Media queries now to DVML chairman

Darren Burden
Darren Burden
The outgoing chief executive of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, which runs Forsyth Barr Stadium, has been stripped of most of his media duties ahead of his premature departure from the role.

DVML chief executive Darren Burden, responding to requests for an interview yesterday, told the Otago Daily Times all media queries now had to go to DVML board chairman Sir John Hansen.

That included any request for an interview about Mr Burden's departure, which would need to be approved by Sir John, Mr Burden said.

Sir John, when contacted, confirmed the change, but said Mr Burden would still be permitted to discuss his decision to quit in an interview before his departure.

However, the board felt it was best to transfer other media duties away from Mr Burden, even though the board was ''not at all'' concerned Mr Burden might say something inappropriate, Sir John said.

Asked if the change amounted to a gag, Sir John said: ''Of course not.''

''You can see the reasons as well as I can ... he's leaving and it's more appropriate that someone with continuity in the place makes media statements.''

The change comes after it was confirmed last month Mr Burden would leave DVML on December 24, after just over a year in the chief executive's role, for a new job with Christchurch City Council venue management company Vbase.

Mr Burden has been involved in the stadium project almost since its inception, but in his new role could eventually find himself responsible for a new roofed stadium in Christchurch that competed with Dunedin's.

Apples with oranges

In respect of Colvin's post on the 6/12/13, there is a substantial difference between how the Millennium Stadium was funded and operates compared with our little stadium.

When it was completed in 1999 the Millennium Stadium cost approx BP121 million or approx NZ250 million. Even allowing for inflation our incomplete $260 million stadium is a fail on so many levels.

The Millennium Stadium is owned by the WRU and was 1/3 funded by the Millennium Fund (UK). On the other hand, the ORFU owned Carisbrook, failed and left us with huge debts around their operation and the new stadium.

And the number of events held annually at the Millennium Stadium far exceeds what our little stadium at the bottom of NZ does.

FSB does not punch above its weight. To mix metaphors, it is on life support and eventually someone will have to pull the plug.

A lottery for your stadium

Colvin: why doesn't the ORFU run a lottery for your rugby stadium? after all rugby's Carisbrook Stadium Trust told us they would raise $45m in private fundraising to pay their contribution towards it - they haven't even started yet - the private fundraising was a condition placed by the council on building the rugby stadium, they should shut it down until the money that was promised has been raised.

Stadium lottery?

Mike: Why doesn't the Council run a lottery to clean up the debt? If you look at Hong Kong just now, they run a lottery called Mark 6 and it is drawn three times a week. Just a simple select 6 numbers.

If it is not won then the prize goes forward into the next draw. First prize next Tuesday is some NZ$13 million.

This lottery raises heeps of money for charity and social needs each week.

The solution is there. It just needs someone to action it. 

Frightened of something?

What is it that Mr Hansen is worried that Mr Burden might say to the media, now that he is leaving ? That he may lie, or that he may tell the truth ? And how would that differ from what Mr Burden's replacement may say ? It would still either be a lie, or the truth. Facts are facts, are they not ? One would think that the best person to pass comment would be the person with the most experience and knowledge on the subject, and that person is Mr Burden.

Not a success

But Colvin your rugby stadium is not a success, it continues to hemorrhage money hand over fist. The problem of course isn't really the number of people who are attending but how much they are paying - so long as you and your fellow rugby fans are paying the same sort of low ticket prices that drove the ORFU towards bankruptcy in Carisbrook to attend a newer, more expensive venue it will not pay its own way.

The only way for your stadium to be a success is for you to pay enough money for your rugby to actually cover the rugby stadium's actual running costs.

Our stadium

I suppose the population numbers etc., highlighted by various contributors are interesting. But one point I think needs consideration and that is with the Millennium Stadium's location being so close to some 50 million potential customers its annual attendence is only around 770,000. Yet it's considered a success.

The FB stadium had an annual attendence of some 220,000, nearly 30% of the Millennium. Not bad when you consider our small population by comparison. 

Or put it another way. FBS in terms of actual numbers going through the door is far more important to us as a community than the Millennium Stadium is to the 50 million who could use the Millennium Stadium in UK.

