There is a letter in the press from Geoff Saunders this morning, who came up with the bright idea for the office block stadium thing. He’s a lawyer, not an architect, but he thinks its a good idea. He explains in the letter that he doesn’t want to put his law firm in Victoria St or Lincoln Rd, he wants to be in the city. But he also doesn’t want to pay $400 a square metre, though he “admires those” that have committed to do so. He then says:

The rationale behind the multi-use stadium proposal is to create four wonderful office towers with associated facilities, such as a gym and pool, and to lure us back. The land under the four office towers comes at very little cost to the developer/owner.

Hang on? The land comes at very little cost to the developer/owner? Mr Saunders might want to elaborate on that a bit. He has said that he wants a high spec office block, but that he doesn’t want to pay the market rate for it. So he’s proposing that someone build an office for him, and figures that this will be cheaper because “the land comes as very little cost”. We know that there is no such thing as a free lunch, so if the land comes at very little cost to the developers, it’s costing someone else. That someone else would be the taxpayer and the ratepayer, the ones who are funding the government acquisition of this land. In Saunders’ plan, not only would the average Christchurch resident be subsidising an uneconomic stadium, but we’d be subsidising office space for some of the city’s most high-profile, high-priced law firms, and that is simply unacceptable.

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