Ouch the stadium tax

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Queenstowners are paying through the nose for Dunedin’s flash new rugby stadium. 

Otago Regional Council has announced new levies to fund the $37.5 million which the Dunedin-based ORC has donated to the controversial Forsyth Barr Stadium. 

From next month, Wakatipu and Wanaka ratepayers will shell out $456,000 during ORC’s 2010-11 financial year. 

This is an increase of $17,000 – or 3.9 per cent – on the 2009-10 levy and works out to $23.37 per ratepaying property. 

All other districts in ORC territory area will pay the same or less – Dunedin City’s levy, for example, goes down by $14,000. By contrast, ORC levies Wakatipu ratepayers just $225,000 for planned flood-control work on the Shotover Delta. 

Local rugby buffs spoken to by Mountain Scene are split over whether Queenstown will be robbed of Super 15 matches when the new stadium opens next winter. 

Pessimists fear Dunedin commercial interests may heavy the Otago Rugby Football Union to have all games at home – fuelling the city’s economy to pay for the stadium. 

Optimists say the ORFU won’t dare short-change the resort because the Wakatipu is being so heavily taxed for what’s essentially a Dunedin asset.