So on that basis the FBS should be considered a success. 


Not our report

What the quoted report on the Cardiff stadium states, as do most other reports on the subject, is that the majority of European stadia do not follow the accepted economic model due to population density. The total land area of Wales is 2/3 that of Otago, but with a population of 3,000,000 within a couple of hours driving distance of the only major football stadium in the region. Add into the mix a direct land connection to an additional 50,000,000 people and it is clear that a report on a UK stadium bears little relevance to a stadium in Dunedin.

Comparisons aplenty, not in Dunedin's favour

"Wales has 4 million people and the one major stadium for Rugby Internationals" as Stevesone57 points out.  

There are a few other differences.  For one thing Wales doesn't have a Cook Strait-equivalent separating Cardiff from the majority of the population of Wales.  It doesn't even have a physical barrier separating it from England, in which there are rather a lot of people who live close enough to roads, railways and airports that can deliver them to Cardiff without it being a highly expensive exercise.  In fact, because of the population density and historical factors that shaped the roads, railways and ferries, later supplemented by airways, they have a huge catchment from Ireland to Europe that has better, cheaper and more frequent ways to get to their stadium than we have, even from our nearest neighbour, Australia - the nearest coast of Australia, not Perth.  Priced travel from Perth to Dunedin recently. anyone?

No comparison

Wales has 4 million people and the one major stadium for Rugby Internationals, they are not competing with other cities as happens here. We have only had a small number of significant events this year, Aerosmith being the last in April. How many times would have accommodation providers been full this year due to the stadium - 4, maybe 5? Hardly a windfall is it? Then work out the cost of the millions in interest on the loan, upkeep of the stadium, the $3.1 million lost on Carisbrook, the $1.3 million lost by DVML, and its not a pretty picture. The stadium is not proving to be an asset - it is actually a super expensive black hole sucking up ratepayer money.

Economic benefit

@Colvin: Economic benefit is illusory as it depends on the multiplier that those doing the study apply. It is often overstated from between 50% and 200%.

Yes, there are short term economic benefits when there is a large concert or an international rugby match.

If you take into account debt servicing costs and operational deficits then alas our poor stadium has a negative impact on the local economy - giving with one hand and taking with the other i.e. one sector gains at the expense of others.

A folly is a folly, no matter how the money is shuffled around.

The dream state of the believers

Colvin, you are living in a dream state, but glad you seem happy in that faraway place unconnected with reality. On your logic, fuzzy as it is through your euphoric position, the whole world would be awash with everyone moving round just going to stadia. The little child who pointed out that the Emperor was indeed naked, did himself and his countrypeople a good turn, but maybe you haven't read that book. While it is a great piece of fiction, we have much to learn from it - a bit like reading the annual returns of DVML and the ORFU.


Tui ad - It's alright Mr Hansen, Mr Burden is not going say anything about the money-sucking white elephant, yeah right. Wait till he gets to the city that is always going to get the big acts, it's time for accountability starting right at the top, these people are responsible for destroying Dunedin's future for many years to come somebody has to pay and not the ratepayers for a change.

Spinning stadium

It makes no difference with this crowd who is delivering the spin. ln the end the stadium will collapse under its own financial weight.

Our Stadium

Just on that, I'm reading that the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff contributes GBP130 million a year to the Cardiff economy. Their Stadium averages around 770,000 paying customers a year and is responsible for creating 2500 jobs. It is one of the most popular landmarks in that part of the world. 

Sounds like a pretty good deal for Cardiff and Wales.

I wonder if in Cardiff they have four or five people who kindly and regularly bring to the attention of the Welsh people any faults the Millennium Stadium may be thought to have; just like we luckily have with our FB Stadium. Or are we lucky on our own with that.

Going further, I wonder what the value of economic benefit is to Dunedin that is contributed by our Stadium. Scaled down by user numbers would it be around 30 percent of GBP 130 million using the Cardiff stadium as a guide?

Maybe our Stadium has its merits after all. 

Change the guard

Come on Dave & co; time to completely overhaul the disaster that is DVL/DVML. The stadium is a dead duck and the extremely well paid management and board appear unable to stem the losses created by some organisations not  paying the true cost of their use of the stadium. 

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