Vandervis, Farry clash over donation query

Personality clashes and allegations of "libellous emails", sparked by the latest report on the Forsyth Barr Stadium, marked a Dunedin City Council committee meeting yesterday.

The report, from the Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST) and the project delivery team, led to a variety of discussions about the controversial project.

The report, which is given to each finance, strategy and development committee meeting, was presented by CST chairman Malcolm Farry, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) chief executive David Davies and DVML commercial manager Guy Hedderwick.

Cr Lee Vandervis asked Mr Farry about a $1 million donation he said Mr Farry had spoken of in the past.

Mr Farry responded he had "seen some of your libellous emails".

When the meeting calmed down, he said the answer depended on the definition of a donation.

He knew of two parties who had given $1 million each, but did not consider those donations.

Others had bought suites at the stadium and considered paying for them was a donation.

The private-sector funding figure approaching $40 million was "absolutely astonishing" he said.

"Call it what you like. We needed money; we have the money in our pocket. What more do you want?"

Both Mr Farry and Mr Davies said the project was on time for the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Mr Davies was asked by Cr Colin Weatherall about the catering and kitchen contract, after recent news there had been differences of opinion over space for the provision of those facilities.

Mr Davies said a "meeting of minds" would occur in Auckland soon to discuss the matter, and he hoped to have a contract signed with a preferred candidate by the end of this month.

Cr Vandervis asked if people who had bought suites and other ticketing packages would automatically be able to attend concerts such as the planned Elton John concert later this year.

Mr Davies told him those people had entry to see the Highlanders and other local rugby, but had to pay for concerts.

They had first option on tickets for such concerts, but if they did not use them, they would be approached to arrange the suite to be on-sold to others for the event.

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