A Wellington concert arena with up to 12,000 seats has got the tick from the region's mayors in the battle to draw big international acts to the city.
Mayors from across the region voted unanimously today to move ahead with the plan for the new indoor arena, which could be partly funded by regional ratepayers.
The capital's mayor Justin Lester said the need for the arena is obvious.
"Wellington is the capital of culture in this country, but we hear frequently that a lack of a good-sized concert arena means we are missing out on major acts which are going elsewhere instead."
Ed Sheeran is the latest international artist to decline to play in Wellington, reportedly due to the lack of a suitable venue.
Ratepayers across the region pay more than $2 million each year to a regional stadium levy which helped fund Westpac Stadium.
That money could be diverted in future to help fund the new arena.
Lester said Wellington City Council had already budgeted $60 million for the project in its long-term plan, but support from the regions would be a "huge boost".
"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.
Hutt City mayor Ray Wallace said the arena would be "a big feather" in the region's cap.
"We've all seen news reports of international acts heading elsewhere in the country because we don't have the infrastructure to support their shows. This will help us compete and will be a great thing for the local arts and culture scene."
At a meeting of the regional strategy committee today the mayors directed economic agency WREDA to undertake an investigation and report back by August .
WREDA will look at an arena of 8,000-12,000 seats, said Lester, who is chair of the committee.
The TSB Arena is currently Wellington's biggest indoor arena, with room for 5,600 concertgoers, including standing areas.