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John Andrews, of Waipiata, pictures an alternative future for Dunedin.
Elton John officially reopens Carisbrook ... in a howling northerlygale. His toupee is blown off early in the concertIN 2007, the Dunedin City Council vote down a proposal to build a new stadium in North Dunedin, and instead decide to spend $30 million upgrading Carisbrook.
The Rugby World Cup is held in the revamped stadium in October 2011 to lukewarm reviews from local and international media.
Mike Tindall (the England captain) prematurely ends his tour after catching pneumonia in the England v Romania game.
He spends a week in Dunedin Hospital recuperating with Zara at his side and misses the England "team-building" weekend in Queenstown.
Elton John officially reopens Carisbrook in November 2011, in a howling northerly gale. His toupee is blown off early in the concert. He refuses to continue and leaves 15,000 cold and unhappy fans to find their way home.
Jamie Joseph decides against renewing his coaching contract with the Highlanders and is picked up by the Blues franchise for the 2012 season. The Blues make the playoffs in 2012. Adam Thompson decides to ply his trade with the Crusaders. Hosea Gear (who was rumoured to be interested in moving to the Highlanders) instead takes up a lucrative contract playing in Japan. Pat Lam is recruited to coach the Highlanders.
The retained Rose stand at Carisbrook is painted bright green to reflect the new Highlanders playing strip. The Highlanders struggle and finish 13th in the 2012 Super 15 season and dead last in 2013. Crowd attendance averages 5000.
The Otago Rugby Union goes into liquidation in early 2012, sounding the death knell of NPC rugby in Otago. The Highlanders franchise is lost to Napier and New Plymouth in 2015.
Dunedin and the wider Otago economy notice a significant drop in business over time. A proposed $100 million five-star hotel that was hoped to aid revitalisation of the Dunedin economy is reassessed and does not proceed. Parents in increasing numbers choose to encourage their children to attend university in alternative centres. By 2025, university enrolments have dropped 30% from their peak in 2011.
By 2030, Nelson overtakes Dunedin as New Zealand's 10th largest city.
The ever-shrinking number of Dunedin ratepayers are lumbered with paying increased rates to cover fixed costs.
Recently retired gentlemen are overheard in a Nelson bar reminiscing over their previous working lives in Dunedin.
"Didn't we do well to stop that ridiculous proposal for a covered stadium back in the day?"
"Sure did. Power of the pen is a wonderful thing"
"By the way, what did you do with the rates money we reckoned you would save over your lifetime as a result of them not building that White Elephant?"
"Put it towards a trip to Wagga Wagga. Me and the missus are heading there next month."
"Wagga Wagga? What's the attraction there?"
"All the kids and grandkids are there. Haven't seen them in years.They packed up and left Dunedin back in 2018. Lovely town, just no work and not much left there."
"Sad but true mate. Sad but true. Say, I see your glass is half empty mate"
"Always has been, mate. I prefer it that way."