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Speaker: Students vs Dunedin

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  • Paul Campbell,

    (disclaimer: I'm now one of those 'stodgy' Dunedinites ... and I'm married to a student ... I suspect this is all terribly overblown)

    We are talking about two relatively disparate worlds here - namely the letters to the editor pages of the ODT and Critic - most non-uni people probably never see a Critic (they don't even show up in cafes down town) - the rest of the city probably doesn't even know there's an issue because they only see one side - and the ODT's pages are full of odes to how wonderfull our new stadium might be (I've yet to meet a real person who's actually in favour of it).

    Let's face it people burning stuff in the street and picking fights with the cops makes good front page copy - with real pictures rather than the sadly staged fare the ODT usually provides us with (like the guy yesterday pretending he's suprised about the value of his pottery).

    I moved back from the US about 2 years ago - we arrived the week after exams just after the end-of-year and rented a cheap motel in the student area while we looked for somewhere to live ... the streets were paved in glass that week - looked like a bomb had gone off, or like I once saw in Frankfurt the day after Germany had won the world cup ... we started to have second thoughts .... but all was well a week later ...

    This is still a city that publishes ALL the court news and we still read it (if only to see who we know who might be in it) ... a good public shaming probably still goes a long way here ... granny might find out .... it also means we read all the students-were-drunk-and-disorderly-and-stole-a-policeman's-hat or equivalent stories writ in those columns

    Personally I don't mind a street party just clean up when you're done and make sure your neighbours get some sleep - let the cops know what you're doing, invite them along, give them a beer

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This is still a city that publishes ALL the court news and we still read it (if only to see who we know who might be in it) ... a good public shaming probably still goes a long way here ... granny might find out .... it also means we read all the students-were-drunk-and-disorderly-and-stole-a-policeman's-hat or equivalent stories writ in those columns

    I'll never forget being in Dunedin several years ago when there was some serious financial news at a national level - Reserve Bank governor statement or something. Every other paper in the country led with it. The ODT led with a story about a youth who might have stolen a car except it looked like he probably didn't. I found it quite bizarre.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18703 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    those bloody stereotypers, they're all the same

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I read James K. Baxter's novel Horse recently, and was suprised and amused to see how in many ways little has changed in Dunedin in the last 50 years. However, one thing that I think has changed is the consumerisation of education. With EFTS funding, it's something that the university bought into in the '90s, and with along with the advent of student fees, an education is now something to be consumed, rather than a process. It's changed student expectations about what they expect from the university.

    But I think alongside this, scarfie has become a brand. It's no longer used exclusively in Dunedin, and indeed uni has superceded varsity, but the university's marketing campaign still sells this brand. And I think with the same kind of consumer expectations that make students demand certain things within the education process, they now have a kind of consumer expectation for student life. I guess my point is that sure, back in the day, people did occasionally burn couches; but now a couch burning is part of the product that's sold. So it's changed from an occasional thing, to something that has to happen at every weekend. It's no longer a spontaneous thing to ward off the cold, but part of the package.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I think the couch burning thing will eventually die a natural death .... unless someone starts importing a supply from elsewhere the second hand stores will run out and future generations will sit on the floor

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'll never forget being in Dunedin several years ago when there was some serious financial news at a national level - Reserve Bank governor statement or something. Every other paper in the country led with it. The ODT led with a story about a youth who might have stolen a car except it looked like he probably didn't. I found it quite bizarre.

    It's called the Oddity down here for good reason.

    It's whole fascination with some sheep named after an ogre for example...

    ODT's pages are full of odes to how wonderfull our new stadium might be (I've yet to meet a real person who's actually in favour of it).

    "Nice to meet you. My name's Kyle."

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Are you real :-) can you explain the car park? how will the 30,000 people fit in the 200 cars? are they magic cars?

    (ps :-)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Wain,

    hi Paul, I know it was an offhand comment - but meet another (ex-)Dunedinite who's massively in favour of your new stadium!

    not to labour the point - and this is little to do with this thread - but I reckon kicking Carisbrook and getting a stadium with a ROOF is a no-brainer for Dunners.

