Stop the Stadium seeks court case funds

Stop The Stadium is attempting to raise $20,000 in donations for its High Court injunction hearing in Christchurch today - and may have to raise more funds if it loses.

STS president Bev Butler sent an email to the more than 1500 members of the incorporated society on Tuesday making an "urgent appeal" for money.

"We spent all our funds on the Town Hall meeting, and even though we raised a generous $4000 in donations there, we are left having to raise the rest of the $20,000 that the court case is going to cost," she said in the email.

She said that if every member gave $20, it would cover the costs, but "any amount, no matter how small", would help.

The injunction taken against the Dunedin City Council was a last-minute attempt to get councillors to take account of submissions made by ratepayers on the Long Term Council Community Plan before signing a construction contract.

However, the council voted 10-4 in favour of signing a contract with Hawkins Construction on Monday, pending the outcome of today's hearing.

A decision from the court is expected tomorrow.

Ms Butler, who is in Christchurch for the hearing, said the $20,000 was an estimate of what the group would need to pay its lawyers for the hearing.

If the group were to lose, it would need to rely on donations to pay the council's costs.

"We think we have a good case. We will see what happens," she said.

Last night, she was unsure of how much had been given, but said donations from both Stop The Stadium members and non-members had been received.

Ms Butler said there was no plan to dissolve Stop The Stadium in order to avoid paying for the council's costs, if it lost.

"It is not something I would be comfortable doing as president. And anyway, we want to continue our opposition. Even if we don't win, we will continue our opposition. This is not our last shot."

Asked what further action could be taken, the lawyer acting for the group, Hilary Calvert, said no decisions had been made, but stated that "councillors are obliged to make decisions which a reasonable person could make".

She would not be drawn on whether STS might consider actions against individual councillors.

A judge can ask a group to provide evidence of funds as security before a hearing.

A law expert, who did not wish to be named, said funds could also prove a group was serious about the case, and its chances of winning it, and not making an uninformed decision.

"It's very easy to make a lot of threatening noises, but you have got to put your money where your mouth is."


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