A study is being undertaken to see if a covered stadium in the middle of Christchurch stacks up financially.
It is being funded by the government, which wants to see one built, and the Christchurch City Council, which has signed an agreement locking it in to paying half the cost.
At $500 million, questions have been raised by opponents about whether the cash-strapped council can afford the project.
It has already put it off until 2025.
Now in his last action as Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister, Gerry Brownlee has announced what he is calling a pre-feasibility study.
This will be overseen by government appointees and a Christchurch City councillor.
It will report back to Mr Brownlee's successor, Nicky Wagner, by the end of July.
Mr Brownlee said it was important the stadium did not become a burden on ratepayers.
He said the study would look at incorporating hospitality and retail space in the stadium's design so that it could continue to be used in between large events.
Given its central location the stadium needed to be able to accommodate many types of events and be as flexible as possible, he said.
"This is a facility that is located very close in to the centre of the city. So a couple of blocks, very short walk from the bus interchange and for that reason quite an easy and accessible venue, so you'd want to be able to use it on as many days of the year as you can."
Mayor Lianne Dalziel said Canterbury was the sporting capital of New Zealand and a stadium has the potential to take things to a new level.