Whaleoil exclusive: Inside Blenheim’s “world-class” theatre

It appears Blenheim’s world-class theatre is still suffering some world-class rough edges. Looks like the council don’t mind having world-class broken glass in their world-class windows and don’t mind paying out for people’s world-class injuries when they trip over their world-class plywood steps at the entrance. People should be safe, however, as they have used world-class orange paint to provide a world-class warning.




“But Whaleoil,” you’ll say, “that’s not fair! They clearly haven’t finished yet!”

Yes, you’d think so, wouldn’t you? It turns out that the building was consented certified the day before it was opened with what is to be assumed a world-class council consent, and the reporter’s visit yesterday was after the theatre was consented and opened to the public.

Should councils be able to consent certify their own buildings? Or does that not provide a world-class conflict?

Also, if Whaleoil can get a reporter there, why can’t the Marlborough Express have a look around and report on the world-class goings on?


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  • Gazza

    Once again WO provides world class reporting where other reporters fear to tread…or trip depending on the completion of the building

  • Simon P

    The correct terminology is Certificate of Code Compliance, which is issued when to building is complete to the building code. So Council have issued compliance to themselves when they would not have to a private owner for a building with incomplete work.

  • Disinfectant

    I think we have all worked out why the Marlborough Express cant a get Journo round there.

    The Marlborough Express likes the Councils advertising revenues.

  • Abjv

    That’s not plywood. That is a wheelchair ramp.

  • Isherman

    A partial list of plays that might be appropriate for the opening performance:

    A Costly Business
    An Idiots Prayer
    Bad Report
    Between Two Thieves
    Feeling The Heat
    Money Is No Object
    Outta Control
    What I want

    • Bling Bling

      One blogger in the local paper listed some musicals: Mama Money Mia; Bankside Story; Annie Get Your Public Purse; A Fist Full of Dollars More (a movie). One could add: Sham- Pooh; The Little Shop of Accounting Horrors; Fiddler on the Goof; Sweet Charity; Babes In Toyland; and “Hello Dollar…”

  • Bling Bling

    The world you speak of is provincial and retiree fantasy land. Bear in mind that as of now the building is far more complete than it was in March when it was “opened.” Marlborough Express on 7 March (see stuff.co.nz) has a photo of the main auditorium incomplete and it was the first bit made publicly accessible. the first “show” was a litle later on. The side access galleries have been (or were) without ceilings and flooring for ages. The tradies are still pouring over it each day. MDC granted an operating permit for the particular events. There is no final code of compliance. Many locals have queried the point you make informally with dismay but then shrug the shoulders. All one can do ultimately is laugh. Mr Woolley might be bemused at the double standard over consents/ operating permits. It all comes down to whether “we” like you are not. “Because we should be able to help our friends”, as one local lawyer said. That tells you something in itself and from a professional who should but doesn’t know better.

    • Kevin

      “Because we should be able to help our friends”

      What’s the word I’m looking for. Starts with “c..” … “crony…”

  • oldmanNZ

    I think the reason for that small entrance step, is to cater for a new footpath top layer.
    The foot path has not been completed yet.

  • wormsurgeon

    Following the Seddon earthquakes EQC inspected a number of damaged homes only to find that their foundations were not code compliant. In at least one case the same house had been assessed as compliant by the Marlborough Council. This is the caliber of the Marlborough Council. As for the theatre, the ratepayers have just been hit up for $5Mil more. But consider this, how many more millions $ are outstanding in order to finish this monstrosity? This is not a council, it’s a cartel.

  • Bob Dazzler

    Provincial bunnies instead of big city bunnies, Oh well just put it on the rates, free money, ha ha.

  • NahYeah

    Meh, Marlborough are only amateurs compared with Tauranga City Council. They are currently planning a rates increase to cover the expense of building themselves a new civic complex, because the old one that their own building inspectors approved is mouldy and leaking.

    • biscuit barrel

      Tauranga seems to have caught the edifice bug-
      “Council is proposing to build a new civic administration building with surrounding open space on its Willow Street site and to transform Masonic Park into a civic square. It is also proposing to set aside funding to explore the feasibility of a museum, new library and new performance venue on the site.”

    • Hailstormers

      NahYeah, sorry but I can beat you on that.. Little old back water Waipukurau is goin to get a huge dam. Go HBRC you guys are heroes. [sarc].

      • NahYeah

        Yes, you win that one, some $275m I hear. Still, those taniwha’s don’t come cheap, and you’re getting two of them! (Rua-Taniwha, my contribution to Maori language week)

  • Dave

    This sheds more light on why their operational budget is so high compared to the Invers theatre. I’m thinking……

    The exec’s in charge of the Theatre have run out of coin to put the nice finishing touches to the theatre despite the extra capital funds, so they quietly quadruple the Opex (Operational expenditure) and call the finishing touches, which should have been capital, revenue, and code them under repairs and maintenance or similar

    So, an extra mill a year tipped into the OpEx budget, over 5 years = $5mill capital, but its only revenue folks, no cost overruns or so on…… I wonder if they have any arrangements with some suppliers to pay for things over time from this extra revex ?

    Perhaps its time for a major audit.

  • wormsurgeon

    No way, our council will out scam your council any day(: No, seriously, you have to take into account that in addition to the many million that the Marlborough council has siphoned for the unfinished new theatre that they also paid 6 Mil for the old theatre. that’s right, the Marlborough council own 2 theaters, neither are fit for purpose. It doesn’t get scammer than that.

  • Jazzmo

    World class asset in Blenheim? An asset is only an asset if you can sell it. Who wants or needs a “world class” theatre in a population with 2 x the over 65’s of anywhere in NZ (many on fixed incomes) projected to double by 2031 (MDC figures) and 0.2% annual population growth. Tip into the economic abyss a low wage economy, lack of youth retention and it’s not hard to see why 45,000 people do not need a “world class” anything much less a huge debt to be paid by future generations! But, the Mayor is in China!!!!

  • hookerphil

    Personally I would be worried about the Council developing this into an asset and then on selling – Are they capable of completing all the work within the planned budget and then realizing the projected sales price?

  • wormsurgeon

    why on earth was my last comment moderated out? I didn’t say anything defamatory or that hasn’t been said in some way on this site. Very weird.