1300 march against stadium

Anti-stadium demonstrators make their way way down George St today. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Anti-stadium demonstrators make their way way down George St today. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Stop the Stadium protesters nailed a list of demands to the front door of Dunedin's Municipal Chambers at the conclusion of a large anti-stadium march through the city streets today.

The defiant act was the work of anti-stadium protester Dave Witherow, and came at the end of a protest that saw up to 1300 people chanting as they marched along George St to attend a rally in the Octagon.

The written declaration nailed to the door by Mr Witherow threatened Stop the Stadium's planned rates revolt, beginning on February 10, unless the Dunedin City Council pulled its support for the "scandalous" $188 million stadium project.

Earlier, about 900 people set off from Dunedin's Dental School, on Great King St, at midday, but the numbers swelled to about 1300 by the time the march reached the Octagon, according to an Otago Daily Times count.

Police escorting the procession estimated the number of marchers at up to 1000. Stop the Stadium officials said the march started with 1100 people and numbers grew by their count to 1500.

Protesters of all ages - but many of them older residents - joined the march, with a pipe band and protest leaders carrying a large "Stop the Stadium" banner at the front.

Following along behind was a sea of colourful signs, including a large white elephant mounted on a van and several smaller versions on poles.

One banner read: "This is the biggest swindle of ratepayers money that Dunedin has ever known".

Another simply said: "No".

The procession was met with applause and some heckling as it made its way down the city's main street.

Addressing the crowd that gathered in the Octagon, Stop the Stadium president Bev Butler said the march "sent a clear signal to our local councillors to end this stadium now".

"The debate has ended. It's now decision time, and the decision is clear to the people - no, no, no to the stadium," she said.

Speaking to the ODT afterwards, Ms Butler said she did not yet know the size of the crowd, but believed the "good turnout" was larger than the 600-1000 that marched against the stadium project in August last year.

Police were generally happy with the crowd's behaviour, but arrested two men - a 25-year-old accused of offensive behaviour and a 27-year-old accused of offensive language - after the pair unfurled a large banner containing foul language directed at Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry.

The pair were expected to appear in the Dunedin District Court later this week, Senior Sergeant Bruce Ross said.


Good analogy indeed

Yes, anyone who opposed George W's plans was criticised heavily, and we all know what most people think of him. I'm sure, like the pro stadium-ites, those few that believed in his ways thought they were the majority. This whole stadium debacle rings of the same thing. As the Bush admin spent more and more on war, not to mention human lives, most other things in USA suffered, it's a lowly impoverished nation with no social security for many, many people. A rich old boys nation.
Just as, on a smaller scale, many things in Dunedin are going to get cut, from council housing maitainance through Mosgiel bypass, sewer, heritage preservation developments, all for one stupid stadium that the deluded think will somehow bring this city to life. The folly has now reached the point where it's becoming beyond description. That's when all you can do is shake your head in disbelief.

A big difference, and a big cost difference.

Point made, however, unlike the stadium the other mentioned features are actually used to good potential every day.
Preserving heritage or culture (sport is barely culture - Kiwiana and Maori heritage is, though I know rugby is classed as 'culture') is or should be paramount. And you mention museums, they get very little input despite the fact large interactive museums are huge visitor drawcards. Most are manned by trusty volunteers, who have lots of enthusiasm but a very limited budget, so few achieve the good potential they could if rewarded by a decent cash injection which will eventually benefit. Admission fees also help, but capital injection of a small amount compared to the stadium would go a long way. Look for example at Ocean Beach Railway (that if funded could be running to St Clair, a drawcard) or Ferrymead in Christchurch, who could do a lot more and be a huge drawcard if funded better, and the amount wouldn’t even be a drop in the bucket compared to the stadium. Heritage pays, the stadium never will. The stadium only sucks money from every other project, and now I see the library is going to have its hours cut.
The Chinese garden cost $6 million for something that is original aesthetically pleasant, used every day of the year, not $188 million (and the rest) for a few silly games. The town hall is a piece of history and it has aesthetic appeal, and the botanical gardens have been around for years, most cities have them, especially important when you have people who want to fill a city with giant walls of glass and steel. These are well established, historic visitor attractions used daily, again, unlike the stadium. The cost towards them is nothing by comparison.
No one would perhaps mind so much, but the stadium comes at the price of a brand new Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet (but the ‘flying elephant’ is somewhat useful unlike the planned white one, just think of how much it earns per trip to pay for itself, then think of a rarely used to full capacity stadium). And we already have such infrastructure that has received millions of dollars not so long ago. Period.

