Dispute after stadium concert cancelled

Darren Burden
Darren Burden
The promoter of a Fleetwood Mac concert scheduled for Dunedin later this year is angry at being charged a $50,000 fee after the cancellation of the concert.

McManus Entertainment managing director Andrew McManus told the Otago Daily Times from Melbourne yesterday he had taken legal action against Forsyth Barr Stadium over the fee.

Mr McManus said he agreed a deal with Dunedin Venues Management Ltd in January to bring Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac to Dunedin.

''We agreed to a contract for $200,000 for Aerosmith and $200,000 for a Fleetwood Mac concert later this year. When I did the initial deal, I honestly believed I had both tours.''

The amounts were to be paid by the stadium to the promoter.

Aerosmith played on April 24 and Fleetwood Mac was scheduled to perform on December 17.

Mr McManus has previously promoted two Fleetwood Mac tours and solo tours by band members Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood. However, Fleetwood Mac subsequently committed to United States promoter Live Nation, ruling out a Dunedin concert.

The concert cancellation activated a $50,000 cancellation fee, which Mr McManus disputes and said he would fight.

''I've been a promoter for 27 years and I've never encountered anything like this before. It's morally and professionally wrong.

''The whole experience with Dunedin and the stadium has been tarnished.

''I guarantee you I will never, ever, bring another show to Dunedin while those people are in charge.''

Forsyth Barr Stadium chief executive Darren Burden said yesterday the terms of the contract were ''explicit''.

''We have a contract with McManus for Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac. It was a two-show deal,'' Mr Burden said.

''We were formally informed on Monday that the Fleetwood Mac concert would not be proceeding, so we therefore began working through the provisions of the contract in respect of cancellation.

''It is all in accordance with the contract. It was very explicit that it was Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac.''

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

Like it? We love it...

Amanda, you write you haven't "heard in print or word any of the seven current stadium supporting councillors who are still on council make even the slightest reference to their stadium support. Odd, isn't it?"

Odd? No, not really. Maybe - just maybe - they're getting on with what it is they're elected to do: help smooth the wheels that keep our fair old City chugging along. Perhaps they know better than to get bogged down in what seems like never-ending online repartee related to FBS. After all, she's into her third year of operation, and from all that I see, she ain't going anywhere. Perhaps that "Silent Seven" simply only want to pull up their sleeves and do whatever seems appropriate, to help get 'er cranking.


82% of Dunedin rate payers is not 'small'

Speedfreak: Not sure where I read this (may have been in one of Mike StK's posts), but I understand the total number of Dunedin ratepayers is around 55,000. If so, that 82% you're alluding to represents around 45,000 people. Wow! 45,000 of us Dunedinites said no to the Stadium. Apparently.

I know I've asked this before on this forum - didn't get a response tho' - but let me ask these questions again: (i) Can someone on this forum please point to where that 82% figure comes from? And (ii) What exactly was asked? (How was/were the question(s) termed?) in generating response(s). And (iii) What forum was used to pose the question(s) that arrived at that conclusion?

As a ratepayer myself, I can't recall being asked any series of questions prior to the stadium getting kicked into gear about whether I wanted it, or not - at least not in any formal capacity. But, having read figures and statements like SpeedFreak's (which normally impart something along the lines of "the majority (majority of what, exactly?) did not want the stadium") heaps of times on this forum, I'm interested.

So, if indeed 45,000 Dunedinites said no to the Stadium, where is that evidence?


itsme, I'm one of those you talk of. I went to a packed town hall to listen to informed and concerned speakers, went to both marches, and then sampled the final product for rugby and the aerosmith concert. 

This is my take on what we got

-badly designed south stand with cues for overpriced and warm drinks packed accross the concourse causing bottlenecks for people entering 

-inadequate and overcrowded toliets under the temporary west stand

- inaudable sound at most parts of the stadium

Sure the grass hasn't died (we know there are issues) the plastic roof hasn't failed and the South Stand hasn't started to sink into the the ground. Plenty of time for these issues to come up, just look at the Esplanade. I've been to enough venues to know this is a long way from world class and I don't mind voicing that opinion. 

