Canterbury districts wary of funding Christchurch's new stadium

Work is progressing on Te Kaha. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Work is progressing on Te Kaha. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger’s bid for funding assistance for the $683 million Te Kaha stadium may not be as easy to secure as he wants it to be.

Phil Mauger.
Phil Mauger.
Mauger has written to Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton, Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon and Environment Canterbury chair Peter Scott for help with operational funding, but not construction costs.

“The city council accepts that we decided to build the stadium and will fund its construction,” the letter says.

But Broughton, who has previously called for the discussion to be Canterbury-wide, reiterated that in a responding letter to Mauger.

“We believe this conversation about the operations of a regional facility needs to be with the whole region in the first instance, rather than just with Selwyn and Waimakariri.”

Mauger said Selwyn and Waimakariri were chosen because they are direct neighbours to Christchurch.

“Their level of interest will be crucial in any discussion, including any potential discussion at a regional level,” Mauger said.

“This is only a very early first step on formal discussions and does not preclude any other discussions.”

Mauger is yet to respond to Broughton’s letter.

No specific numbers are given in the letter, but 2019 estimates show without any contribution from surrounding councils, Christchurch ratepayers would be paying $144 on their rates each year.

Mauger is proposing a joint funding model similar to the one for the Canterbury Museum, which costs Selwyn ratepayers $37 on their rates bill annually.

Last year Mauger and city councillor Sam MacDonald suggested a levy could be placed on users of the stadium from outside of the city.

An artist's impression of the new stadium which is currently under construction. Photo: Te Kaha
An artist's impression of the new stadium which is currently under construction. Photo: Te Kaha
Broughton said he was open to receiving the conversational proposal, but has not committed to funding it.

“We do not have any funds currently set aside and have no plans in our future budgets to start contributing.”

He said any funding assistance would be consulted on with residents.

"Any future decision to contribute or not also needs to be put to the community through proper consultation to understand their desire and ability to pay.

"This has been my commitment to the Selwyn community which I have reinforced every time I have been asked about the topic,” Broughton said.

Mauger said Te Kaha is expected to open in mid-2026 and operational costs are forecast to start in the 2026-27 financial year.

A Waimakariri District Council spokesperson confirmed the letter had been received and the council would meet in the coming weeks to consider it.

"Currently, there is no funding put aside or anticipated in our Long Term Plan for this. Any potential contribution from Waimakariri District would need to be subject to full community consultation before any decision was made,” the spokesperson said.

Scott had also received Mauger’s letter and said ECan staff were currently considering it.

"We are waiting for staff advice to come through,” Scott said.

“We’re not quite sure they need us to be the mechanism to collect the rate. How far out does that push? Is it to Kaikoura, Waimate, Waitaki? We don’t know.”

Scott agreed with Broughton about having a regional discussion.

“I think he’s probably right, that’s a reasonable view on that. But what I would say also is where it’s happened in other areas it has been capital regionally rather than operating expenditure.”

At this stage, all Mauger said he is asking for is whether the councils will receive a funding proposal.

“This is not asking you to make a binding decision, only whether you would be willing to look at options further.”