Saturday, January 31, 2009

Protest March

Nothing like a good old fashioned demo, and great to see a goodly gathering of about 1500 of the Dunedin citizenry out and about exercising their freedom of speech.

The folly of the proposed stadium is staggering given the lack of interest on the part of the private sector, in contributing to the horrific cost of building the stadium. It's a cost that is too much for a small city in these dire economic times. The old boy's network and business interests are all clearly very keen to benefit from what would become a disastrous white elephant that would sink Dunedin, and they're all obviously not interested in investing in the project, just in gaining advantage from the profligate emptying out of the public purse.

One of the spurious arguments in favour of the new stadium is that it will "put Dunedin on the map" and be the making of us.

But as Professor Jocelyn Harris so eloquently said in her speech today, "Dunedin is its own best asset".

As evidence we had all read in this morning's Otago Daily Times that Dunedin had come out well ahead in a survey of the best cities in New Zealand to live in. (That's probably because weather wasn't included as one of the criteria! If you take weather out of the equation, Dunedin is a marvellous place to live. Or at least it was until this arrogant and spendthrift city council took over, with their fantastic self-aggrandizing monument-building agenda.)

We don't need a massive sink of debt to be funded by struggling ratepayers and that will benefit only a few, and that will take away funding for essential services.

Jocelyn's succinct speech was a highlight. There were a tad too many long-winded speeches at the rally after the march, with the whole event lasting an hour and a half and trying the patience a little, given that the speakers were preaching to the converted. But then again there was a good media presence, and this was a chance to get the message out.

An independently designed opinion poll recently showed that about 80% of Dunedin residents are against the building of the stadium. The "Stop the Stadium" website gives full argument and evidence for the widespread opposition.

What's the next step? A "rates revolt" has been suggested. The first move is to cancel automatic rates payments as a message to the council not to gamble with public money.

The crowd also showed its willingness to take the next step of delaying rates payments if the council was unwise enough to attempt to perservere with the ludicrous stadium project.

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