- Date published:
7:37 am, July 31st, 2012 - 80 comments
Categories: disaster - Tags: christchurch rebuilding
What is it with this government and convention centres? The international convention market is dying. The Nats are already doing a bargain with the cancer in the heart of Auckland called SkyCity to build one there that won’t be worth its cost to build. Now, they want to build another convention centre in Christchurch to compete for that dying market. It’s just one thing that’s wrong with Gerrymania.
There’s the mad $500m covered stadium. Christchurch has just built a $30m stadium (that was meant cost $20m). They can’t fill it – a quarter-final home game for the Crusaders had 5,000 of the 21,000 seats empty. So why build a 35,000 seat stadium for $500m (before inevitable cost blow-outs)? Stadiums lose money. Big expensive, unneeded stadiums lose lots of money. Just ask Dunedin.
You could build 2,000 homes or more on existing land for the cost this silly stadium.
Then, there’s the transport plan. Or, rather, the lack of one. The only gesture towards transport is replacing the destroyed bus interchange with a new, bigger one that – while hopefully having the advantage that buses going in won’t have to try to cross buses going out on a busy road – while actually be further from the new CBD. The opportunity to remake a truly modern city with smart transport was missed. Sure, it’s pretty and compact and merely being built of modern materials with modern design practices will make it better to live in but if you more or less ignore how people will move in or out of it, then you miss the crucial ingredient in making it really liveable.
The ‘frame’, the green space is nice but lets be honest about its purpose. The Christchurch CBD already had too much retail space before the earthquakes. With 10% of the population gone, the CBD doesn’t need to be rebuilt as big. That should mean big reductions in the value of the land (which could, in turn, lead to building of apartments and low rise retail, creating a vibrant environment). Instead, the taxpayer is going to buy out all the surplus land at present value – protecting the value for both the landlords who get bought out and those who remain. And the only one who pays is the taxpayer. Funny that nothing so generous was done for red-zoners. I guess that’s because they’re not Gerry’s corporate mates.
I also thought the glitzy launch full of boozing bigwigs was completely inappropriate. They were acting like they had solved Christchurch when there is no plan for the future of the suburbs and even the CBD plan has no work programme behind it. It stank of elitism. For the first time ever, I’m recommending watching Close Up for Mike Coleman’s comments to Sainsbury on the rebuild plan. He is utterly scathing. The strongest language I’ve ever heard from a man of the cloth: “All Gerry Brownlee does is deny there’s a housing crisis, an insurance crisis, there’s an EQC crisis, that there’s real estate problems. There seems to be no disaster at all, apart from the things that he wants to see. And that’s champagne in settings like this, at big functions like this.
And here is a print report for the CloseUp segment on the ChCh plan:
Housing needs of residents being neglected? Never fear. Gerry says it’s just a plan and not to be alarmed by that protest. “Alarm” is not my response.
Gerry understands how the protesters feel? Really? Too much champers talking there, Gerry!
This article in the ODT during their stadium debate sums up the study
There is also plenty of evidence that jobs in convention centres actually cost the economy as the gross earnings per employee are too low – it is peasant wages. Stadiums are just vast loss making anachronisms. This country has invested more than $2Bn in stadiums in the past five years – what is the return on that investment – If Dunedin’s stadium is anything to go by it wil be about -15% once cost of capital and depreciation are added in.
Meantime we send our skilled work offshore -no money to support the Hillside Workshops building railway stock instead it is happy to subsidises Chinese manufacturers.
And watch what happens to the Tiwai when they decide to close that -there wont be any “subsidy” for that enterprise even though it earns billions for the national economy. Nothing!
It seems National has no problem subsidising the consumption side of the economy but won’t provide any support for the productive side.
Seems that this government is quite happy to subsidise Tiwai.
That is a different rort again DTB
Not so much a subsidy to Tiwai but to JK’s mates who are playing that particular market -Tiwai is probably only a coincidental beneficiary.
The Whole ETS is another exercise in delusional faith in the market place to solve a problem that only courageous government can address.
Fisher and paykel would have been still here with real jobs. If Dunedin hadn’t been sucked in by the minority.
Whats mentioned in the footnotes is the big ‘buyback’ of private land to create a ‘green wedge’.
In reality this is to boost the coffers of property owners as there is a ‘glut’ of vacant commercial land. I can imagine a few extra small parks on the scale of existing Latimer square would be helpful but this excess of green space at vast cost- which is hidden from prying eyes for the meantime
I imagine this too will be the club this used to force the council to sell up its assets so they can pay for the property owners bailout.
