Wellington set to get brand new arena to lure more big concerts

NZ 31/05/2017

Wellington City is in line to get an indoor arena that could seat up to 12,000 people and be more attractive to stars like Ed Sheeran.

The Brit star's promoter said this week that skipping cities like Wellington and Christchurch during his tour to New Zealand next year was an easy decision to make because the venues available were not the right size.

In a meeting of the Wellington Regional Strategy Committee on Tuesday, the region's mayors and Greater Wellington Regional Council representative Roger Blakely unanimously agreed to make the plan for an indoor stadium a reality.

Plans and costs would come back to the committee for discussion in August.

Mr Blakeley says it was something that had been talked about for some time, but the desire was there to make it happen now.

"It would be a real addition to the region and there is that missing capacity in Wellington right now," he told NZ Newswire.

"Wellington City Council have already done some work on it but the regional council has a key role as there would be a regional rate to help fund it."

WCC have projected $60 million in their Long Term Plan for a facility to be built by 2023, but Wellington mayor Justin Lester says getting buy-in from his fellow mayors and the regional council was crucial.

"Wellington might not have been able to afford a major new arena on our own, but with financial support from the rest of the region we're much more likely to get this across the line," he said.

"A lack of a good-sized concert arena means we are missing out on major acts which are going elsewhere instead."

Upper Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy, who moved the motion at the committee meeting to support a new venue, says major concerts in Wellington benefit the Hutt Valley and the rest of the region's accommodation, business and tourism opportunities.

Mr Blakeley said the arena could be built in the vicinity of Westpac Stadium.