News | 30 May 2017

Region Mayors support concert arena plan

Wellington’s plans for a major regional concert arena are moving ahead.

Part of a concert audience.

Wellington’s plans for a major regional concert arena are moving ahead, following a unanimous vote of the region’s Mayors, says Wellington Regional Strategy Committee chair Justin Lester.

Currently Wellington region ratepayers contribute to a regional stadium levy in excess of $2 million per annum which helped fund Westpac Stadium. The region’s councils will consider whether that money can instead be used in the future to support a new regional arena.

At the Regional Strategy Committee today (Tuesday 30 May), the region’s Mayors directed economic agency WREDA to undertake an investigation and report back by August on a way forward.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says the need for such an arena is obvious.

“Wellington might not have been able to afford a major new arena on our own, but with financial support from the rest of the region we’re much more likely to get this across the line.

Wellington is the capital of culture in this country, but we hear frequently that a lack of a good-sized concert arena means we are missing out on major acts which are going elsewhere instead. We’ve asked WREDA to investigate an arena of between 8000 and 12,000 seats and look forward to the results.

“Wellington City Council has already budgeted $60 million for an arena like this through our Long-term Plan, but to have the support from our regional partners is a huge boost and will help us deliver this project.”

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy, who moved the motion, says the whole region will benefit from a new arena.

“This will be great for the Hutt and the whole Wellington region. Major concerts will be a boost for tourism and local businesses and help us attract more people to come and stay in the region.”

Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace says it is important the whole region supports a project like this.

“This will be a big feather in the cap of the region. We’ve all seen news reports of international acts heading elsewhere in the country because we don’t have the infrastructure to support their shows. This will help us compete and will be a great thing for the local arts and culture scene.”