First the insurance company bailouts and now the commercial property owners as well. Crony Capitalism 301
And yet there are a lot of smaller property owners who have only now just found out that their single commercial properties, many of which have heritage value, are right where Gerry et al want to put their stadium and are not very happy about it.
Isn’t most of the land for the proposed stadium owned by Dave Henderson, the mayor’s mate? I heard last night mention of putting money into ‘Soul Square’, Henderson’s High St development, as well. I haven’t kept up with the saga of how the council bought a whole lot properties off him at ridiculous money a few years ago, but this sounds like more of the same.
He may have owned a substantial amount of it, but his holdings are mostly Council owned now. I’m talking about much smaller businesses and owners.
Convention centers appear to have replaced cycle ways as National’s go-to ‘big idea’. They’re so visionless, so one-track that it is sad. And dangerous. Wait till mid-2013 when the economy has tanked and Gerry starts pulling out parts of this plan. Christchurch, you’re stuffed. It’s a tragedy.
Its the new Facadism – mixed up with the edifice du-jour
Having slept on it my initial reaction remains, plus others …
1. The plan is simply too big. Too much buy-up taking 5 years to negotiate alone. (so there we go folks, gotta wait 5 years to get this mildly underway). Timeframes too long meaning an incoming government or council or world event will scuipper the plans. It is just too much for a govt bureaucracy to undertake.
2. Relying on a government and/or council approach. Ha. I try not to be scathing about the limits to govt and council acilities these days but frankly I cannot see organisations like these completing this. There is no incentive. Wage and salary earners rarely act with the same accuracy and determination as private owners. Christchurch city council has already shown its uselessness at this with the Turners & Growers site, the Sydenham square site and other David Henderson pruchases. Any privtae investors wanting to develop around these projects is going to want to see action in the ground by government etc to be certain about their promises and abilities before turning the soil themselves.
3. The bloody gigantic convention centre is right smack bang in the middle of the best part of town. No locals will go there, just convention goers and tourists, and that don’t sound like a vibrant city to me. Quite why it gets that importance lordy knows.
4. The bloody stadium will never see the light of day. The ratepayers will see to that. What a gross overspend and subsidy to private business interests. What is it that rugby does not get about paying its own way?
5. The point about buying up land to shore up property vaules is smack on the mark. Property values were set to drop off a clif reflecting the lack of demand and oversupply. Now the tax and rate payer are going to shore up these values.
6. Notice the lack of residential? One tiny block of showcase housing. Say no more.
7. Notice too that the Avon River Park is to be funded by “philanthropists”. Every other sector gets CCC and govt and other help, but not the one thing that local residents want. Say no more.
As someone who has been heavily involved in central Chch for many years and is trying to do so again, I think they have taken a wrong track. Too big. Too much uncertainty. Timeframes which are too long. I, and I suspect many others, will watch from the sidelines to see whether they can do what they say (rare) before commiting my own valuable years to their grandiose schemes.
The original Council plan was a great deal better for all the reasons outlined above, applied in reverse.
Oh well. Maybe we too will move elsewhere until all this gets underway ……
I suspect it’s all cover for the real plan, which is to remodel Christchurch city centre after Manukau: a big Westfield with associated car parking, council offices and a police station/court complex to deal with the underclass.
Yep those big malls are a disaster for a city centre, they suck all of the foot traffic off the main street causing small operators who can’t afford the rent in the mall to die off as walk in’s plumit then before you know it the main street is just a collection of empty shops, dodgy lenders and takeaways.
All the nicer cities/towns to visit are ones that still have vibrant main streets with a mix of chain stores and locally operated shops, cafes etc…. Napier is one of my favorites…
What the fuck? Sure, accept some donations, but that green space is worth it’s weight in gold for it’s urban planning advantages.
And yeah, I agree with you fully, this is a fucking disaster for Christchurch.
Bollocks. If wage and salary earners aren’t acting responsibly it’s probably due to the business owners cutting corners and preventing them from doing so.
Well we will have to disagree there Draco. Although bear in mind that acting responsibly is different from acting with accuracy and determination. My point is that an owner works and acts in a different manner than an employee. Their end goals are entirely different so it stands to reason that they will act in different manners. That is not to bag on employees, merely to state that expecting employees (of government and Council in this instance) to act in the manner required to get this central city plan going is expecting the wrong thing.
VTO have you forgotten that other national mantra? Public Private Partnerships. A way to billed a city for years and years to come. Don’t forget a quote of Gerrys a few months ago, when he said no we won’t be selling assets in CHch, it will be “a much more elegant solution”. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Yes Glg, public private partnerships … what that says to me is an opportunity to get something done with more guarantee of income and less carry of risk. Think I might have to don a suit and tie and go enter the Bob and Gerry circus tent …….
