Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has said that a new 25,000-seat multi-purpose stadium in the New Zealand city will be a game-changer after the city council approved the investment case for the project earlier today (Thursday).

The covered stadium is the last of the anchor projects in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and will cost NZ$473m (£236m/€280m/$311m) to build. The council is putting NZ$253m towards the project and plans on beginning detailed design and enabling works next year ahead of the start of construction in 2021.

The Crown will contribute NZ$220m from the Christchurch Regeneration Acceleration Facility towards the costs – provided the investment case stacks up. The investment case will now be considered by Cabinet and this is expected to take place before Christmas.

“It’s a big step forward for the city,” Dalziel said. “The key now is to get the ball rolling and keep the momentum going without let up.

“Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand and the natural home in the South Island for major events, but at the moment we are missing out on those events because we don’t have an appropriate venue.

“We haven’t hosted an All Black Test since 2016 and large-scale non-sporting events only infrequently come to Christchurch. We have only managed to attract three large-scale concerts to Christchurch since 2015 – Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen and the Foo Fighters.

“If we want to regularly have these large-scale events in our city – and the visitors and economic benefits that come with them – we need to have an all-weather multi-use arena.”

Investment in the stadium has received the support of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce (CECC), ChristchurchNZ, the Crusaders, the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, Vbase, Sport Canterbury and the Property Council.

The venue would be able to seat up to 36,000 people for concerts with a standing area, with the potential for another 5,000 temporary seats to be added.

Dalziel added: “We will be appointing a fully independent and experienced group of people to lead the delivery of the arena. This will ensure that we have the expertise in place to keep the project on budget and on time.

“I am confident that we will attract more private investment. We need to honour the promise that was made to those who have already invested in the central city.”

Image: Christchurch City Council