Mayors move towards 12,000-seat Wellington arena

6:12 pm on 30 May 2017

Wellington's mayors are taking steps towards building a major indoor concert arena for the region.

Wellington Harbour.

Photo: CORBIS

The Westpac Stadium - an outdoor venue - seats just over 30,000 people but is vulnerable to weather, while the TSB Arena offers indoor seating for about 5500.

At today's regional strategy committee meeting, the region's mayors directed the economic agency to begin investigating the case for a 8000 to 12,000 seat arena.

The results are due in August, and would include costings, information on funding and potential locations.

Wellington City Mayor Justin Lester said the city's lack of indoor concert spaces meant it missed out on major acts.

Mr Lester told Checkpoint with John Campbell the city had already budgeted $60 million for an arena in its long-term plan, but having support from the region's other councils would help get the project off the ground.

The proposed arena would be roughly the same size as Auckland's Spark Arena, which has a 12,000 seat capacity. Mr Lester said that arena had cost about $120m.

He said it would make sense to build it near the Westpac Stadium, close to public transport and the entertainment precinct - but all options would be considered.

"Anybody that is prepared to tour New Zealand we want to make sure that Wellington is putting its hand up."

Wellington-based promoter Phil Sprey told Checkpoint the announcement was years in the making and Wellington had been missing out.

Having an arena of that size in the city meant people who could not afford to travel to Auckland to see big artists could now attend big concerts, he said.

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