The private sector will get ‘bonus shares’ in the Council controlled business in return for selling big bits of vacant land
And kiss some butt. A small donation to the cause wouldn’t be forgotten either.
This is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Centralised control of business, whereas the needs of the people (such as housing) is left to the market…and the public gobble it up like hungry pornstars.
This is not set up for the people, this city plan is for capitalist accumulation for the few based on business and sport. If this plan was for the people then this plan wouldn’t exist, housing would be the priority.
This vomit inducing video is offensive to anyone with a brain http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10823289
Yep, more economic theft from the many by the rich. Exactly as predicted.
From paper “Post-disaster Housing Reconstruction: Are there common threads in the successes and failures that New Zealand can learn from?” currently in peer-review. Following are the costs per taxpayer compared with other extreme natural disasters in other OECD countries, column 5 is per homeowner/ratepayer. Why are we the only country that punishes local residents for having built in the wrong place?
(per registered taxpayer)
1 – Economic Cost
2 – Private Property Damage
3 – Emergency, welfare, housing assistance
4 – Infra-structure repairs (taxpayer)
5 – Infra-structure repairs (ratepayer)
6 – Nett Central Government Expenditure
Christchurch 10500 6667 1600 633 6810 388
Japan Tsunami 6686 4011 1203 998 485 1917
Kobe 2769 886 499 409 783 811
Italy (1980) 1531 918 1148 149 620 1265
Katrina 965 386 434 165 616 599
Andrew 819 574 410 62 320 472
Northridge 418 167 146 40 392 186
column 1 – NZ = property damage $20bn + sundry insurance costs $5bn + infrastructure damage $3bn + CERF (nett) $3.5bn as estimated by Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Bollard & Hannah, 2012).
column 1 – The contribution from re-insurers ($3700 per taxpayer) is included as part of the economic cost, however the New Zealand Treasury considers that amount to be a benefit to the New Zealand economy.
column 2 – This cost is actually funded from property owners savings and insurance but is shown as a per taxpayer amount for comparative purposes.
column 4 – Central Government share of infrastructure repair costs.
column 5 – Local government share of infrastructure repair costs.
column 6 – Total spending by central government less GST collected on disaster spending, reprioritised Government spending within the disaster region and petrol taxes collected within the disaster region during the rebuild .
The bus station is for the tourists and the convention centre and stadium for crowd control – remember New Oleans.
Actually the bus station is probably for people who take the bus. Jus’ sayin’
or should that be for social control Dave
the stadium will never be completed.
The land will be paid for, the building started and then it’ll be left as an uncompleted shell at some point as people realise that there’s more important things than watching rugby and idolising the rich.
I hope you get sufficient comfort out of you amazing arrogance and snobbery. God forbid people liking things that you don’t – where will it end?!?!
Got nothing to do with liking but to do with economics. When people realise that the stadium can’t be built without cutting out something they think is more important then it won’t get built.
If New Zealand is to have an international convention centre at all, it should be somewhere people would actually want to visit anyway, like Queenstown. However, while I don’t think the international convention market will ever die completely, it is definitely shrinking and convention centres are a stupid investment. We can’t get around the fact that it is long, expensive trip to visit New Zealand.
Conventions create temporary, part-time, low paid work which perpetuates poverty and increases inequality. They are part of the problem, not the solution
The Convention Centre can have some Pokies in it make a profit like Sky City.
The Convention Centre plans can be razed to the ground, which will make the country a lot of money.
The original council plan was so much smarter, mixing residential, retail, commercial, green areas and transport in a way that could have made the central city very liveable, rather than this stale, half-life of a central city that’s for merely visiting and working that CERA’s put forward.
On the stadium – Stupid idea, CHCH doesn’t have the population to support it, nor does the Canterbury region and large, indoor venues are already provided for. Definite white elephant. Stupid location too.
On the sports centre – what happened to using the Red-Bus depot site? Hagley has massive traffic issues and there’s little room for parking, that isn’t already taken up via workers and those living in the area. And with the bus depot now slated to be a fair bit away from it, I don’t see it as being easy to get to.
On the Bus Depot – it was placed in the central city for a good reason you idiots, as so to make it very convenient for residents to use. And while placing it at the edge of the central city does have some slight traffic routing advantages, without connecting shuttle services covering the whole central city, it’s going to become rather inconvenient.
On the Convention Centre – White Elephant. Also what the fuck is wrong with rebuilding at the old site? Especially as the new location eats up the current central library site, and takes up rather important frontal locations in the square that could be better deployed as retail, for bars, cafe’s and have been commercial shows and get-rich-quick/self-help bullshit artists.
