Big arena ‘not com­pet­ing’ with Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JARED NI­COLL AND COL­LETTE DEVLIN

A pro­posed 12,000-seater in­door arena in Welling­ton would not com­pete against Te Rau­paraha Arena be­cause of its larger size and dif­fer­ing pur­pose, Porirua Mayor Mike Tana says.

The Welling­ton Re­gional Strat­egy Com­mit­tee, which in­cludes the re­gion’s may­ors, agreed in prin­ci­pal last week to ad­vance plans to build an arena modelled on the Spark Arena (pre­vi­ously Vec­tor) in Auck­land some­where in Welling­ton City.

Welling­ton City Coun­cil has been work­ing on the idea for the past 18 months and has bud­geted $60 mil­lion in its Long-Term Plan for the project, but other coun­cils in the re­gion may be asked to pay a levy, as they con­tinue to do for the West­pac Sta­dium.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said the pro­posed arena would not be in com­pe­ti­tion with Porirua’s 3000-seater Te Rau­paraha Arena, which was com­pleted for about $17 mil­lion in 2008.

The pro­posed arena would suit far big­ger events than the Porirua arena, while it would be cost in­hibitive for smaller ones to go there.

And while Te Rau­paraha was a top place for sport and con­fer­ences, the new arena would be more de­signed for con­certs.

‘‘It’s not in the same mar­ket as ours, so I don’t see the risk,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be good for the re­gion. It’s not com­pet­ing with what we’ve got at the mo­ment.’’

Who will pay what for the arena had not been agreed yet.

Welling­ton City Mayor Justin Lester said pos­si­ble sites for the new arena could be near West­pac Sta­dium, the rail­way sta­tion, the water­front, or the cen­tral city en­ter­tain­ment precinct.

Other sites around the re­gion would also be con­sid­ered, and it would re­place 5600-ca­pac­ity TSB Arena.

Welling­ton con­cert pro­moter Phil Sprey, who has long been ad­vo­cat­ing for a cov­ered venue big­ger than the TSB Arena but smaller than West­pac Sta­dium, said the an­nounce­ment was good news.

Big in­ter­na­tional acts were in­creas­ingly play­ing mul­ti­ple nights in smaller are­nas, rather than brav­ing un­pre­dictable weather and the lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges of fill­ing a sta­dium, he said.

He urged plan­ners to build a 15,000-seat arena to fu­ture-proof the venue. ‘‘Then you could see all the ma­jor artists that have been play­ing Vec­tor Arena.’’

Cur­rently, Welling­ton re­gional ratepay­ers con­trib­ute to a sta­dium levy in ex­cess of $2m a year to help fund West­pac Sta­dium.

The levy ends within the next year, and the re­gion’s coun­cils will con­sider whether it could be con­tin­ued to sup­port a new arena.

West­pac Sta­dium chief ex­ec­u­tive Shane Harmon said a larger in­door arena in the Welling­ton re­gion would see more acts com­ing through and the sta­dium would con­tinue to be vi­able for big­ger shows.

PETER MEECHAM

Welling­ton’s arena would tar­get the same acts that play in Auck­land, says pro­moter Phil Sprey, be­low with Ozzy Osbourne. Porirua’s Te Rau­paraha Arena is a good size for sports, above.

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