Doesn;t stack up

Speedfreak - Your 82% is from irrevelant polls that were not official opinion polls, in the same way my non-official poll was 55% pro. Did Bev Butler get 82% of the vote? The correct answer is no.
Surely if your argument stacks up, and given Bev was the most vocal stadium opponent, she would have got 82% of the council vote. What was her percentage? Please let me know, as it was small enough to forget.
After all, this was the number one topic at the election wasn't it, so if passions were high against it why is she not a councillor with a massive majority? Why are other pro-stadum people like Bill Acklin still getting into council with large numbers of votes?
OK, I acknowledge it has cost the city a lot. I admit some businesses are paying more rates than needed like B & B's, and I admit the stadium needs to be paid off sooner rather than later. But it is a great asset for the future and it is here. No going back. [Abridged]

Like the way you thnk

Yes. That makes sense Steveson. You say the councillors who supported the stadium were returned to council, and so they must, one presumes, be proud of their stadium stance. But I must say I have not heard in print or word any of the seven current stadium supporting councillors who are still on council make even the slightest reference to their stadium support. Odd, isn't it? Usually politicians are mad keen to let voters know their hand in 'popular' initiatives. Still, there is still this year's election in which I will wait to hear the stadium supporting councillors reveal their support; come on you seven. You know who you are. Don't be shy. After all you are proud of your stadium stance. Aren't you?

Not just $66

Just one point, Stevesone. We are levied $100 per household, not the $66 so often quoted. Have a look at your ORC rates account and you will see an additional stadium charge of approx. $34.00 This makes the direct levies $100 per household, which is only around a quarter of the annual costs.

My point exactly

If the public at large doesn't get off the couches, the Scrooge McDucks will continue to spend the residents' money at will because no one will stop them.

I don't think the general public relishes the idea of paying back $300m worth of debt for a rugby field with an occasional big concert thrown in once in awhile.

'its me', we do not have the economy to sustain the trivia. I guess you didnt read the article in the ODT about the poor here in Dunedin.  

That small vocal group

That small vocal group started at around 82% of ratepayers, Its Me.

Most have moved on? Where do you get this fact? While it may seem to you that there are only a couple of us stubborn enough to keep reminding you, I can assure you that there are many still dead against it and the process that got it here. Maybe many have just given up due to the futility of it all. Why? There is nothing more futile than when 82% say no and the answer comes back as yes. Just how did that happen, Its Me?

As for the elected representatives, perhaps you should ask Mr Chin and Cr Guest and a few others why they are still not with the DCC. 

As for Mr Vandervis, his time is coming soon and the truth will come out. You are not going to want to hear it either, I can assure you of that. 

A laughable protest

Kris: Apart from a small vocal group who frequent this website most people are over it. They have moved on.
Good luck organising a protest about a stadium that has been here years. Most people who have been to the stadium who were anti now appear to be supportive - at least that's my take on it. You will disagree, I know. 
The pro's didn't protest for the stadium - we knew it was coming when the decision was announced. All we heard from was the small group who were the sticker brigade. We did not have to say a word.
As far as the elected representitives (I repeat the word elected) well, they made the call. Did you Stevesom or Mike stand for council or Mayor? What happened to Bev Butler's attempt at council? If the public vote was so anti-stadium how come she didn't make the cut? How come Vandervis didn't get mayorlty?[Abridged]

I was on that protest march

I was on that protest march along with many others. Kris. Sadly, attendance at anything in Dunedin is hard to get and this is exactly why filling/ selling out functions at the stadium will always be problematic. History has showed us that time and time again.

Also, sadly for most of us, those that proposed the stadium did not want to see this either as they were too busy with their own agendas. Bit like Scrooge McDuck rubbling his hands together with dollar signs for eyes really. Blinded by cash and profit? Yes Sir.

Doom and gloom indeed

Itsme: I talk about occupancy rates because according to you the stadium is bringing in this huge influx of people, and this is clearly not the case. Had we spent $200 million on economic development rather than a stadium we could have done wonders in Dunedin. At $66 per ratepayer for the stadium overheads we are talking about $3.65 million per annum. It is not enough to pay down the debt, it is not enough to pay the interest on the loan. You are a businessman so you should be able to work out the numbers as I have. In fact a first year accountancy student could see the numbers simply don't add up.

Platitudes and lectures on the merits of positive thinking will not change anything. Throwing $400,000 at two acts when we know that money is lost is not good business, it is throwing away good money after bad. Perhaps 400K is a pittance to you, to me its just more waste, more public money squandered.

I am not against the new hotel or university developments because they are not paid for by ratepayers - they represent proper economic development. The stadium is in fact the main reason the city is broke. You create more employment through economic development, not mortgaging the cities future on a wildly expensive, useless, badly under utilised money pit.