On the height restrictions – good luck trying to fill those office buildings, top floors will likely go unfilled, and the shift of many office sites elsewhere into lower height buildings means that rents that don”t meet the market will lead unto fun.
On building design – Gone is the original plan of preserving and recreating some of the character of the old city, replaced with “cheapest build” mentality it seems, so say hello to more glass and concrete monoliths and goodbye to the more human masonry, brick and wood. Let alone more organic architecture.
On the Green Belt -What. The. Fuck? Totally useless on the edge of the central city, more so as one big band. Needs to be split up into multiple small parks as others have said. Combined with the lack of residential areas to, it’s going to be a bloody ghost land. Ideally you’d use smaller parks as the centre point for clusters of mixed residential/retail, or as public courtyards.
On the Avon Park – great, but why exactly does it have to be funded via donations? As from an urban planning perspective it’s worth it’s weight in gold and from a land-stability perspective, it’s a great way of keeping buildings off land prone to flooding and lateral spreading.
On the Cultural Centre – Great! Only problem, where the fuck is the central library?
On the Omissions – No mention of the Arts Centre, nor of what they’re going to do vis the strip of bars or the gaggle of great cafes and niche shops and bars etc that thrived along high street and the city mall. Nothing about managing the entertainment seeking populace either.
Why are cities so important? David Harvey and Richard Wolff interviewed.
Presumably the old AMI stadium was insured, as with the convention centre. I guess the bulk of the money for the new replacements will come from insurance payouts, not taxpayers or ratepayers. Anyway are you seriously suggesting a city the size of Christchurch should not have a stadium.
The Library is going to front the square, its in the documents. The plan doesn’t have to design bars etc, its an overall outline. Investors and businesses will actually build the commercial buildings.
If you look at the green belt it actually has a whole lot of campus type buildings, esp between the hospital and the Polytech. That will attract a whole bunch of intersting businesses, and can leverage an innovation precint. Mayor Bob has some very interesting ideas on this.
Wayne 75 million doesn’t come close to $500+ million required for an indoor stadium.
Facts right wayne
The Dunedin stadium cost $200 million for 30,000 seats, but that is clearly more than $75 million.
So the Christchurch Stadium is going to be 30,000 seats like the Dunedin stadium is it?
Why doesnt the private sector build a convention centre? The seem OK at putting up hotels, apartment blocks, shopping malls etc without government involvement (apart from consents, etc), why is there a supposed ‘market failure’ in building a convention centre?
Because convention centres lose money. Why is the government so keen on building them? IMO, because the capitalist class still want them to prove that they’re “special”.
The stone statues of Easter Island.
By “capitalist class” I’m assuming you mean anyone with a job that doesn’t involve going down a coal mine – except that coal miners have professional associations and unions and are supported by the vast breadth of service industries with their own professional associations and unions.
wtf is up with you?
Did you notice who held the clear balance of power and fear in the operation of Pike River? That’s right buddy, the corporate employers.
What the fuck has that got with the premise which basically is that I’m sick of your bigoted class consciousness and general misery leading you to make sweeping generalisations and misrepresentations about human beings based on the minimum grain of truth for justification, and no one calling you out on how hateful and childish it is.
It’s completely irrelevant if conference centres lose money – all public facilities do. And it’s not just the financial elites who have conferences, not by a long shot, so kindly can the bullshit unless you’re going to back it up with real world examples and cite sources.
and how dare anyone criticise the holy writ of Brownlee.
it is inspired by our infallible corporate overlords
hail Pope Gerry
What fun/useful/socially oriented family or citizen or community events is the conference centre going to organise and hold for free or near free?
You know, since public pools, public libraries, public schools, museums and art galleries tend to have those really fundamentally for-the-public-good characteristics.
Because otherwise you are FULL OF SHIT
I love it when you get all self-righteous about what constitutes a useful member of the community, CV. Because of course public pools, libraries, schools, museums and art galleries never charge for anything, do they – they never have to secure funding by renting out their spaces for private events or charging users for services or anything like that do they. Because you are the expert on the public good and contributing there to, although as you gleefully tell us you actually do sweet fuck all aside from moaning on here about the collapse of civilisation.
basically a library or a swimming pool would be used every day by thousands of people
a new conference centre or stadium would be used only occasionally and cost ten times as much
The problem with the current proposal for me comes down to it’s size and it’s location, not the fact they’re rebuilding it.
Frankly, the market in NZ for large convention centres is non-existent and so such a large building with one sole purpose would have difficultly remaining in the black financially. While rising air-fares (in the long term + carbon costs) and NZ’s remote location make the economics of holding large global conferences here problematic.
