PM's offer has stadium in go mode

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 28/05/2014

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Stadium Southland bosses are frantically preparing to rattle tins before the general election to ensure the prime minister does not leave them "high and dry".

The trust wants the stadium to be debt-free by 2018 but has calculated it still needs $5 million.

At the stadium opening, Prime Minister John Key said if "local tins" were rattled, the Government would be prepared to contribute. The tin-rattling was started by the Community Trust of Southland, which granted a further $1m to the stadium rebuild.

Community trust chairman Tracy Hicks said half would be paid in 2016 and half in 2017 after some major capital commitments were settled.

The trust has already paid $2m to the rebuild.

Funding the stadium had been discussed for some time and the decision was not made lightly, he said.

"All things considered, the stadium is of such significance to the community, we wanted to help. We think we have done our bit, now it's time to rattle the tins," he said.

ILT Stadium Southland Trust deputy chairman Alan Dennis said his trust was impressed with the generosity of the community trust.

He would head a stadium trust meeting tomorrow morning to "iron out the details" of a community coffer campaign.

The trust would not ask ratepayers for more cash but instead would seek out businesses and people who did not have the opportunity to donate, he said.

Dennis was keen to get the campaign started and raise funds before Parliament wrapped up in July and the elections were under way.

"I would like to see it completed in the next four weeks."

He hoped Key would not go back on his word and wanted to give him plenty of time to make a decision.

If the National Party was not returned to government, the stadium would then be left "high and dry," he said.

A spokesman for Finance Minister Bill English said no final decision had been made about when the Government would contribute funds.

Meanwhile, Dennis excepted its insurance company (NZI) would make "a small" payment next week. He would not disclose how much the payment would be.

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- The Southland Times

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