Will Selwyn ratepayers contribute to the Christchurch stadium - and how much could it cost?

The planned Christchurch multi use arena. Image: Supplied
The planned Christchurch multi use arena. Image: Supplied
Selwyn residents may get the final say on whether they contribute to Christchurch’s ballooning stadium cost.

Christchurch City Council is likely to go cap in hand to residents in the Selwyn and Waimakariiri districts later this year for help funding the stadium, Te Kaha.

Facing enormous pressure from escalating material prices, the project's $533 million budget may blowout by tens of millions of dollars.

It comes when Selwyn’s rates are about to rise by an average of 6 per cent on July 1, larger than the expected 4.9 per cent, caused mostly by inflation and a growing population.

Sam Broughton.
Sam Broughton.
Selwyn Times asked Mayor Sam Broughton and district councillors this week what their stance would be if the city council comes calling.

Five councillors did not respond – Malcolm Lyall, Bob Mugford, Nicole Reid, Murray Lemon and Jenny Gallagher.

Councillor Sophie McInnes (Selwyn Central Ward) said if the city council asked each household to contribute $50 per year, that would be an additional 1 to 1.5 per cent increase in rates for most. At the same time, the city council could ask for less.

She referred to a news article that suggested the cost of the extra 5000 seats alone, confirmed last year, would add more than $10 per year to the rates bill of an average value house in the city.

“The question requires a well-informed public consultation, not just: ‘Regional rate: Yes or no?’,” she said.

“The question of regional rates should have been properly discussed early on, and if agreed, the surrounding districts would have been involved from the start - that way we’d all have some input and accountability,” McInnes said.

Councillor Shane Epiha (Ellesmere Ward) agreed discussions should have happened at the start.

He said the rise in the cost of living was having a huge impact on rural communities, who were struggling to even get to their local facilities which they already paid for.

“Highly likely to rank low in priorities when rates across the board are increasing,” Epiha said.

Councillor Grant Miller (Springs Ward) said Environment Canterbury would be the best place to rate the project from, as it covers the whole region.

If Selwyn was asked directly, ratepayers would have to weigh up what priority they gave the project compared to projects in their district, such as improving roads and new aquatic centres at Lincoln, Darfield and Leeston.

Jeff Bland.
Jeff Bland.
However, councillor Jeff Bland (Selwyn Central Ward) said he was open to the idea of ratepayers paying something towards the cost, similar to how they currently did for the Canterbury Museum.

“I have no problem with this (as) the museum exists for all of us. The stadium will be used by all of us, not just Christchurch city residents,” Bland said.

Councillors Mark Alexander and Debra Hasson echoed Broughton’s sentiments, saying the community would be consulted.

​​​​Said Broughton: “We haven’t been asked to help fund the arena or its running costs. If we were asked, the Selwyn community would have a big part in deciding whether we would contribute towards the project."

Community leaders on stadium funding
Selwyn ratepayers should contribute to the Christchurch central city stadium, say two Selwyn community leaders.

Malvern Community Board chair John Morten said the stadium would benefit the whole of Canterbury.

“It will bring in events, it will bring in everything,” Morten said.

“Similar to Canterbury Museum, why should not the whole of Canterbury make a contribution to it.”

Rolleston Residents Association acting chair Jens Christensen agreed.

“We are all cogs in the same wheel. In some ways, the stadium is just one of those district facilities, in my personal view, which should be district funded.”

Christensen and Morten said ratepayers would have appreciated the Christchurch City Council broaching the subject right a the start of the project’s planning stage.

“It brasses me off,” Christensen said.

“Why didn’t you come to us earlier? We could’ve been part of the design, part of the fundraising.”

A large stadium such as Te Kaha would benefit the whole region, bringing sporting matches and international concerts, he said.