30 Jan 2013

Dunedin to pay off stadium faster

7:46 am on 30 January 2013

Dunedin City Council plans to spend an extra $2 million a year paying off its stadium faster and attracting bigger concerts.

The decisions were made by councillors on Monday while debating draft budgets for 2014, which ended a decade of large building projects.

Dunedin's proposed rates rise is now 4%, but the plan could yet change after public consultation.

Councillors agreed to put $1.73 million into speeding up debt repayments on the Otago Stadium's construction, saving $25 million in interest repayments and cutting the loan to 18 years.

The council will also spend about $700,000 a year for four years to help its struggling stadium operator, Dunedin Venues Management, clear debts.

In addition, $400,000 a year from tourism and economic development budgets will be used to make it easier to lure more big stars like Elton John and Paul Simon to the struggling stadium.

The stadium's manager says the new events fund should mean it is able to secure one or two international concerts a year.

Dunedin Venues Management chief executive Darren Burden says the fund will mean it can meet event promoter demands for help with the cost of sending equipment to the South Island city.

Mr Burden says extra money to pay off its debts should mean the company will return its first profit in two years.