New stadium in Auckland for 2011 rugby world cup preferred by NZ government

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Friday, November 10, 2006

The New Zealand government has said that it prefers building a new stadium at Auckland's waterfront to host the grand final of the 2011 rugby world cup, instead of upgrading Auckland's current stadium, Eden Park.

The preference was made public by the Honourable Trevor Mallard who is the minister for the rugby world cup that will be hosted in New Zealand in 2011.

The new stadium hasn't yet been confirmed and is awaiting November 24, which is the date when the Auckland council will give the government their views on the two options available to them; waterfront or upgrade.

According to Mr Mallard the waterfront will cost altogether around NZ$497 million compared to the cost of an upgrade of Eden Park of $385 million. However that pricing is only based on concept drawings at this point in time. The government will provide half of the funding for the waterfront stadium but they will only provide funding for the Eden Park upgrade if it was considered to be for regional purposes and not a national stadium.

Mr Mallard said: "The government has decided that a waterfront location is the option that can most meaningfully contribute to the Government's vision for Auckland as a truly world-class, international city. This has been a finely balanced call with little difference between the two options in terms of cost and construction timelines. Advice from the experts shows that both can be delivered on time."

The greatest concern facing the government is if they will be able to build the new stadium in time but construction will being in December 2007 to be finished by 2010, and also investigators said that it would be possible. "We have had advice from Australasia's leading stadium designers, engineers, architects and construction experts. There is a unanimous view that the waterfront stadium is a challenge, but eminently achievable," Mr Mallard said.

"In making its decision, the government believes that a sports stadium has the ability to contribute to the identity of Auckland and New Zealand. A national stadium will be as much a focal point of Auckland's landscape as Rangitoto or the Sky Tower. We also believe the construction of an iconic facility such as this will help drive Auckland's aspirations for the development of the waterfront and CBD."

Referring to the upgrade of Eden Park, Mr Mallard said: "One of the greatest concerns is that its application for consents has unacceptable uncertainty as to the timing and outcome of the consents within the construction time available. There is also risk around the lack of flexibility in a residential area around construction times, should delays or problems with construction arise."

The government will also need to pass a special bill that will enable them to build the required options because of consent issues.

The government had also considered these following options: Eden Park (various options), CBD waterfront (various options), North Harbour Stadium, Manukau Harbour (adjoining Westfield station), The former Carlaw Park, Mt Smart Stadium, Avondale Racecourse, The Auckland Domain and Jade Stadium.

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