The stadium is a monument to those in council who believed rugby is far more important than the welfare of its citizens. It was sold to us all as a profitable venture, how then can you be ok with it losing millions? The glass is not half full, it is empty.

The naysayers did not come through.

If even 10% of the ratepayers got out and marched I would say yes, we had an opposition, but only 1500 less than marched for the neurosurgery.  So let's be fair here - the naysayers sat on their couch and yelled a few emails for 5 years. 

That was never gonna do anything but if 5000 people marched on the streets of Dunedin we might have a case.

I do not agree with the debt incurred but the bottom line most of the residents are happy to make do while a few of us try to get "the powers that be" to be honest to be transparent.  That is not going to happen until a ton of Dunedinites get up off their couches and make it known.  And by known I mean big numbers.  

Large cash injection to some?

Just who are these "some", Its Me? Would those "some" be the same "some" that pushed the stadium through against the wishes of most?. Most likely, they are, and guaranteed, they won't want to be stumping up their share out of that large cash injection. Greed and deception are two words that spring to mind.

Its not all gloom

Stevesome - No, I do not own a large business. I do however own a small business and work in a leadership role for a large company. I also pay rates on a couple of rentals so I get the fact that rates have risen, and it has impacted me to.
You need to reread my last comments about what makes a business fail. Yes, I know Dunedin has its challenges economically and with all the business people I deal with I know the retailers are particually struggling. However, there are also many success stories. I doubt the Chamber is saying Dunedin's challenges are due to the stadium - in fact they would give you the same reasons as in my last comments.
You also keep going on about occupancy rates at accommodation providers. You confuse me Stevesome - how does the stadium stop people coming to Dunedin? It actually provides more opportunities so how would it be without the stadium (and I am not saying it provides masive opportunities to this group but it still provides opportunities).
Instead of always looking at the glass half empty you need to embrace change and look at a glass half full. How can we be a go ahead city, how can we create more employment, how can we pay down the debt at the stadium, how can we be positive about the future without positive bussinesspeople? As a fellow business owner you will know there is alot more to your success or failure than FBS.
I never expected FBS to be a windfall for you or me, so don't pretend this is the case. For me, I never expect it to be a profitable business, and the $1.60 spent per head in Dunedin to bring a rock band here is pittance but does create pride and joy for many in the city and a large cash injection to some. [Abridged]

Let your voice be heard?

Sadly Kris, we tried that by protesting against the building of the stadium. And also sadly, the unfair and untransparent governance along with business and rugby steam rolled us. If they think that we will now forget and support it, they are sadly mistaken.

Hopefully, the doors to the stadium will soon be shut as it just not economically viable to keep flogging a dead horse. And in a perfect world, those responsible for this sham will be held to account. 

Rates have closed businesses

A very high profile B&B closed its doors because in one year the rates went from $3000 to $9000 - a full $6000 - that was probably their profit. Why should the DCC take their profit?

And before someone does their head in over profit - profit enters the economy and makes profit for others. Spending other people's hard earned profit such as paying off city debt is morally wrong.

The Stadium is a big burden for this city to carry in this age in our small economy. Picking up other people's dirty laundry e.g. oil exploration, is not an answer to today's problems.

The answer is fair and transparent governance, something that we seem to be unable to attain, and also the answer for all the couch sitters that think things are unfair is to get off the couch and let your voice be heard in all of this. [abridged]


Rates close businesses

So you own a big business do you itsme? Then you will know that Dunedin is lagging behind the rest of the country economically. You will know it has high unemployment and lower annual income than other main centres. You would know that despite telling us the stadium is bringing a financial windfall to Dunedin hotel and motel occupancy rates have fallen to an all time low of 55% (NZ stats). 

You are right itsme - the business environment is about as bad as it gets for business to flourish. Add a high rate impost and no economic development and you have a dire business environment. Talk to the leaders  at the Chamber of Commerce if you don't understand how bad things have become. Your idea for a targeted rate is based on what exactly? Do you mean the diminishing number of people coming to Dunedin, the lower motel accomodation rates, or the numbers of businesses closing their doors?  A targeted tax will be the last straw for many businesses hanging on by their fingernails. 

The stadium is not open often enough to make a difference, and the costs to rate payers of running it far outweigh any hoped for economic benefit. No events since April 24, only two Highlanders games in June, and a team on the bottom of the table does not attract record crowds. Hardly a windfall for anyone.

