Plans to build a new 25,000-seat stadium in the New Zealand city of Christchurch have been given a boost after the government approved NZ$220m (£108m/€123m/$138m) in funding from the Christchurch Regeneration Acceleration Fund (CRAF) for the project.

The overall cost of the project will be NZ$473m, with the council to contribute the remaining NZ$253m.

The development comes after Christchurch City Council last month announced that it is seeking directors for a new company which will oversee the development of the stadium. The council hopes to begin enabling works later this year, with construction to begin in 2021 ahead of completion by 2024.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said today (Monday) that the government’s decision to immediately release NZ$6m in funding for the stadium means the project can now move forward.

“It means we can push ahead with the detailed site investigation work and remove old underground services so that when the main works contractor is appointed, they can hit the ground running,” she said.

“Both the Crown and the council want this project to progress as quickly as possible. Our goal is to get construction under way next year so the arena can open in 2024, allowing Christchurch to reclaim its position as New Zealand’s sporting and cultural capital.”

The venue will be built on a Crown-owned block of land between Madras, Barbadoes, Hereford and Tuam streets. Both the Crown and the council have approved the investment case for the stadium.

The stadium’s capacity would be expandable to 36,000 for concerts with a standing arena. A further 5,000 temporary seats could be added in the future.

Image: Christchurch City Council