Auckland Regional Council supports Eden Park upgrade in New Zealand

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) has voted to support an upgrade of Eden Park and not the New Zealand government’s preferred option of a new stadium built on Auckland’s waterfront. The stadium consultation is because to host the Rugby World Cup, which New Zealand is hosting in 2011, the final venue has to be able to seat at least 60,000 people.

Trevor Mallard, minister for sports, would not comment on the decision made by the ARC. Mr Mallard would not speak to the media until Monday when he goes to the cabinet.

Yesterday the Auckland City Council also made their decision on the stadium but they had a different opinion, going with the waterfront stadium.

Mr Mallard said a fortnight ago that the final will go to Christchurch’s stadium Jade Stadium if the two councils could not agree on the stadium they wish to pursue.

With coming to its decision the ARC said that it sympathizes with the public as there was no formal public consultation and the two weeks given to them to make their decision and tell the government their choice was not enough time.

The ARC also said that the Auckland City Councils resolution to move the waterfront stadium around 200 metres to the east is not viable as found by a Technical Working Group working for Trevor Mallard.

“By taking this decision, they may be putting more responsibility on Auckland ratepayers,” the mayor of Auckland, Dick Hubbard, said.

The ARC found the waterfront stadium was “inappropriate” because there would be a significant adverse reaction to the council owned Ports of Auckland, special legislation would be required to build it, it would have a “negative impact on the heritage and urban design values of the Britomart precinct and the adjacent waterfront area”, and it would be quite expensive to build.

With all the above considered the ARC decided to pursue the Eden Park option as it is also an internationally recognised stadium and was used for the bid to attempt New Zealand to get the 2011 Ruby World Cup.

“Trevor Mallard’s stadium is a dead duck,” he said. “This afternoon he has no option but to take the waterfront stadium off the table,” Keith Locke, Member of Parliament for the Green party.

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