    I lived in Dunedin for nine or so years, studied and worked there, and let's face it, the weather's shite. only Wellington (and the West Coast) can rival it for crapness. a roof's essential.

    screw the parking! Dunners is small, you can walk.

    Since Nov 2006 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Well being slightly more serious about the issue the whole stadium thing does actually sort of point out the divide in the city the original article was talking about .... I work at home and tend to socialize with people who work at or around the university ... as I said no one I've talked to about the issues has been in favour of it, I'm sure there are people who are - I just don't run into them day to day.

    Personally I've lived in big cities that have spent millions on stadiums - all I've ever seen were disasters for the cities. Ive become convinced that if professional sport can't afford its own facilities it's not financially viable (or trying to feed at the public trough). Having one of the members of the board of directors of the local team head up a group that's pushing the city to pay $100M for a stadium for them and the team itself not putting any money up (I'd expect at least 1/2, or a financial setup where the city's investment was paid back over time) seems wrong to me.

    In my case I'll be paying a couple of thousand dollars extra in rates for something I wont be using much, if at all - for me at least I'd be better off just paying higher ticket prices when I do use it - user pays if you will

    Sure I know - "the stadium will be good for local business" but I don't see the Chamber of Commerce or the Business Round Table asking for their members to be taxed to support the stadium ... I guess it wont be that good ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    James- good point about the comodification of "student life". I sort've want some of "that" for my kids- not that I want to know the details, understand! Nice post: it's just worth noting that the only-half-restrained indulgence of adolescence may be a part of becoming a grown-up. I know a few people who missed that stage (kids before 20) who have become quite inappropriately adolescent in their 40s once the kids moved out!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1466 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Robertson,

    I have made it a mission to collect great front page ODT headlines over the years, two stand out for me

    "Azaleas Flower in Gardens" ( yes it was the lead)

    "World Stops as Shrek Shewn" ( that is right they laid down arms in Baghdad that day)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    My favorite (from probably 30 years ago) was "Police Stoned During IRA Raid"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Well, I don't think 30,000 people are going to go to every game of footy that's put on. If we presume that test matches and finals of domestic competitions, if we ever make one, are going to sell out, that's maybe two games a year. 20,000 people would be a better estimate for a 'normal' game. Major problems are only going to happen at the 30,000 people games, and one or two nights of traffic chaos a year is a small price to pay. We put up with the festival of speed which shuts down state highway one and other roads for 24 hours. If we want to talk about traffic holding our city back, how about they close down George Street to traffic. That'd make a big difference to the heart of our city.

    And there no parking at all around the stadium during the day, because of all the university and polytech employees and students. In the evening and weekend though, there's a few thousand carparks within four or five blocks. And a third of the people going to the game are going to walk because they live near campus, the stadium is right by the railway line, so trains could bring people up from South Dunedin and the railway station. And there's a massive park just over the road that they parked cars on for the cricket final. That'd hold 1000 cars no problem. That's a much better parking situation than Eden Park, the Caketin, or Jade have.

    I think Wellington has a pretty good model for a stadium - using it for conferences, events beyond sports, car shows, music festivals, and not having the focus be entirely on the grass, which is the problem with Carisbrook, Eden Park etc. The area they're looking at isn't a residential area, so it can be used during the day and late at night, noise and light aren't an issue as far as I know. It can be multi-function (I'm dubious about the money the university is putting forward, but I trust the current management to be sensible with it).

    But mostly, $200,000,000 for a roofed stadium when Auckland couldn't put a... whatever that was, on their waterfront for less than $800,000,000. I like vision, I like a plan that says 'yes we can do this, yes it'll work, so lets do it'. And I like saying "useless bloody Auckland couldn't organise a lickathon in a roomful of lesbians".

    And I don't know the details of the ongoing payments. But I'd presume that rugby is paying something for the privilege of having games there. But they don't have the ability to borrow or to increase income that the City and Regional councils do, so it's reasonable that they be supported by the City providing a big chunk of the initial funds.