As for the location, it occupies economically and culturally valuable space in the square, which would be far better suited to other uses. In short, unless the land at the old site is well and truly stuffed, it’s probably better to site the new convention centre there, as it was fairly well sited vis hotels and traffic.
On “It’s completely irrelevant if conference centres lose money – all public facilities do” – lolwut? It’s a private facility, not a public one idiot, that merely hosts conventions rather than serves as a multi-use facility, and in that context it does matter if it looses money. Otherwise someone else has to bail it out. As for libraries et al, these are facilities the public pays for directly via rates or indirectly via rent and provide cultural and recreational spaces. And pools can generally pull their own weight easily if well sited.
What is it with this government and convention centres? The international convention market is dying.
This may come as a shock, but lots of people in NZ work in professions and their professional associations have conferences. They tend to lack interest in forging new lives as hippies, and they expect the country’s main centres to have conference facilities.
So why aren’t they building them then?
Hilarious to see all the freshly-minted user pays evangelists on this thread. It must be a prick for the socialists when you guys turn up at council meetings to demand that the people who want to use libraries, swimming pools, sports fields etc pay for them themselves.
‘… to demand that the people who want to use libraries, swimming pools, sports fields etc as part of their business pay for them themselves.’
Ah no, what about teachers – are they in “business”? They have conferences. So do surgeons. All sorts of charities and NPOs have conferences.
And in any case, people do use libraries as part of their business, and certainly professional athletes use sports fields and swimming pools as part of their “business”.
Really you have no ground to stand on.
lol yeah it’s for teachers and charities.
Yes, among others – that’s what the “public” means in “public facilities”. I would point out that a lot of small businesses have conferences also.
Yep, they’ve been having them for years at hotels, motels, racing clubs and other such places. Now all of a sudden we need dedicated convention centres paid for and maintained by the public.
This smells fishy to say the least.
In case events of the last two years have passed you by, we have sweet fuck all of any of those left in Christchurch.
Still doesn’t mean that you need a convention centre.
Quite right. Fuck the whole city and everyone in it as an object lesson.
Don’t be an asshole populuxe.
You’d have some credibility batting for the people of Christchurch if you were advocating for hundreds of millions to be spent on restoring and upgrading basic services to neighbourhoods and incentivising small employers to reopen, start up and lift hiring.
Instead you are going to bat for a fucking useless white elephant where most of the public monies spent will be sucked up by big construction corporates based outside of Christchurch.
I mean, WTF
IQ has dropped substantially around here recently.
The convention centre is going to be a money losing white elephant. That’s why, as usual, the private sector wants the tax payer to carry it.
That’s probably because your cloth cap is on too tight and the chip on your shoulder may be contributing as well.
I’ve never owned a business. Is user pays the new watchword for leftists, or is it just a “four legs good, two legs bad” thing?
You are smart enough to determine if something is a rort on the taxpayer with monies going purely to benefit private construction companies and land owners, right?
For fuck all social benefit in return?
Or do you just like repeating catchy bullshit.
If they pay taxes, they will be building them.
Bullshit. Its the tax base of NZ which is going to be paying. Socialisation of costs for the benefit of a few private interests. The motto of a National Government.
Socialisation of costs for the benefit of a few private interests.
Funny, that’s exactly what the libertarians say about libraries and swimming pools. You guys really do have a lot in common.
I guess you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe in the social and community benefits of learning centres like libraries.
WTF do you know about “libertarian” philosophy anyway? You’re just repeating neoliberal slash taxes for the wealthy bullshit and calling it some fancy name.
Huh? You’re the one peddling user pays here, guy. I love the fact my taxes and rates go towards publicly funded infrastructure like libraries, parks, schools and convention centres. The idea that public infrastructure shouldn’t exist unless those using it pay the full cost is a shit one.
I’m fast going off the idea of public swimming pools since I discovered that they’re primarily used by professional athletes.
‘…and they expect the country’s main centres to have conference facilities paid for by everyone else’
The poor ratepayers of ChCh are going to be paying for the upkeep of a lot of open space. All that open space will have to be maintained, unless you want it to be taken over by weeds. The Rec/open space dept is going to need a lot of expansion.
Large stadiums are also expensive to maintain. And they need refurbishment every 20 years. Who the hell is going to pay for its upkeep for 2 rugby tests and 10 super rugby games every year? The NZRU? I don’t think so.
I wonder what a Feng Shui expert would make of the plans for the Christchurch CBD?
No harm in consulting one, apart from the cost.
Actually from the look of it- its morte likley they consulted the ghost of Ebenezer Howard. Planners still have the obsession with the 18th Century Garden City.