Let's check why businesses fail

Stevesome thinks he knows why businesses close. He says it's because rates rise faster than inflation. As a business owner and employee of a large business myself, I have seen many businesses succeed and fail, and no one has ever said to me it is due to rates - thanks for being the first.
Let me tell you why businesses usually fail - poor management, competition, environment, trends, customer base, changing dynamics, customer service, lack of demand - I could go on.
Good luck with your desire to close the stadium - you will need it. Better to find other solutions - as I have suggested, especially paying down debt to pay less interest in the long run and perhaps a targeted rate on those who benefit from the stadium like accommodation providers, taxis, restaurants and bars.
If your business is struggling look inward and outward, the stadium is only a small part of the equation.

Business closures

Let me tell you why businesses close, itsme. They close because the cost of doing business becomes to much to remain operational. They close because their rates rise much faster than inflation year on year. They close because this council chose to build a $220 million white elephant rather than spend it on economic development. They close because the population growth is zero and Dunedin is economically lagging behind the rest of the country.

The last event at the stadium was Aerosmith on April 24 - do you really believe the stadium presents a windfall for local bisiness? I can assure you it doesn't.

The problem is that the increasing rates force people out of business, stifle employment and stunt economic growth. I will not stop complaining, I will not accept that our future has to be mortgaged for a few rugby games and a couple of acts we paid a total of $400,000 to come here. The current $66.00 per rate payer is not even covering expenses. Work it out itsme, that really would be business thinking. 

Show us the money

itsme: I don't think it's clear that the stadium brings in more money than the rates rises due to it - in fact we had a local motel owner posting here a while ago claiming the opposite. I certainly don't see it in my rates.

In fact, if the stadium was really such a big earner for local businesses we'd have the Chamber of Commerce demanding that they be allowed to pay a targeted rate to pay for the stadium 'events fund' - the one they pull those $200,000 an act out of to pay promoters to entice them to bring acts here. Or even better the local bars, restaurants and hotels should just pass the hat and give the money directly to DVML.

Has that happened? No, not a peep from the Chamber of Commerce. Instead the city decided to get all the ratepayers to foot the bill for this fund to that only benefits local bars and restaurants, I guess because they aren't making enough money from the stadium to be able to pay those rates for themselves.

So show us all this money you is that's coming into the city - I don't see it. If it's really there there's no need for us to be forced to open our wallets to prop up bars.

The facts

Stevesome makes absolutely no sense. What does the closure of restaurants have to do with the stadium apart from a rates raise that is clearly easily offset by the extra income they get from the stadium? Restaurants failed due to the economic downturn and this is happening all over the South Island. It's not due to the stadium, Oval, Pool, Gardens, or corner dairy.
Let's look at the facts. You have been charged rates for a community facility, a decision made by our elected councillers at the time. Pretty simple really. I know you don't like it.  You can complain about all the numbers but they are not changing either unless you embrace the higher rates rise to pay it off quickly. Now, that is business thinking. [Abridged]

Entry charges

Bones McCoy: You claim that "...  the things like our libraries, pools, museums and the art gallery operate within set operating times with, for many, an entrance fee/cost."

I use all the facilities named by you and the only one that charges me to enter it is Moana Pool - "Just like our stadium, in many respects... "

Digger has alluded to the stadium as not being ideal for conferencing. It is average. And now that the Dunedin Centre is refurbished and back in business I understand that much of the business in this area that the stadium had been attracting (due mainly to the closure of the Dunedin Centre) has now returned to the Dunedin Centre.

Oh the folly of it all!

The figures don't add up

There are about 54,000 ratepayers and we are led to believe we pay $66.00 each pa toward the stadium. This equates to $3,564,000pa, no-where near what is needed to retire the debt and keep the place running. No-one is buying this nonsense and this is why the debate continues to rage. Stop the creative accounting and the spin, lets have the real truth. Don't forget it has a ratable value of $1.8 million but only pays $136,000 pa. 

The whole thing is smoke and mirrors. When the truth comes out after the next election there will be uproar. This debate is not going away - too many ratepayers in this city want answers and they want them now.

Digger no, they're not...

... open for a wide variety of people, of all ages, to use at their leisure. Just like every other operational entity I have ever bumped into in my life, the things like our libraries, pools, museums and the art gallery operate within set operating times with, for many, an entrance fee/cost.

