So the Cricket World Cup 2015 venues have been named, and Christchurch has been named as the city to host the opening match. Great, you might think. After everything we’ve been through, missing out on the Rugby World Cup in 2011 due to the earthquakes, this would be a great way to show we’ve moved on. Except … well, the ground to host this game doesn’t exist. It is a proposal mired in controversy, currently being debated in the environment court. Today’s announcement is not meant to influence the decision of the court – but you would have to be naive, or stupid, or a maddening combination of both to think that this announcement does not place a huge amount of pressure on the court to approve the development.

The decision on Hagley Oval should not be made by the ICC. It is a proposal that came from Canterbury Cricket, and was one of the surprises of the Blueprint announcement that came out a year ago today – as virtually no-one had asked for it. It requires the privatisation of public land for the good of the few. It will have serious negative impacts on the access to our hospital, which is already reasonably difficult to access. It will have to be constructed in around 18 months to be ready in time for February 2015.

More than that, you have to ask whether pouring our resources into building a stadium and getting ready for the opening of a sporting tournament is the top priority for a city in the midst of an almost glacial recovery. A year since the Blueprint came out, there is almost nothing to show for all the planning. The housing market is significantly worse than it was a year ago. The council’s debt track heading in a worrying direction – and yet a bunch of old white guys in silly blazers have decided that they will drop not only a stadium on the people of Christchurch, but pass them the bill too. This is totally outrageous.

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