So the fight over Hagley Oval is now being played out in the environment court. I’ve discussed the pros and cons, but mainly the cons, of this at length on the blog. I won’t stop, but I’ll try and add something different to debate. 

Another thing I have also argued against at length is the threat of council asset sales. There are many reasons against, but one of the strongest is why sell an asset that has a guaranteed return to pay for one that doesn’t even have a business plan? This same question can be asked of the Hagley Oval proposal. 

The difference being we (the people of Christchurch, as owners of Hagley Park) are being asked to GIVE part of this asset to Canterbury Cricket, so they can put up a stadium and charge entry. They are going to monetize an asset of all Christchurch people, for the benefit of the few. On top of that, they haven’t even provided a costed plan.

If I put it to council that I should be given the fourth floor of the Council Building, to run for my own commercial gain, preventing the rest of the staff from using it, I’d be laughed out of town, possibly locked up. So how is this idea even being entertained? Because it’s being done under the mask of SPORTS. Sports will make us happy. Sports will rebuild our resilience. Sports will bring in lots of money even though no-one can cite any evidence that suggests it’s true. Sports will tap into some basic, primal urge that somehow both makes us “uniquely New Zealand” whilst simultaneously hollows out our grass-roots sports organisations until they are completely modelled on the American franchise system.

Don’t get me wrong – I fucking love sports. I play football, I love the Warriors despite their inconsistent results, and I think cricket is the greatest sport of them all, test matches especially. But I am not so blind as to think that just because Richard Hadlee and Ian Botham could skittle a team at will, they are somehow qualified to make massive decisions on infrastructure. In the law-free zone of the Christchurch rebuild, there are heaps of decisions which reek of poor process. This one is the turd at the top of the pile. 

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