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No matter the optimistic words from Dunedin about Forsyth Barr Stadium, any Christchurch facility threatens big events like those Dunedin has hosted plenty of during the past 10 years — tier-one rugby tests and big music concerts.
The latest news from Christchurch is that the preliminary detailed designs to be drawn up will reduce the capacity from the proposed 30,000 seats to 25,000 seats.
While this is helpful for Dunedin, the effect should not be overstated.
Christchurch still hopes to find savings to put in another 2500 seats, and there are plans to seek money from neighbouring local district councils and the Canterbury Regional Council.
A petition to keep to earlier capacity is gathering thousands of signatures.
It has been said that up to 36,000 spectators could still enter the stadium for concerts because of a concrete slab at the southern end of the pitch. The extra 2500 seats could go there.
As well, Christchurch itself has several inherent advantages over Dunedin.
Christchurch and environs have a population at least three times that of greater Dunedin. It has far more wealth and far more business and potential backing and sponsorship.
It has far, far more flights from Wellington and Auckland and other centres, and far more accommodation.
Logistically, the biggest rugby games and the big concerts can be run more easily and perhaps, crucially, with better financial returns from Christchurch. Higher prices could well be charged for tickets.
At least Dunedin — with its 30,000 capacity when the scaffolding goes up for the Otago Daily Times Stand at the eastern end of the ground — will still be in the game.
Cricket knows what it is like when Christchurch is presented with the shiny new ball.
Since the first test over was bowled at the current Hagley Oval in 2014, the ground has hosted eight cricket tests.
The University Oval, despite its attractions and improved pitch, has hosted just two, the last in the 2016-17 season.
The soaring price of steel and increased shipping costs are blamed for an estimated Christchurch price overrun of $130million, pushing the 30,000-seat estimate out to about $600million.
It is recognised that, apart from a Super Rugby final and test rugby, the 25,000 would be sufficient.
Even the Crusaders chief executive said the recommended design, which includes a sophisticated concourse, struck a good balance between amenities, quality and cost-effectiveness.
The franchise is sick of its makeshift Addington ground and desperate for progress.
Nonetheless, there still should be doubts whether a second indoor stadium is justifiable for a population as small as that of the South Island.
And the costs in Christchurch are huge when so many other needs remain unmet.
The South is justifiably miffed that the Government came up with only $15 million for Dunedin but has found $220 million for Christchurch.
That second figure would have just about paid for the full Dunedin stadium, based on the prices in about 2010 and the competitive contracts then secured.
Politics dictates no help from National. There are far more voters in Christchurch, and National’s Gerry Brownlee even now claims the 25,000 is ridiculously small.
Dunedin Venues boss Terry Davies has in the past talked up the prospects of Dunedin, vis-a-vis a new northern stadium. That is what you would expect, no matter the actual challenge.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins, too, praised Dunedin’s indoor stadium after the latest news from Christchurch.
That was not just because of the building and the turf, but also the way the entire city got behind big events, he said.
He and predecessor Dave Cull might not always have been stadium supporters. But once the stadium was built, most people have recognised the best course is to make the best of it.
That is what should have, and has, happened.