Eden Park to be upgraded for New Zealand's Rugby World Cup

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand.

The New Zealand Government has announced that it is ditching its preferred option of building a new stadium on Auckland's waterfront and instead is going to upgrade Auckland's current stadium of Eden Park for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final that New Zealand is hosting.

The decision is only if Eden Park can do a "...redevelopment design, and on governance and funding issues going forward, with a report back to Cabinet by December 13. This report back date will not affect building timelines," Trevor Mallard, minister for sport, said.

The waterfront stadium was to cost NZ$497 million compared to the upgrade of Eden Park which will cost $385 million.

John Alexander, chief executive of Eden Park, said: "This decision is the right one for Auckland and for New Zealand. The Eden Park of 2011 will make Auckland and New Zealand proud. Not only will it preserve our rich sporting and social history, and provide sports viewing of an international quality, our plans will put the Park back into Eden Park."

Mr Mallard said: "The decision on a stadium had always been one for Auckland to make but unfortunately Auckland has been unable to agree to a preference, with Auckland City Council in favour of a waterfront site, and the Auckland Regional Council not favouring such a site."

The North Harbour stadium has been announced as the back up option, "It has also been agreed that North Harbour be considered as a reserve option for the time being..." Mr Mallard said.

"Cabinet today considered two options given this lack of unanimity - either to convene a group of all key parties to see whether issues with the waterfront could be overcome, or to support a redevelopment of Eden Park, which was the Auckland City Council's second option, subject to further work," Mr Mallard said.

"Cabinet decided to explore an alternative stadium site after it became clear - in August - that the cost of an Eden Park redevelopment had gone from around $150 million when the hosting bid was won, to an estimated $320 million. The latest Eden Park version is estimated to cost $385 million. If the government had been advised of the escalation of these costs earlier, then the timeframe would not have been so tight, and the process of evaluating options and consultation would have been much different," Trevor Mallard noted.

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