Dave Armstrong: Does Wellington really need a 10,000-seat indoor arena?

Have we the population to really sustain a new indoor arena?
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Have we the population to really sustain a new indoor arena?

OPINION: Does Wellington need a new 10,000-seat sport and concert arena? Is it a much-need facility or a boondoggle?

Wreda (the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency) will lead an investigation. Let's hope it asks some hard questions. Here are some starters for 10.

If a 10,000-seat arena is economically viable, why have private concert promoters not banded together to build one?

How many events does Wellington REALLY miss out on a year because we don't have a 10,000-seat indoor venue? About 10 – as former mayor Kerry Prendergast estimates?

READ MORE:
Vision for new indoor arena revealed as mayors push ahead with plan
Wellington region looks set to get 10,000-seater indoor arena
Ed Sheeran's promoter: Why we're not going to Wellington and Christchurch
Wellington promoter warns proposed indoor stadium could be a white
elephant

During the mayoral election campaign the only candidate to seriously talk about a 10,000-seat stadium was Jo Coughlan. She came third. Why the sudden interest?

Was it because Ed Sheeran recently said he wouldn't come here because there was no venue?

People joke that it would be cheaper to fly Wellingtonians free to concerts in Sydney than build a new arena. What if this was actually true?

If Robbie Williams plays in both Auckland and Dunedin, how many people will he attract from out-of-town if he plays in Wellington?

Your regional council rates have been paying off the Westpac Stadium. Now that loan is repaid, is the GWRC (Greater Wellington Regional Council) keen to keep the levy in place to pay for an arena rather than reduce rates?

Why has the Wellington City Council (WCC) not paid its ($15 million) debt on the  stadium, and is still paying quite hefty interest on it?

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With its many corporate welfare – I mean tourism – projects, WCC seems keen to take on more debt. Do you think interest rates will rise or fall over the next 5-10 years?

Auckland has about 1.5 million people and a 12-000 seat arena. We have roughly a third of that population. Can we really sustain it?

Can we be sure that the new arena's acoustics will not be as appalling as the TSB's?

Were the people advocating putting the new arena on land near the CentrePort buildings that were munted by the Kaikoura earthquake really serious?

Will the food and drink in the new arena be as delicious and as reasonably priced as that at the stadium?

Have you ever heard a Wellingtonian say "if there were bars and restaurants by the industrial area near the stadium, I'd go there even when there wasn't a concert or game on"?

Is there any venue in the world that works equally well for both concerts and sports?

If the 10,000-seat arena gets built, will local politicians start advocating for a smaller sports venue so the Phoenix/Pulse/Saints/Firebirds/Lions don't feel they are playing in an empty stadium?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to turn the Basin into a 10,000-seat sports venue?

If we become a "Melbourne-like" sports mecca, won't that irritate Shelly Bay residents living in the "Sausalito of the South" and Island Bay cyclists living in "New Zealand's Copenhagen". 

How many tourists will a new arena attract to Upper Hutt or Porirua? Surely the only real local economic benefits will be to hotels and some bars and restaurants in the CBD?

Even if the arena does attract tourists, do we have the hotel beds to cope? Will tourist operators ask the council to fund new hotels as well?

If the arena is by the stadium, surely most local punters will take the train home and not go into town, as happens now after most Westpac Stadium events?

Our mayor suggests a 10,000-seat arena enhances our place as a cultural capital. Will it really help the local arts scene, where most arts events attract between 25 and 250 punters?

Is it true that the report into Wreda's investigation will be entitled "Come on, guys, don't be negative, it's gonna be great!"

Will the new arena cannibalise existing venues like the 5000-seat TSB Bank Arena, creating a false economic "benefit"?

If the TSB arena becomes even more of a white elephant would the council consider allowing ratepayers like me to personally take part in its demolition?

Could a new arena make the roof-less Cake Tin an expensive-to-maintain dinosaur?

If the "$100 million" Film Museum and Convention Centre could now cost over $150 million, what could a "$130 million-$180 million" arena end up costing?

 - Stuff

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