User pays

The main difference is that the stadium is not being created as a pure public benefit - instead it's being created for the benefit of for-profit businesses (the ORFU, supposedly conferences and concerts, ...) If we don't charge them the full cost of using the facility (including cost of capital) then we are in effect subsidising them.
If the stadium was going to be used for non-profit things like school sport I'd be in favour of subsidies - but for-profit companies should pay their own way. And the market will take care of the issue - concerts will go to the Regent or Town Hall if that makes sense, conferences will use the Uni or the Town hall if it makes sense etc etc
If you crunch the numbers just to pay for the capital investment over 20 years each ticket would have to be $50 or more extra.
The thing is I don't believe there would be enough business to make the stadium viable, even the ORFU couldn't afford to use it.


1000? It was 1500 the other day...

And 1500 was just a rough conservative estimate - there was no official head count. As Bev said in STS letter today "The turnout was wonderful – easily the biggest march Dunedin has seen in recent times. It stretched over four blocks, filling the full width of George Street for that whole, impressive length."
We allegedly 'unwilling and somehow uninformed’ simply aren’t wearing rose tinted glasses like the pro stadiumites are. Now today we read today that another 16 million to be spent altering the highway for this piece of costly junk! But of course we are still going to be quoted the already extortionate $188 million to the tax and ratepayer. One doesn't need to be Einstein to work that out.


User pays

I don't use the art gallery, museum or town hall.
I want it taken out of my rates. Come to think of it, I don't go into Mac Bay so why should I pay for the roads there. And what about the cultural centre at Waikouaiti?
The day that happens, I will be happy to see the Stadium cut.
How much does one museum alone cost us over 20 years. I bet it's a similar amount to the stadium.
Where's the anti-art gallery protests?
Don't get me started on the Chinese Garden, town hall or Botanic Garden.
Doubles standards seem to be applied here.
Because it's sports and not at and culture (although I'd argue that it is a major part of New Zealand Culture) it's an easy target.
The stadium is as important as any of our public facilities.


Nice one MichaelA

Hope you sent this to Bill and Rodney Hide as well! Like the analogy to the Iraq war, no disrespect to all those who have lost their lives there, but chances are financial casualties in Dunedin could be just as high! Sheer bloody-mindedness and arrogance emanate from the council offices, just as they did from the White House!

Dear Bill English

Mayor Chin sent you a letter so I thought I'd send you one too. I'm not sure if Mayor Chin mentioned this in his letter to you, but according to a recent survey done by the University of Otago nearly 80% of Dunedin ratepayers don't actually want the proposed stadium.

I also wonder if he bothered to tell you that the main beneficaries of the stadium, the Otago Rugby Football Union, aren't paying anything toward it.
The majority of people in Dunedin do not want to subsidise the rugby union.

Why after two decades of user pays should the council give handouts to the rugby Union? It looks like socialism for rugby while everyone else carries the debt.

Who's to say that rugby will even be relevant in 10-20 years? After all, the numbers are indicating that the sport is in decline. The council and stadium supporters talk as if major events are going to take place in the stadium every week.

Really? What major events? A major event by Dunedin standards is the 24 hour book sale, Orientation week, and the NZ Ballet once every couple of years.

No matter how I look at it the stadium seems to be about rugby. Rugby rugby rugby.

The old school tie's in trouble so the council's decided to unconditionally bail them out. The sad thing is about all this is that the proposed stadium has the same look of inevitability about it that the 2nd Iraq war did just before it started. I recall how in the face of all arguments to the contrary the Bush administration went to war because their minds were already made up.

It was simply a case of presenting carefully selected information to justify the decision and placate a sceptical public.

Well, regardless of how Mayor Chin and his supporters choose to delude themselves, nearly 80% of Dunedin people have come out and said No! to this gratuitous rubbish.

Stadium march

Firstly, despite your and other CST supporters' attempts to pass the march off as a small minority of hippies and pensioners; there was clearly more than 1000 people there, and clearly a good mix of ages and backgrounds.
Another thing no one seems to be mentioning is that this march was considerably bigger than last year's Stop the Stadium march.
What does that suggest to you? That hippies and pensioners have flooded the city over summer, or that what support there was for the stadium is rapidly dropping?
As neither the Masters Games or the Gathering were held in Dunedin I'll assume the later. No surprise really as the truth about how it'll be paid for is understood.
Secondly, even if you consider 1000 people a small number - it's still 1000% more than have ever turned up to a support-the-stadium march. What does that tell you about support for the stadium? Really. Go on, think about it...
Lastly, businesses leaving the city and local government have a lot to do with each other. Rightly or wrongly, most multinational companies enjoy benefits of low taxes/rates, and cash subsidies from both central and local governments to induce them to set up shop. So I dare say the 'save Fisher and Paykel' people present probably feel if the DCC/ORC has $188 million to blow on a folly, it might be better used encouraging business to stay in Dunedin.

but in the real world...