None of them sit available for me to use "at my leisure" - nor would I expect them to be. I have to work around their reasonable operational restrictions, and am 100% comfortable doing that.

Just like our stadium, in many respects...

Deadwood in the DCC

stevesone57:I agree in principle with most of your comments, and I want to comment on your phrase:"By all accounts Paul Orders has a few clues, when will he put a stop to this endless waste?" I have never met Paul Orders, however, he has one tough job to do and has already got rid of some of the non-performing senior management within the Council work-force. He can do nothing about his employers - the Councillors and Mayor. The non-performing and non-accountable Council members can only be got rid of by we the citizens of Dunedin. We review their performance and decide whether to give them another 3 years(or not) by election in the very near future. We must resist voting for those Councillors because of their length of time on Council, and also those Councillors who by their actions, do not understand the cost of borrowing. Too bad Paul Orders could not also get rid of such deadwood in Council!

The real cost of the stadium

It beggars belief that small business owners like Bones McCoy apparently believe what is written on their rates bills. I can understand non financially savvy people being taken in but do you really think that the library is costing you more than the $230 million stadium which is running at a whopping loss every year and requires millions of dollars in additional funds on an ongoing basis? The amount on your rates bill for the Stadium is calculated on a deficit of $5 million pa. It does not reflect the reality of the situation in the slightest but is a smoke and mirror exercise which was calculated at the outset to disguise the true cost. The rest of the cost is diverted from income from the City Holdings Companies which used to be offered to the City as a rebate on our rates bills.

We have been trying to get the DCC to publish the correct figures on the rates bills (at least three to four hundred dollars pa for the average ratepayer) for some time but it suits this current Council to treat us all like mushrooms.

Why not sit down and do the calculations yourself, Bones McCoy? It's not difficult and you might get an insight into why the situation in Dunedin is so alarming.  

More perspective please, Mr Bones

The difference of course, Mr Bones, is that these other facilities are open for a wide variety of people, of all ages, to use at their leisure. They don't have to fit around a few rugby matches or the odd concert where  hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on the promoters who have to be heavily incentivised to bring major acts here. The stadium is best suited for rugby...as was always intended. Even then the fans are complaining about the place....as is their right.

As a conference centre-competing with others around town (particularly the superior, newly refurbished Dunedin Centre- it is a crap venue. Also you don't have to hold 'meetings' at the stadium for the same reason.

It is a stadium, pure and simple, and loses wads of money like most of them do. Sorry, Mr Bones, the stadium is financially sinking-fast-and this can't last.

If you can't stand the heat?

itsme tells Mike if his business is not going well he should do somthing else?

He should join Bennu, British Pub, The Palms, Celantro, Crown Mill, Living Space and the numerous businesses who have closed recently. He should not worry that his rates are out the roof whilst millions are squandered on the Stadium, Toitu and the Chinese Gardens.  

Re Toitu they run constant radio ads re a million stories at the museum and free entry. They even advertise card and games nights on a Thursday. Anyone done radio advertising on the Radio Network? A good company but eye wateringly expensive. How arrogant and wasteful is it to continue throwing our money down the drain advertising free services?  

My rates regional and local will be $24,000 next rates hike, or one month's turnover. Business is tough so it makes me sick to my stomach to watch $400,000 of our money thrown away on bringing acts to the city which don't even break even. By all accounts Paul Orders has a few clues, when will he put a stop to this endless waste?


Could it be that people can walk in and use the facilities at the gallerys, library, museums, gardens, etc any day of the week, for free, as often as they like. They are true public amenities. Unlike the little used stadium, that only gets used occasionally and charges for entry? Plus the thing that twists the knife for me, is all the misinformation that brought about the stadium's go ahead.

Paying for the stadium

Bones: due to the way that the stadium financing has been structured - with the debt forced into the council companies rather than being held directly by the council itself, it means that the bulk of the money you are paying for the stadium shows up not as a line item on your rates bill but as a gross reduction in the rates rebate from the council's investments.

You're paying far more for the stadium than you think you do, you've fallen for the method that was used to push the stadium cost off budget while still forcing all of us to pay for it by rates that have increased by a drop in the rebate at the same time as continual rates increases due to the council continuing to increase its spending at above the rate of inflation.

If 55,000 rate payers were paying only $50 a year each that would be $2.5m a year over 20 years that would be $50m - a lot of money but the stadium is going to cost us $450m in interest and principle over that same 20 years - if you're really paying just $50 a year how will we pay it off? 

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