Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully announced last week the government would pay the $4.1 million needed to fix the turf at AMI Stadium, but questions are being asked as to why the pitch was uninsured and why the government paid up given its tough position on uninsured homeowners, a stance that saw more than 700 people declined assistance after the September quake.Hmm, tricky one, Clayton; this could be a three-pipe problem. BRB.
"What I don't understand is why [stadium owners] V-Base and the council weren't insured when Eden Park and others are," Labour earthquake recovery spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said.
Yes, I think I have it. Maybe Eden Park's hallowed turf was insured because Eden Park is run by a trust, which exists for the good of the stadium. The trust realises that the turf is essential to the playing of rugby and cricket, and so insures it. V-Base on the other hand is a business (and one with a silly name I might add, one that sounds like some awful 80s synth-dance act) and as such is interested in profit. Interested in profit but not familiar with it: V-Base does not make any money on this stadium and loses a lot. It seems that V-Base tried to reduce its costs by taking a gamble on the turf, a gamble which it lost.
Obviously V-Base is not a very effective business - it has become a non-proft organisation. As such, it really should be bankrupt - put out of business; a business in this situation needs to do something about its debts. However, V-Base has seen a way to make money without doing anything about its debts - it has asked for what is called a cash injection from Christchurch City Council. Some people - Christchurch ratepayers for example - might call this bludging.
But clearly, while it may not work on Christchurch City Council, asking for a cash injection is an effective means of raising funds from the Government. The Government is composed largely of men who love sport and who love business. They don't give a toss about Art, which perhaps is why COCA is now displaying a test card. But a sporting business is just the sort of thing which they think deserve a few stray millions; turf is "psychologically very important."
So a business which owns turf but cannot afford to insure it can get some millions to replace it. People, on the other hand, who own a house but cannot afford to insure it get a "a very strong message."
You might like to think about this further, Clayton. You might also like to ask yourself whether the Government can get away with this sort of thing because the Opposition is as wet and wobbly as a liquefacted football pitch.
Here's some Radio with Pictures, from Christchurch and Dunedin: