No more whinging about the stadium for 2013

It would be great to think that we could have a year where there was no whinging about the stadium.

It's a poor reflection on the handful of regular subscribers that turn any event into an opportunity to vent their anger and continue to criticise this arena.

The majority of them appear to have a reasonable grasp of the English language, are articulate, are not pushing a political barrow, and share a common need for the betterment of our town and surroundings.

There are a lot of worthwhile causes that need to be addressed and that would welcome the enthusiasm and dedication these subscribers put forth. Unfortunately, most of these causes have a very low profile and do not carry any political mileage.  

I think we doth protest too much

So: Valid protest at ratepayers subsidising a loss-making business is now defined as "whinging"?   How charmingly Orwellian.

Targeted taxes

After attending a Dunedin host meeting where the Mayor and Deputy Mayor were in attendance it became clear they are both supporters of applying targeted taxes to accommodation providers as well as pubs and restaurants.
This targeted events tax would be some $400,000 and would be used to attract events to the stadium. The rationale for this decision would be that Dunedin City Council spends $1.8 million promoting tourism and that tourism operators should contribute to that cost as well as paying rates.
It is interesting that despite raising council rates year on year at twice the rate of inflation and noting accommodation numbers are down from 59 to 55%, there was no talk from the Mayor about just how hard the tourism industry is struggling to stay afloat. We have all seen the number of restaurant and cafe closures around the town as well as the general downturn in visitor numbers. The idea that several events spread over the year at the stadium would somehow solve that situation is drawing a long bow.
The fact is tourism providers don't have the luxury of upping rates at twice the rate of inflation, nor can we have a 90% rate holiday as the stadium gets. We have to pay our staff and ensure our businesses meet the standards visitors expect. More taxes inhibit business growth and development, and all this whilst we await the outcome of the Carisbrook debacle and watch helplessly as Dunedin struggles under it's enormous debt.
Would anyone trust this Council to manage a $400,000 events fund? will the fund be increased to $600,000 in 2015? look at the Councils record at doing business and then answer that question. [Abridged]


My whinge!

Scanners at the gate that wouldn't work, beer pre-poured and sitting in the full SUN while no ppl were in line, kids tickets that were seated directly in front of a solid red barrier so they had to stand up for the whole show to be able to see anything, seats so uncomfortable that a camp chair would have been better, a 'big screen' that was almost smaller than the one I have in my lounge... and over $300 for the evening. There is my whinge! 

Is it whingeing or genuine concern?

I like the stadium, I like Ferraris too but I can't afford one. The stadium is here and we must make the best of it but suggesting it will ever make money is drawing a long bow. Eden Park is broke as are many stadiums throughout the world. I support any measure which will stem some of the losses Dunedin rate payers are suffering due to the high costs of running the stadium.

There is now a suggestion of targeted taxes due to the so called windfall provided to local accommodation and business by the stadium. Just to prove this is just a cynical tax grab please note NZ statistics report on Dunedin accommodation Nov 2011 to Nov 2012. International visitors down 20.5% Total guest nights down 8.2%. Total occupancy down from 64.3% to 59.9%. Motels down 6.8%, backpackers down 9.1%, holiday parks down 11.7%. Not exactly a windfall for accommodation providers, cafes and pubs is it? Each time council increases rates and put yet more financial impost on local business they stifle employment and opportunities for growth.

Start charging an entry fee to the settlers museum, look for ways to raise revenue, the rate payers of Dunedin cannot continue to support the endless incompetence of Dunedin's elected officials past and present.

I'm not sure I would want to build a 300 room Hotel with occupancy rates in Dunedin currently below 60% but that's another story. Good luck to them.

I love the attempt to condescend

Words like whinging, etc, the typical rhetoric used, when we are paying more and more for this money sucking black sheep, taking the rest of the city down. I guess I have to admire the gall of those who still take a bite at those opposing it, when it flies in the face of the facts now borne out. It’s not as if it’s done and dusted, the city’s finances are well reported of late to be in ruins. People usually do ‘whinge’ when they are having their money needlessly taken off them for no good projects, funny that. Who wouldn’t? I suspect it's anger, and well called for.  It's not exactly bus change we are paying for it, and many are struggling to make ends meet. 

