New Zealand’s proposed stadium in Christchurch will receive an additional NZ$120m (£70m/€75m/$85m) from the governing National Party as it falls behind on funding.
The city council budgeted NZ$253m to complete the multi-use arena, but has reached a NZ$243m shortfall, which would be reduced to NZ$123m with the government’s promised contribution.
Residents will therefore be subject to a NZ$120 increase in rates per year, which would go up over the spending period from 2023 to 2026.
The council’s customer and community general manager, Mary Richardson, said: “By 2026 the increase for the average residential ratepayer will be $120 to fund the stadium.
“This additional annual cost to ratepayers will continue beyond 2026, but decline over time as debt is repaid, in line with the council’s 30-year debt repayment policy,”
The council’s long-term plan had already budgeted the $253m contribution, and therefore distributed adequate funding to meet its 50 per cent share of the stadium under the cost-sharing agreement with the Crown.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has previously said the council would try to move up its plan, which was scheduled to begin in 2023, so that it could start construction prior to 2022.
Prime Minister Bill English said that the funding from the government would give the project some certainty. English also said that he preferred the NZ$496m roofed arena option in a report, but the party’s input would only be enough for an open and much cheaper stadium.
A pre-feasibility study that was released this week by the Christchurch Stadium Trust recommended a NZ$496m multi-use arena with a full roof and a retractable playing field. It saw little opportunity for private funding for the project.
Meanwhile Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said she expected other parties “would also consider the needs of the city and the region in this regard.
“It does still leave a considerable shortfall, but the offer could flush out whether there is private sector interest,” she said.
Image: Christchurch Stadium Trust