Why Another Big Stadium For Christchurch Is A Stupid Idea

I have held off on having a go at the utterly ridiculous big spending plans of the Christchurch City / Government boondoggle alliance.

I have also held off on smashing the insanity of the compulsory purchase program and trying to turn the Christchurch CBD into some centrally planned nirvana that will offset the capital flight that has occurred.

But I can’t hold off on criticising the absolutely insane, stupid, uneconomical, money-losing proposition that is a $506 million dollar covered stadium that “may still be on the cards” according to the NBR.

If the government contribution to a new (uncovered, $253 million) stadium really is $37 million dollars, where the hell is the discussion of the tens of millions of dollars they threw into the bottomless money pit that was the AMI stadium Deans Stand? You know, the stadium that has to be destroyed completely because it got written off after two earthquakes?

You can’t recover sunk costs of stupid sports-related ventures that have costs shifted away from those who benefit (which is only those who like sports aka not the majority of the population) towards helpless ratepayers and taxpayers who already are suffering from insurers, EQC, contractors and the government.

If you’re a stadium supporter, have you looked at the literature? The NZ economics blogosphere has done a hell of a lot of work exposing the nonsense around the economics of stadiums.

Eric Crampton has a whole category devoted to stadiums:
http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/stadiums

Sam Richardson has a goldmine of information:
http://fairplayandforwardpasses.blogspot.co.nz/

As an aside, we really shouldn’t be surprised that such a rugby related boondoggle is on offer. There are strong links between rugby officials and the government. The NZRU is on the same level as Federated Farmers in terms of ability to extract rents from government and councils around New Zealand.

Here’s a suggestion for the government and Christchurch City Council – how about you fix all of your infrastructure and rebuild problems first before throwing money down the drain on an expensive capital project that will lose money hand-over-fist for decades.

Here is a bone I’m throwing to an intrepid New Zealand journalist “trained and skilled” – do your job, instead of relying on the blogosphere for tips, and dig into how much money Christchurch has spent on stadium related projects over the past 20-30 years including the accumulated losses at Vbase etc before it got rolled into council. That’d be some good journalism right there. Get to it.