Stadium whinging

I'll stop whinging about the stadium when I stop paying for it.

Political debate is not whinging

The stadium issue is still unfinished business. The city is seriously indebted and to a large extent because of the decision to build the stadium.

In this election year, a critical issue for voters is whether the DCC should spend more money to try to'make it work' (as the present Council has been doing) or whether that would just be throwing good money after bad and the city should as much as possible cut its losses.

I hope all candidates will make their position on this unequivocally clear.

Fair's fair

OK 'Highlander', I'll stop 'whinging' (as you describe it, with breathtaking originality) when you can demonstrate to me that some inroads are being made into the horrendous amount the city owes for your 'toy'. Proof that any attempt is being made, as opposed to doing nothing and artifically keeping rates down by further borrowing will be a start. 


Highlander: Remember that most in this city said no to the stadium. While a lot of those against it have now given up (after all the "Oh we have it now, let's make it work" brainwashing from council), the rest of us are still demanding some sort of accountability for something that should have never been allowed to happen in the first instance.

I dare say, with a name like yours, you were one of those all for it and are now hoping all will be forgiven/forgotten.

Newsflash for ya: It ain't gunna happen

And by the way, there is no money left for all the worthwhile causes you mention. Why do you think that is?

Consultancy House

Splendidly, it does.

Heritage skyscaper

This "warehouse precinct" you write of. Apart from it sounding like an NY police station, does this precinct contain Consultancy House, NZs first, er, skyscraper?

More borrowing?

I'm given to believe DCC and DCHL have reached the end of their ability to borrow by legitimate means. That we're now (as a council) in the position of dire straits. Could be wrong. And yet our mayor, as well as council staff, think it's alright to spend, for example, hundreds of thousands of dollars on amenity improvements in the so-called 'warehouse precinct'. The only useful thing happening in that quarter is the purchase of buildings by knowledgeable (private sector) people who have made it their admirable mission to strengthen buildings and re-tenant for enhanced returns, some with vital new industry and job creation involved. I'm not sure that requires the introduction of trees and 'gentrification' of the streets (or further out, removal of a section of the oneway system) but apparently, council has money to burn for the few not the many in this instance. Because it's election year? I'd rather people of this city remained querulous; that some inexperienced council staff (although with senior roles) were hung out to dry, or made the valiant attempt "going forward" to maintain professional independence from the political machine that is the mayoralty.

A deal

Mr Highlander: the problem is that there's unfinished business here. Firstly, the rugby community promised to raise $45m in 'private fundraising' to help pay for the rugby stadium, and they also promised to donate Carisbrook to the cause. So far they haven't raised one red cent of what they promised and they forced us to buy Carisbrook. The second problem is that the rugby stadium runs at an operating loss - the people who are using it are paying it are paying less than its ongoing running costs, which means that rugby ticket prices are being subsidised by rates. This has to stop.

So here's the deal: I'll stop complaining when rugby stops welching on its promises and raises its agreed share of the rugby stadium cost - and when rugby starts paying its way in the world and charges enough for its tickets to pay for the full costs of its use of its stadium. 

Worthwhile causes

"There are a lot of worthwhile causes that need to be addressed," says thehighlander, but at the same time he wishes "we could have a year where there was no whinging about the stadium."
Yet the two things are inextricably linked. The stadium is not the only mad-money blow-out that has left the city in debt up to its eyebrows, but it was the most obviously foolish from the get-go, and the one most certain to cost far more than the spinners of the project were prepared to say.
And now, thehighlander, why don't I give it a rest with the moaning about the stadium? Well, for one thing there is an election this year and one way to avoid further mistakes is by learning from past ones, and noting carefully the councillors who were most careless about loading us up with debt.
And another reason, getting round to the point about worthwhile causes - there are very few causes that do not need money. The council has got itself into a position where producing more money for causes, however good, is likely to mean borrowing at higher interest because we are already so deep in debt. [Abridged]

No more whinging

Would be great - so how do you propose to make the luxuries pay their way? Maybe all you luxury project supporters could pay more on your rates and cover the cost. That should stop the whinging.