Perhaps you're the one who has an unwillingness to learn the issues. Or at least the reality of them.
Indeed the second stage - and more importantly a lot of other things the city needs - will likely be completed in "due course".
But if we weren't donating over $188 million plus interest to a unnecessary stadium that "due course" could be a lot sooner.
Quite simply, the more money the DCC/ORC spend on unnecessary projects, the less they have for the essential ones. It's hardly rocket science.

Legal action required

It is high time the sensible people of Dunedin set about investigating the possibility of a legal challenge to stop this farce once and for all. With any luck it will get rid of Chin and Co as well. Surely there are grounds for laying charges of inappropriate use of other people's money When will this council realise a plastic box of rugby will not revitalise anything? Overseas flights into and out of Dunedin are being cancelled, "build it and they will come"...oh yes...and how exactly? Furthermore, to really illustrate that this thing cannot be built for $188 million, the roading subsidy being sought may not happen as the RTA person has already stipulated that costs have "rapidly increased" For goodness sake, this is beyond the point of reason. And just a note, what the heck does age have to do with the march? If you pro-plastic box supporters think about it, these are the people who may be under the most stress as a result of the upcoming council extortion over the next twenty plus years.

Wants, not needs

denemc: The 'Brook had millions spent on it with its corporate block a few years ago, hardly life expired. I'd also oppose $90 million spent on it, but with rugby being a pedestal elevated 'god,' given the lengths taken to pander to it, the subject remains the stadium should be privately funded, when there are both far more pressing (poor sewer) and imaginative projects that could be undertaken in this city for a fraction of the cost.
Dunedin has just been rated as the most desirable place in New Zealand, due perhaps to heritage building and less modern eyesores, and more that give it a sense of place a stadium will only take away.


No distortion mirror for cynically honest Aunty Bev...

But like all stadium supporters, you seem to be well equipped with the rose tinted glasses. Who cares about the rest of the city and its infrastructure that needs attention, and things that would benefit the city, or simply real, imaginative projects at way less the cost, instead of this dog of a stadium. A costly dog at that. If you want that dog, pay for it, don't rob those of us that don't. I don't even like rugby and if the thing ever gets built I won't be waiting for big rock acts to appear. So far, taking a plane or bus north has sufficed. Two previous concerts over the past few years failed to fill the Regent and Town Hall. Go figure.
If anti stadium people are a minority, we must be the tall poppies that pro stadium people like to cut down for undermining those who want the frivolous pleasure of rugby games under a roof while everything else suffers.
We haven’t the population, a hint is in the news that Air NZ, despite lots of advertising have had to cut trans Tasman flights to Dunedin, with half empty planes. There’s a lesson in that analogy. Even more so when we have adequate stadium infrastructure that only a few years ago got a lot spent on it then, and lays empty most of the time.

No comparison at all

The stadium cannot in any way shape of form be compared with an invention like the car when it first arrived on the scene. They represented a quantum leap forward in transportation, the stadium is certainly not quantum leap by any standard and certainly has no wow factor as the 'horseless carriage' that, at the time of introduction was twice the speed of a horse was. It is a boring, and costly job, to pander to the whim of the already mollycoddled rugby fraternity and of course to allow certain few 'rich old boys' to leave their mark – or really, their legacy. If you were trying to make an analogy of your cars early days one, with some imaginative and constructive development in Dunedin, i.e transport, than money spent on fast suburban trains or increased buses might just start to cut the mustard. Heritage attractions could well be improved upon, which leaves the stadium as one of the most unimaginative projects ever dreamt up. And how about a classic aicraft for flight seeing? We have some impressive and diverse scenry on our doorstep, a semi-fast prop driven aicraft that could seat say 70 people in comfort could which people around parts of the lower and mid south Island, not to mention more local areas. Any city with the uncrowded airspace and scenery would have adressed this quicksharp, not built yet another stadium at such exhorbitant cost. When this city lost its street cable cars in 1957, it left San Francisco the only place in the world with them. There's just two excamples of unique, drawcard visitor attractions we could have, making money and brought on at a fraction of this riculous stadium.
It wouldn’t matter so much if (A) it was funded privately and (B) it simply didn’t cost to a point that it will starve every other project. As if a city our size will thrive on an occasionally used stadium that will cost $300 million, given the doubled price of most construction materials and the fact fuel prices have to be considered in carting materials to and from it. $188 million my foot. I pass The Brook most days, rarely do I see anyone using it. I'm sure the Edgar Centre gets used a lot, it's a perfectly good facility that caters for anything else that the 'multipurpose' stadium would supposedly provide.
If you think it was all a 'minority' of elderly citizens that were at the march, think again. I was there, and age 40, I saw lots of people my age, but also much younger, plenty of people in their 20s around where I was as Bev and the others delivered their hard hitting truth. But its a typical rhetoric of the pro stadiumites to condescend those naysayers as old and backward etc. But, like the entire stadium farce, it doesn’t stack in the real world.