    Yes it'll cost ratepayers, and presumably it'll cost commercial ratepayers as well. I'm sure some of them will benefit a lot more than they pay, but there's no good system for charging people the amount that they benefit. Businesses doing well in Dunedin is good for the city, particularly when they start employing people. Businesses also pay for a heap of 'human services' that the city council puts on for us that they get no benefit from because they're just an entity. We should be willing to pay rates which go towards things which benefit businesses in return, as long as they're good for the city.

    A lot of people say 'I don't go to the rugby I won't benefit'. I think they should look at the popularity of the Wgtn 7s and how many people who 'don't go to the rugby' fight for tickets to that party. You're seeing a lot of women there, younger people, non-traditional rugby fans, etc. They should also think about the 20 or so other things that it could be used for.

    We're also going to lose international rugby here if we don't do something, and a roof opens us up as a premiere venue to host sports (I'm not sure what the involvement of cricket is in it, but it'd be easy to bring one dayers back to Dunedin with a roof). We can guarantee a perfect surface and weather no matter what it's like outside, and that's money in the bank in events organisation and a steal at the price.

    And Carisbrook is a hundred years old. They keep tacking bits on it, spending money upgrading the bits that they upgraded ten years ago, but it's a modern world, it'd be nice to have a modern stadium. I think small cities can do these things if they're done well. If Invercargill can pack their netball venue for Sting matches, and build a velodrome to host world class cycling, it shouldn't be too hard given that we're picking rugby, which does have a bit of a following round here.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    well at least there's one thing I can agree on - let's close George street to traffic (and make Filleul and Gt King streets and Moray Place one way for buses and other traffic)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Rob - I'm certainly not against the Dunedin student life at all. I just think that there should be more creativity in it. There seems to be a lack of imaginative stunts these days. I did, however, think that this dam was pretty cool

    I'm also for closing George St (though maybe allowing buses?)

    And I'm broadly pro the stadium as well. And it's probably not too strong to say that I hate rugby. Or at least aspects of rugby culture so therefore have no interest in the game. However, I think that Dunedin is marvellously endowed with various emininent facilities, and that developing the Logan Park area as a sporting hub makes sense. The new cricket oval (once the wicket beds in a bit more) is great, and the new Caledonian ground is a lot nicer than the old one.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I'm not in favour of stadium spending like this, happily I'm not a Dunedin rateypayer so its not an issue (although I guess I'm still paying for the Wellington stadium right?)

    I'm a little concerned about whether or not the transport infrastructure around the new site (if i have it placed correctly) would cope very well. I used to flat on Harbour Terrace, then Dundas street, and they are horrible horrible places to get parks anytime (more so during the week of course). I remember one sad day I drove to get some food, then when I returned 10 minutes later I couldn't find a park, so i had to sit double parked in my car (didn't have the petrol $$ to do endless circuits looking for parks) till a park near my house opened up (my eyes still tear up thinking about it).
    On weekends when there was sport happening around Logan park the roads were really busy (and they are quite narrow, the circuit one at least).

    Then of course there are is the broken glass/rubbish/burning furniture/vandalising cars issue. Every weekend stuff like this would happen in most parts of North Dunedin (at least during the late 90s/early 00s) for no apparent occassion, however it would always be worse when a big rugby match was on at Carisbrook. It will only get worse once the stadium, and therefore the crowds are milling about in those streets. After all, people are very inclined to act the part when in "scarfieville", even when they are not students. So expect more of the same, but on a vaster scale, now that 10-30k people are kicking about drunk (and they will be). There is no way in hell I'd be leaving my car parked on Dundas St (or any main road) if I was still living there during a rugby match with the new stadium, after all, buying new windscreen wipers/side mirrors does pall after a bit.

    They will really have to work on the transport infrastructure and ensure they have plenty of security about if this new Carisbrook is made.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 878 posts Report Reply

  • Ross White,

    My favourite headline ever came from the old Sunday News the week after a fellow Unicol-ite fired a skyrocket from a fifth floor window; the rocket hit the road once and shot through the front door of a house in Clyde Street occupied by an elderly woman. The headline, over a story about how student behaviour was totally out of control (this was 1972) read: Pensioner Gets Rocket Up Front Passage.

    I'm real. I support investing in a stadium. Paul needs to get out a bit. Waste of time shifting from the US to spend the whole time in the North End, chatting with university staff.

    Dunedin • Since Mar 2007 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I remember one sad day I drove to get some food, then when I returned 10 minutes later I couldn't find a park, so i had to sit double parked in my car (didn't have the petrol $$ to do endless circuits looking for parks)

    Ummm. Having lived for four years right in the midst of things (including on Dundas), this made me smile. I do hope that you drove to countdown or pak'n'save. If you went to maccas or somewhere, well it's just amusing. And to be honest, the reason for living in that area is because you don't have to drive, and it doesn't exactly take long to realise that if you leave in your car during the day, there is a very slim chance of finding a park.

    I do, however, take your points on the narrowness of Butts Rd. We had one really good crash, and a few near misses right outside our flat on Dundas. Somewhat ditto on the behaviour of post-match crowds.

    I guess the real thing for me with the stadium is that people are always building things I don't want with my money, so I very much see it as swings and roundabouts. There are certainly some great things that have been built that I used, but many that I don't. It would be easy enough to be super-bitter about the university using the money from when I was studying to build the new central library that later students got the benefit for. But then that will always be the case...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Well I didn't really, don't even live there - but it's a pleasent 30 minute walk down to the uni and I do try and walk down and catch a seminar once a week, but then I didn't come back for the rugby either - in fact I came back because my kids were becoming teenagers and I wanted them to grow up in a safer place - somewhere where you could do some stupid things (like burning couches even) and not get shot by a cop or a passing yahoo but still find out you'd done something silly ... after all some life lessons you learn by screwing up, not from listening to your parents and I think kids, teenagers especially, need space to do that.

    We also wanted them to grow up in somewhere other than the US which I believe is very inward looking - awash in it's own media and not aware of the rest of the world - I think NZ is wonderfully refreshing in its outlook on the world - sometimes a bit parochial - as the ODT shows us constantly and the "so what do you think of NZ" question that no foreigner who's been here more than a month can ever answer (I'm stuck with an evil accent after so long away).

    Honestly we wouldn't have settled back in Dunedin if I'd had to get a job - I've had the luxury of being able to work at my old one for the past couple of years eventually I'll have to make one here myself or move on.

    I've moved here from a city that in the last decade was seduced by a stadium upgrade, the city council pushed it through without much oversite and over the objections of the public - we didn't get to vote - sure they got the football team back - but the city ended up being screwed financially, all those rosy projections came to naught and social services suffered as a result - homeless programs didn't get funded, people slept on the street

    I doubt that will happen in Dunedin - but I do think that a football business should be financially viable, it shouldn't depend on the public purse - after all the local club is already several million in the hole to the council that it looks like they wont be able to pay back - so we're giving them a stadium .... if anything we (the citizens) should demand equity, how about a 50% of the union and their profits if there are any, maybe a performance guarantee .... after all if they're not going to be a winning team no one's going to go see them the team will continue to not live up to its financial commitments and we'll lose even more money ... after all this time when they couldn't pay we gave them a stadium

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Ross White,

    I thought the whole point of the stadium proposal is that it will be a multi-purpose all-weather facility, rather than a specialised rugby venue. The ORFU won't be 'given' anything, and from what I've seen of the business case, it isn't predicated on public charity.

    However. if the "rugby is a business so it should be treated as a commercial operation" argument is followed through, there will simply be no international rugby south of Christchurch, other than NZ v Bumfuck Idaho B. Otago Rugby isn't the villain: they've done their best to compete in a pro sport system, where players are bought and sold to the highest bidders. I understand that this isn't something that concerns you, Paul, but I do think that the stadium trust should be allowed to put a proposal up and let the various funders decide whether to be in or not.

