The decade-long debate over whether Christchurch’s Te Kaha stadium goes ahead is now over, but a fight over how to pay for it is just beginning.
After nearly six hours of discussion on Thursday – and listening to Hospitality New Zealand spokesman Peter Morrison courageously sing “Imagine there’s a stadium” to ram home his view – city councillors voted 13-3 to push on with the hotly-debated project.
The budget for the multipurpose, covered stadium will now increase by $150 million. It is set to open in April 2026.
Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said he was “absolutely stoked” and on the verge of tears after the decision.
Tears of joy that the ratepayers are paying for a stadium, rather than his hugely profitable franchise.
The decision means the stadium budget has jumped from $533m to $683m and the difference will be funded through borrowing, which will take the city closer to its debt limits.
Paying back the debt will also sting Christchurch residents in their rates for 30 years to come.
The cost represents $5,000 per household in Christchurch.