In reply to Stekelmoll

You've got a great name there.
I remember the march in 1981.I wouldn't have thought that there would have been 5000 people on it. Good on them, but you have to admit that most of the protesters were students.
I still say Dunedin people are conservative.
Did you notice many rugby fanatics in the marches of 1981 and 2009?

With respect...

See this is the problem of the anti stadium brigade, complete and utter unwillingness to learn the issues that have been raised.
If you must, one more time for the sake of the ill-informed.
The new pipeline which is about to be commissioned, will take the partially treated effluent further out into the Pacific Ocean. There it is to meet stronger off shore currents, where as at present it is subject to all manner of local scale on shore breezes etc.
Thus the occurrence of bacterial material in the immediate swimming area will be greatly reduced. Then the second stage will be completed in due course. It can't be done immediately.
And if the surfers were at all concerned, they should have known this, so why were they marching on the weekend?
There were suggestions by Anti-Stadium councillors and Bev Butler the second stage might not go ahead. That decision hasn't even been considered by council, so at this stage, the full treating of the effluent will go ahead.

Laugh all you may

But in the end only 1000 people could be bothered to spend an hour of their sunny lunch time to protest supposedly the single most important issue to hit the city ever - that's sad no matter how you look at it.
Facts, well they only hide what may or may not be going on in the background. I know for a fact that the only person I know who replied to the survey ticked against the stadium pure and simply because he doesn't like Mayor Chin, no other reason. You nor anyone else has any idea why people decided why they are against the stadium in the survey, without having asked that question specifically and then collating that data too.
I mean what were the "Save Fisher and Paykel" people doing there on Saturday?Tthat has nothing to do with a stadium?



With respect...

The poo is not being cleaned up yet - as of last week they started filtering out the chunky bits and are now pumping it further out to sea - soon they will start adding chlorine to that soup which hopefully will start to kill some of the nasties
As I understand it, it wont be until stage two that they start actually treating it like any normal city.

Come on

It's called being facetious/sarcasm re protests in stadium.
I was there - at no stage of the march was the middle road of the Octagon covered in people. 1/2 hour before the pic was taken, yes the street was full, they were still marching/assembling.
But this is it with the Anti-stadium crowd isn't it. Simple acknowledgement of the facts and figures don't matter as long as it sounds good.
There were no more than 800-1300 people there plain and simple.
As for what they were marching against, well the Save Fisher and Paykel crowd may have missed a date, that boat's already sailed. The clean up the poo surfies, seemed to miss the fact that the poo is being cleaned up and at this stage there is no evidence that the second stage of it will not go ahead.
Prof Harris again suggested that MSL will rise 1m - wrong, it won't. Bev claimed the city is $600m in debt - it isn't.
Facts and figures / causes and concerns are just picked out of the air with you lot to suit this fantasy that Bev is leading a noble cause - she ain't.
If you want to see pics of the seething masses (read less than 1% of the population) go to http://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/, it's all there for everyone to see, I didn't need to bring out the Bev Butler reality distortion mirror.


Relax, it's just your money we stealing...

You're missing the point in your comparison with the early days of cars. Cars were originally the preserve of the rich and were paid for privately. However, the stadium is being paid for with public money.
Because the DCC/ORC are taking money off the public this means that every Victor Meldrew-type indeed has a right to have to opinion - and a right to shout that opinion as loud as they like.
Easy for you to advise people to relax. But perhaps you're unaware of the affect an extra $100+ a year of rates - for an unnecessary project - will have on many people.
If you want a stadium, fine. But you pay for it. Don't steal money from people who don't want or need it, and who can't afford to pay for unnecessary follys.
Further, I'm not sure where you get the idea that anti-stadium people are a minority. As above, The recent university survey shows that pro-stadium people are in the minority - a minority of around 20%.



I laugh at the pro-stadium activists here...

I laugh at the pro-stadium activists jumping on here trying to make a march of well over 1000 people look small.
Your claims that only 1% of the city don't support the stadium make you look either disingenuous, or desperate. Clearly not every person who doesn't support the stadium was at the march.
Indeed the facts (as shown by the a recent unbiased and sizable university conducted survey) are that the stadium only has support of less than 20% of the city's population. With around 80% against it, now the costs and effects are being reveled.


