Stadium funding U-turn from mayor

NO GO: Selwyn mayor Sam Broughton believes Christchurch City Council and central Government has missed an opportunity to get funding from the district.

A Canterbury mayor has changed his tune over ratepayers funding a new multi-use stadium in Christchurch.

Last year, Selwyn District Mayor Sam Broughton said the district should help fund the stadium, which is expected to cost between $384 million and $561 million.

But he now says Selwyn ratepayers should not contribute. Mr Broughton told The Star this week the city council “missed an opportunity” when it approved $253 million for the project in September.

The balance of the money will be from the Government.

Mr Broughton said if the city council wants help from Selwyn and other councils in the region that would have been the time to raise it.

Mr Broughton revealed his U-turn on funding the stadium after he was put on the spot about the topic last week.

He was asked by city councillor Yani Johanson about the issue at an Annual Plan submission in Christchurch.

Cr Johanson asked if both councils should work together on the proposed stadium.

“So you’re happy for us [Christchurch] to pay for the whole stadium?” Cr Johanson asked.

In response, Mr Broughton said he could not answer the question as the district hasn’t been asked to pay.

He clarified his position to The Star on Monday.

“At the moment Christchurch and the [central] Government can pay for what they are wanting to build, so there’s no need for extra discussion.”

Mr Broughton said his viewpoint was based on discussions with ratepayers and believing that some things could be done better together as a region.

The Selwyn District Council has no plans to discuss a contribution as it has not been asked for funding.

In response to Mr Broughton’s comments to The Star, Cr Johanson said he understood from city council staff that until an investment case is finished, the city council would not know what size or type of stadium will be the best to build.

Once that work is completed, the city council would talk to the other neighbouring councils, Cr Johanson said.

“I welcome that [working collaboratively] also in regards to the multi-use arena as per the current process through the Mayoral Forum and the stakeholder workshops which Mr Broughton participates in,” Cr Johanson said.

The Star spoke to other districts after Mr Broughton’s comments.

Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers said his council hasn’t been approached about the stadium.

“He said the district council is ‘not interested’ in approaches unless other councils from the region are involved, he said.

“The discussion needed to be Canterbury-wide, Mr Ayers said.

“It’s not just a matter for Waimakariri and Selwyn.”

Hurunui District Council has not been approached to discuss the stadium either.

Its Mayor Winton Dalley said in response to Mr Broughton that his council is already “well advanced” in its Annual Plan process.

“It is unlikely that a request [towards the stadium] would be accepted at this stage, and it is not included in our Long Term Plan. In addition, this would be an issue of significance and would need full public consultation,” Mr Dalley said.

Both Mr Broughton and Mr Ayers said Environment Canterbury was the only local body that could set a regional rate to fund the stadium.

But ECan has previously stated it did not include the stadium in its 2018-2028 Long Term Plan as it was never asked for funding by the city council and central Government. Its next Long Term Plan review is in 2021.