Veteran sports writer Tony Smith has an opinion piece on a new stadium, and while you might expect him to cheerlead for a new edifice, he’s actually very balanced.

One-off warm fuzzy events are all well and good but anchor projects needs anchor tenants. The harsh reality is rugby will never fill a 35,000-seat arena outside an All Blacks test match, World Cup match or a Super rugby semifinal or final.

Smith suggests that we’d need another professional sports franchise based here – NRL, A League, or even better, both – to justify the cost of a covered stadium. I think he’s right. I am not totally opposed to the idea of a stadium, but as I’ve said time and time again, I want to see a plan for how it’s going to work. If it involves a new league or football franchise, then I could be it’s biggest fan – and more importantly, I’d vote with my wallet.

Until then, the idea that we need to get this done for the Lions tour in 2017 is ludicrous. The Lions supporters will come to the South Island either way, if there is a game in Dunedin, and a match against the Crusaders at the temporary stadium. I think that it would be far more important to show the mother country that 6 years after a massive earthquake, we can re-house our most needy, rebuild our roads and CBD. I don’t think they will begrudge us forgoing a stadium for the needs of the people.

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