Q and A

Poll: 47% of Christchurch voters think $683m stadium value for money

September 11, 2022
A rendering of the planned new stadium in Christchurch, Te Kaha.

Just under half of eligible Christchurch City Council voters think spending $683 million on a multi-use arena is good value for their rates.

That's according to a Q+A Kantar Public Poll that surveyed 500 people.

Of that group, 47% said the state-of-the-art venue Te Kaha represented good value for ratepayer money, while 41% disagreed. Twelve per cent didn't know or refused to answer.

In July, Christchurch city councillors voted 13 to three to give the go-ahead to build Te Kaha - ending years of debate. On-site work to ready the land for the stadium's construction began soon after.

Q+A Kantar Public Poll for Christchurch, September 2022.

Among the city councillors that voted in favour is mayoral hopeful Phil Mauger, who is campaigning to keep rates increases to between 3-4% yearly. He also voted against the city council's long-term plan, which projected a 54% increase in rates over the next 10 years.

"I do not want Te Kaha - the stadium - to be a burden on our ratepayers. We can now go ahead with certainty to our neighbours," Mauger told Q+A in a debate against rival mayoral candidate David Meates.

Mauger said the entire region would benefit from Te Kaha, so Canterbury ratepayers needed to contribute to construction costs.

He said those costs would only be "a tiny bit, because there is a lot of people".

While neighbouring district councils didn't need to agree to help fund the stadium, some might be interested and "we need to go out and ask and push it forward", Mauger said.

He envisioned Te Kaha bringing a range of economic benefits to the region, including the likes of concerts and E-games tournaments.

READ MORE: Christchurch's next mayor: Poll shows big lead for Phil Mauger

Meanwhile, Meates advocated pausing stadium construction. He added that, as a son of former All Black Bill Meates, he was supportive of it.

"Why I'd suggested pausing is unless the council could come up with the certainty of what it was going to cost and deliverables, then they have no other choice but to pause.

"So, unless they give me those conditions, that was the rationale for that. It was never about not delivering the stadium.

"In fact, it beggars belief that conversations have only just started happening with neighbouring councils because this was always going to be a regional stadium."

When asked, Meates couldn't give a figure as to how much rates could rise yearly if he became mayor.

"Anyone that gives you an accurate figure on that is misleading given all of the pressures and impacts that are happening around the world."

He said the council needed to demonstrate to ratepayers it was getting bang for their buck.

The project has been plagued with problems since it was first proposed, including costing more than $150 million more than initially projected.

READ MORE: Fixed price negotiated for controversial Christchurch stadium

Recent consultation by the city council showed 77% of the almost 30,000 submitters supported the stadium's construction. That's despite an estimation that said an average ratepayer would have to fork out $144 a year between 2025 and 2027 to pay for it.

Te Kaha project delivery board chair Barry Bragg said in July a fixed price contract has been reached so ratepayers won't pay anything more. He also said there was sufficient contingency to cover any issues that might emerge during the build, but refused to say how much.

Te Kaha is expected to be completed by April 2026.


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