Stadium funding could be included in Selwyn district's next Annual Plan

Te Kaha Canterbury Multi-Use Arena. Photo: CCC
Te Kaha Canterbury Multi-Use Arena. Photo: CCC
Selwyn’s next Annual Plan consultation could include funding the Christchurch stadium, Te Kaha, if and when the district council is asked to contribute.

The Annual Plan would be the mechanism for that process, Selwyn district councillors say.

Mayor Sam Broughton said Selwyn’s position remains “that we are open to considering any request for funding for the stadium, but no formal request has been received so far. Any contribution from Selwyn would have to be subject to consultation with our community – but this needs to be a Canterbury-wide conversation.”

The stadium has risen in cost by $150 million, from $533 million to $683 million, which the Christchurch District Council has voted to proceed with.

Asked when and how the district council might consider this funding, Broughton said “so far there has been no request for funding. Until that happens we can’t speculate on the timing and process for consultation.”

Deputy Mayor Malcolm Lyall said any funding would need to be put before the public in an Annual Plan process and have to be part of a Canterbury-wide consultation.

“The stadium proposal has come about from a funding agreement between the Crown and Christchurch City. It is only after the budget has blown out that it has been suggested that Selwyn should contribute.

“We have only 29,000 rateable properties, any funding decision needs to be made by the Canterbury region and would need to be put before the public for consultation in an annual plan process. The corporate entities that will benefit from the stadium should also be asked to contribute.”

Councillor Nicole Reid said she would have expected we would have been consulted with on the stadium before now if it was an intention of Christchurch City Council to request funding from Selwyn, as opposed to making a request after the final design and costings had been approved.

“We have already undertaken our Annual Plan budget for this financial year so if any stadium funding request is received from CCC, this would have to go through next year’s Annual Plan consultation with our community for the 2023/2024 financial year,” she said.

Councillor Mark Alexander said it was likely that the 2023/24 Annual Plan would include consultation on a stadium rate.

“My personal view doesn’t matter. It should be and will be ratepayers who decide,” he said.

Councillor Sophie McInnes said she was “not averse” to a conversation regarding operational funding for Te Kaha. “But any Selwyn contribution would need to be confirmed via a Long Term Plan consultation with district residents (or similar, if they choose to go with a regional rate via ECan). We’ve never received indicative costs however, so it would be ridiculous for anyone to say they’re in favour of adding an undisclosed sum to household rates forever.”

McInnes said she did not believe that the wider region should contribute to capital costs. “Because CCC have undertaken every stage alone so far – even the recent survey, which was open to all but contained no directly relevant information for those living beyond Christchurch. I know that this is because the project didn’t blow-out until recently, however, if CCC didn’t think they could cover the increased budget themselves, they shouldn’t have voted for it.”

Councillor Grant Miller said the council’s Long Term Plan already predicts average rate increases of 6 per cent per annum so any additional funding would increase the future burden on ratepayers. “Selwyn ratepayers are highly concerned about rating affordability and a compelling case would need to be made for the Selwyn District Council to consider using Selwyn ratepayer funding for this rather than upgrading road and other services in Selwyn,” he said.

Councillor Debra Hasson said any adjustment to council’s 10-year planning budget (LTP) could attract a rate increase. “Therefore, following a democratic process by submission it will be for our ratepayers to decide if Selwyn should contribute,” she said.

Ashburton District Council chief executive, Hamish Riach, said his council had not been approached to make a contribution to the stadium so it was not possible to comment about a contribution from Ashburton ratepayers. “As I understand it, the Christchurch City Council has agreed to sign a construction contract without asking for any contribution from Ashburton (or anyone else). If we do receive a request in the future, we would need to consider in light of our own budget planning processes, and critically that would involve consultation with our community,” Riach, a former chief of Canterbury Rugby, said.

Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon said if his council was asked, that would require community consultation.

In Hurunui, Mayor Marie Black said they were yet to hear from the city council about funding for a stadium so they haven’t yet discussed it around the council table.

Timaru Mayor Nigel Bowen has estimated 90 per cent of his ratepayers would be against a stadium contribution, likening it to Hamilton paying for a stadium in Auckland.

-By Tim Fulton


 

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