Dunedin city councillors support a new $400,000 annual
fighting fund to lure more major concerts, and the millions of
dollars of extra spending that comes with them, to Dunedin.
The move came during the Dunedin City Council's 2013-14
pre-draft annual plan meeting yesterday, as councillors also
signalled a targeted rate could be used to ensure businesses
helped pay for the fund in future.
The moves - subject to public consultation over the next few
months - came after Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief
executive Darren Burden yesterday presented the case for a
new fund to councillors.
He argued the extra spending would generate returns that
helped boost DVML's revenue, but would also bring millions of
dollars in extra spending to the city's bars, restaurants,
hotels and other businesses.
Mr Burden told councillors DVML did not yet have a good
reputation for offering the type of support promoters were
looking for, and could not rely on the stadium's reputation
alone to compete with other centres.
Dunedin had already missed out on some events without the
fund, and, even now, DVML had deals ''on the table'' for two
major concerts that could be secured if an events fund was
already in place, he said.
One of those was a ''substantial'' international concert, but
the promoter was looking for up to $600,000 in support to
offset the cost of transporting equipment to Dunedin, he
That could be reduced by negotiation, but typically promoters
wanted support because of the millions of dollars their
events would inject into the city's economy, he told
His arguments ran into opposition from Cr Lee Vandervis, who
questioned whether stadium events delivered additional
economic benefits or largely moved money around within
Mr Burden disputed the latter, citing an economic impact
report on Sir Elton John's stadium concert, estimated to have
contributed $14 million to the city's economy.
The exact figure could be disputed, but with half the
35,000-strong crowd for the show coming into Dunedin from
elsewhere, returns for the city were ''in that sort of
ballpark'', he said.
Crs Kate Wilson and Richard Thomson agreed, saying their
businesses had recorded substantial increases in turnover at
the time of Sir Elton's concert, and other businesses would,
too, in future.
At present, music fans who could afford to were flying to
other centres to attend concerts, taking ''considerable sums
of money'' out of the city, Cr Thomson said.
Those who could not afford to fly were forced to miss out, he
''For me, this is actually about delivering real benefit to
our region,'' he said.
Cr Syd Brown hoped the ''modest'' extra investment would
allow the stadium, and the city, to ''punch above our
''I'm quite confident we can.''
Other councillors also supported the move, including deputy
mayor Chris Staynes, who said even if the economic impact of
shows like Sir Elton's was only half what was claimed, it was
still ''a pretty good investment''.
Mayor Dave Cull stressed any fund was not designed to ''prop
up'' the stadium's finances, but rather to deliver wider
economic benefits for the city.
Mr Burden said the sum required, of $400,000 a year, was
based on discussion with council staff and promoters about
the level of support needed.
Each year's allocation could be spent supporting one or more
events, but the aim would be to generate a profit for DVML as
well as returns for the city's economy, he said.
Each deal with a promoter was also ''unique'', and, for
example, meant underwriting could be offered that required a
promoter to return DVML's incentives if ticket sales went
beyond a certain point.
Council chief executive Paul Orders said money for the new
events fund could, for 2013-14, come from the council's
economic development and Tourism Dunedin budgets, meaning no
additional pressure on rates.
The council was already reviewing those budgets, which were
together worth about $2 million a year, to align them with
the city's new economic development strategy, he said.
Councillors also voted to reconsider the size of the existing
tourism and economic development targeted rate, opening the
door to an increase to help pay for the events fund,
following a suggestion by Cr Jinty MacTavish.
The work would lead to a report in time for next year's