    I came here as a student from the NI, moved away, moved back, moved away...and then came back to stay (so far),because we wanted our kids to have a good primary, secondary and tertiary education, and because I married a cleverer-than-me Otago woman who thinks that all roads lead south of the Waitaki. But when I was student president in 1977, we (OUSA) put together a $1.5 million (multiply by 8?) deal to buy property and build what is now the Clubs & Socs Building. Everyone, except the Uni Architect, said it would be a failure because the business model relied on students behaving responsiblity...it's not because they did. I guess I'm happer in a field of dreams than in a strict utilitarian model.

    So, Paul: good to have you back. My experience, though, is that Dunedin's much more fulfilling as a destination rather than a transit lounge.

    Dunedin • Since Mar 2007 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    James, no, it was not McDonalds I was after, however it was on a similar level. As I approached graduation my palate became more sophisticated and I moved onto that grotty chicken that the Willowbank dairy sold at the time.

    I don't really keep up with the activities of the DCC anymore, so I don't have a clue about it's financial health, long term capital investment programme, the state of essential infrastructure (although I suspect the drinking water is still kind of dire). So I can't make an accurate judgement as to whether spending this amount of cash is a wise thing or not. I could speculate, but meh, I'd rather dream of greasy chicken.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 878 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    As I understand it it's the wrong shape/size for cricket and I'd guess it's probably only going to be used as a live music venue for stuff larger than the town hall and the Regent - which is about nothing - just look at the outdoor/under cover concert in the Oval this weekend - they got about 1000 people, not 10k and nowhere near 30k and that was some of the best bands in the country big name overseas acts seldom make it out of Auckland - maybe they'll get 1 act that will pull that many people a year, maybe not? - the University's going to rent some space under the stands - as far as I can tell the economics rest on renting space and rugby, the rest is wishfull thinking.

    I'm not against the city building facilities for its citizens to use - but it's not a public facility like the Edgar Center or the library or the clubs and socs building is for students - I bet my kids soccer games are not going to get moved inside there on rainy days, all we'll be able to do is rent seats there - what I think the city council should do is to instigate public debate on the issue - encourage people to talk about it, don't try and shut down the discussion and push it through as they are doing at the moment - a single public meeting held at a time that most people can't get to with only 24 hour's notice isn't really enough and frankly smelled of tokenism - by all means come up with a funding plan, explain what wont get funded if we fund a stadium
    - hold some public meetings, let the letters to the editor run hot and fast and then let people vote on it, give them the time work through the issues - democracy is a good thing - there's a local body election coming up that would be a perfect time

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Lea,

    Soccer is supposed to be played in the rain. Perhaps your kids soccer games can move inside on sunny days and turn the sprinklers on :)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Rugby players can't cope with rain and soccer players can?

    Clearly a lot has changed since I was a wee lad and "soccer sissies" was the epithet of choice for round-ball players.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Paul,

    In terms of the ORFU having to front up. I was under the impression that the stadium would be owned by a trust, which would include the Rugby folks, but also other members. Obviously they're the prime user, but there are other interests.

    I know in the USA stadia are often owned by professional teams, and city councils give them money and tax breaks and whatnot to bring the teams to their town. That's a fairly different situation to what we have here, when the teams are already here and aren't going to leave. Otago, Highlanders, and the All Blacks will all play here at this stadium and that's guaranteed. They have an interest in making the stadium financially viable because it's their permanent home.

    Like I said I don't know about the cricket. But cricket is often played on rugby shaped fields in NZ - Auckland, Wgtn and Chch do this with one day cricket. With the roof I thought it would be ideal to put ODIs in the stadium, and everything else over the road at the oval. Perhaps they haven't made it wide enough for that.

    I think the other uses to which the stadium can be put depend on the design. The University is putting money and space in there. But it would be an ideal conference venue, and the university hosts about 30 conferences a year, many of which have a couple of hundred people. Car shows, Crusty Demon type events. Maybe the new Wgtn A League team would play one game down here? Craft shows.

    It's my understanding that the Caketin has successfully adopted this model of multi-function. Obviously population would limit our ability to do that somewhat, but there's a lot of options which if it's well run could make it viable.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

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