The woman behind the proposed waterfront hotel in Dunedin,
Jing Song, with Betterways solicitor Phil Page at the
Dunedin City Council's hearings committee meeting
yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The woman behind a proposed $100 million waterfront hotel
in Dunedin says she is not dissuaded by criticism, but has gone
public to end months of rumour and speculation.
Jing Song yesterday took a seat at the applicant's table for
the first time since the 28-storey hotel's resource consent
hearing began in December last year.
She did not speak at the hearing, but later told the Otago
Daily Times she wanted her identity known to end rumours
about ''dodgy Chinese interests behind it''.
''Now I'm sick of the rumours. Really, it hurts us.''
However, she respected the rights of Dunedin people to voice
opinions against the hotel, which has attracted more than 500
submissions mainly opposed to the project's construction.
Many argued the hotel was inappropriate for the site because
its size and bulk meant it would dominate its surroundings.
Ms Song said she was not surprised by the views, but still
had ''not a second'' of doubt about the hotel's merits and
was confident it would proceed.
''There's always going to be people that are very unhappy or
opposed to it.
''They come with a view of the project, so that needs to be
The project would be financed by Ms Song and her husband,
construction company owner Ping Cao.
However, Ms Song said yesterday the hotel - if approved -
would be built by a New Zealand company appointed as lead
contractor in an open-tender process, as well as other
That meant the majority of the development spend would remain
within New Zealand, although some materials would be imported
from China to save money, she said.
Ms Song was based in Queenstown but previously spent eight
years in Dunedin, including studying accountancy and theatre
at the University of Otago.
She and her husband sought a return on their investment,
including from the sale of residential apartments within the
However, the investment was also a gift to Dunedin, as the
couple could achieve higher returns by investing in China,
''If it's not for the love of [Dunedin], what ... [else] are
we doing here?''