the history of no-charge and proposal of an "event fund" and interest payments flowing out of Dunedin, is it not also an "overseas aid programme"?  The UN will be impressed.

Dodgy statistics

stevepf: You have misread my views on several counts. Point 1: I have never been "anti-stadium" but I was and am still strongly against the construction funding method as an exhorbitant cost to ratepayers. Point 2: If you can demonstrate with facts the actual "benefit" to Dunedin ratepayers rather then purely a statistical supposition based on the total number of attendees including the free ticket holders then I will reconsider my argument that the espoused "benefits" are untrue! Incidentally, the same dubious statistical theoretical exercise was applied to both the Polytech and the University as financial benefits for the City. I suggest you listen to what actual Dunedin motel owners have to say regarding the benefit to them from for example the Rugby World Cup.   

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