14 Jul 2022

Christchurch City Council is increasing the budget for the city’s multi-use arena and committing to a design and construction contract that will see building get under way by the year’s end.

“Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and it should have a multi-use arena where top international acts can perform and the All Blacks, the Crusaders and other sporting greats can play.  We also need to be preparing for the future of entertainment and Esports is taking off around the world.

“That was the strong message we got from the public during the consultation process and today we have responded to that,’’ Mayor Lianne Dalziel says.

“We have agreed to increase the budget for the arena to $683 million and we are going to enter into a Design and Construction contract with lead contractor BESIX Watpac so that we can put the debate about the arena behind us and get on with building it.

“The cost of the arena is much higher than we envisaged when we first began planning for this project. But no-one could have foreseen the global events – the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Europe – which have disrupted supply chains, pushed-up commodity prices and led to an over-heated construction market,’ the Mayor says.

“The reality is that we cannot build the type of multi-use arena that we want for Christchurch for the money that we have on the books. Unless we are willing to significantly scale back the size and scope of the arena, we have to increase the budget.

“The good news is that Te Kaha Project Delivery Limited has been able to secure a fixed price contract for the design and construction of the arena, which means the Council is protected from the risk of further cost escalations,’’ the Mayor says.

“I want to thank the Te Kaha Board for all the work they have done to get us to this point. Today’s vote is a vote of confidence in their ability to deliver this project. They have given us certainty on the costs, scale and scope of the project, which means the Council is now in a position to enter into a contract with BESIX Watpac so they and the Kōtui Consortium can get on with the job of building us a world-class multi-use arena in the heart of our city.

“With this arena, the days of Christchurch being bypassed for big entertainment and sporting events will be over,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.

“We are also future-proofing this world-class entertainment venue for Esports, which in terms of global audience is on an exponential curve. You can have 30,000 people in a stadium and millions online, all participating in the same event.’’

Board Chair Barry Bragg says the arena is the missing piece in Christchurch’s rebuilt city centre and he is delighted the Council has made the decision to push on with it.

“The Council is making a very significant investment in the arena but if Christchurch residents want to have big concerts and sports events in their city, we need this venue,’’ Mr Bragg says.

“To get a fixed price contract for the arena in these volatile times is a significant accomplishment and we really appreciate the way that BESIX Watpac has worked with us to achieve this.’’

BESIX Watpac Chief Executive Mark Baker says the decision to move ahead with the project and realise the Council vision for a landmark multi-use stadium, capable of facilitating world-class sporting matches and international entertainment acts, will be celebrated now and into the future.

“This will be an iconic stadium, one of only two in the world with a fully enclosed roof and natural grass playing field,” Mr Baker says.

“The stadium will also be built to withstand Christchurch seismic activity not only on completion but during construction, which by any standard is a challenging and unique task.”

Mr Baker says BESIX Watpac will continue to work with Christchurch City Council and Te Kaha Project Delivery Limited to closely manage the delivery and the construction timetable.

The company has already let trade packages for early works and will continue to lock-in local trades and suppliers early to secure works certainty and manage cost well ahead of the construction schedule.