Southland stadium gets $2m

Prime Minister John Key has followed through on his promise of a Government contribution of $2 million towards the cost of rebuilding ILT Stadium Southland.

The city's covered multipurpose stadium has been rebuilt and enlarged at a cost of about $43 million after the roof of the original stadium collapsed under the weight of a snowfall in September 2010.

At the official reopening in May, Mr Key told city dignitaries to ''rattle the tin at your end and we might finish the job''.

Southland has done just that, raising $1.3 million to date through a fundraising appeal.

Yesterday, Mr Key said while there was not a huge precedent for the Government to contribute to regional stadiums, it would pledge ''a couple of million'' in recognition of all Southland had been through with its stadium.

''I'm pretty confident you are going to see a stadium which is debt-free and which is going to continue to be a magnificent facility for the community,'' he told a lunchtime gathering of about 50 people, including Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt and stadium funders.

A beaming Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Trust chairman Acton Smith said the money would ''break the back'' of the stadium's debt.

After the old stadium collapsed, only the core central services area remained undamaged. Plans for a $14 million rebuild were announced, but it was soon discovered the core area did not meet new earthquake standards and the trust decided to bring it up to code, which trebled the cost.

Mr Smith said the trust still did not know exactly what the construction shortfall figure was because the total insurance payout figure was not finalised. Most of the payout has already been received.

The trust was ''in the last stretches'' of having the payout figure finalised, he said.

Before the ''rattle the tin'' appeal, the trust had estimated a shortfall of about $5million by 2018. But Mr Smith said yesterday the fundraising and the Government's contribution would ''get us near where we want to be''.

''We are now looking at a shortfall of $750,000-$1 million, and we are pretty confident we can get below that.''

allison.beckham@odt.co.nz