Come on

Do you really think people will be renting the new stadium for protest marches? People march in public places, locking yourself away to do it would be silly. That's the same sort of anti-democratic thinking that had us forced to march down Harrop street back when we had that first march.
You guys have to get your stories straight - someone up above claims it was only 'oldies' who were marching.
I think your photo was taken about 1/2 an hour after the march reached the Octagon, not everyone stayed around to listen to all the speeches - at that point people were still giving speeches in the lower Octagon and a lot of people have pushed down there to listen.
About half an hour before your picture the road in the middle was full and the space in the upper Octagon was probably half full. If 1500 people fill all of the lower Octagon, the road in the middle and half the upper Octagon it seems pretty obvious that you couldn't fit 5000 people in there without closing the roads around the outside.


In denial

There was no lack of numbers, around 1% of Dunedin's population is not significant -- I'm yet to see 1% of the city march in favour of the stadium.
I am a young citizen of Dunedin (19 years), I marched, I'm not afraid of new development; but I've a few fiscal brain-cells.
It's about priorities, and if you honestly think that a stadium takes priority over everything else -- then you're living in a dream world.
PS: If there is a such a huge majority of people who support this stadium (and who are sure of its commercial success) then why don't you all pool together and pay for it?


Protest numbers

That's strange Caz I can recall protests in Dunedin of 4,000 to 5,000 protesting the 1985 proposed All Black tour to South Africa, student fee increases etc ... Saturday's turnout was nothing short of pathetic.

You weren't there were you . . .?

I saw people of all ages in the march. And you know something - this is a democracy. Everyone gets a say no matter what their age. I think you're being bigoted in denying older people their say - that 1.5% were representing the 78% of the population who don't want to pay for the stadium. While I was marching I saw 2 people who were obviously in favour of the stadium - I would honestly have expected more. Using your argument that means that only .002% of the population wants a stadium.
You think that 78% number is made up? - have a look here the ODT's recent poll on what people think the Mayor should do about his letter 77% to 23% - so close to the 78% to 22% from the recent poll it's uncanny.

Anti-stadium march

"5000 wouldn't have fit in the Octagon anyway"
That's why you need a new stadium.
" it was mostly full yesterday"
3 tiers of seats were filled, you could almost see the tumbleweeds across the amphitheatre area. "The footpaths were pretty empty by the time it had gone past"
That's because they are bored with you lot.
Only 1% of the population (how many were actually ratepayers, not the couple of hundred kids and teenagers?) could be bothered to march on a beautiful free saturday on the most important issue to hit Dunedin ever - please give me a break.
Love the webcam pic from the Octagon during the march. Apart from the cones looks like every other sat in Dunedin.

Stadium marchers

I was with the marchers in spirit, if not in body and have always been opposed to such a white elephant, draining ratepayers even further.
Good on you all !

Attendances at pro-stadium marches

Paulonthebay, I must have missed something. How many attended the last or indeed any marches in support of the stadium proposal? Perhaps they were so poorly attended that they completely escaped our attention. That it?



Conservative estimate, surely . . .

Three blocks worth of people, must have been more than 1500 there, notably lots of people in 20s and 30s , clearly with heads screwed on the right way.
I was hoping my sign would have got a picture taken, a drawing of the monstrousity 'sinking' like a ship, with funnels spewing out dollar signs, and titled "Sink the 'Farrytanic - before it sinks this city!"
And at bottom, the stadium depicted again with a red cross through it, other side the things that this city should be and is - heritage buildings, cable car, Taieri gorge Train etc, with a big blue tick.
But, well, in such a large crowd, there was plenty of well done banners to choose from.


Anti-stadium march

Stop the Stadium claim - 1500 members -1500 people showed up, seems reasonable to me - 5000 wouldn't have fit in the Octagon anyway, it was mostly full yesterday.
I was impressed with the number of shoppers who joined the march from the street. I was at the back of the march and the footpaths were pretty empty by the time it had gone past (at least compared with what I saw an hour later). I think it sort of sucked a whole bunch of people who didn't know it was happening into its ranks when they realised what it was about.



Anti-stadium march

The anti-stadium group appear to be dominated by a small band of disaffected and rowdy elderly citizens who fear development. It is clear that these Victor Meldrew-types are representing a vocal-minority, and the majority of Dunedinites support this exciting opportunity for the city. It reminds me of when cars were first appearing on the scene way back in the 1890s, and were called 'devil wagons' and viewed with deep suspicion and contempt. Just relax people!


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