The Government will use special powers under Rugby World Cup legislation to take control of the Auckland waterfront set aside for the celebrations during the tournament.
Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully will this afternoon outline his intention to tomorrow call up reserve powers available to him under the Rugby World Cup Empowerment Bill.
It has been revealed, ahead of the announcement, that McCully has ordered Government officials to write a new plan to manage the waterfront beyond its own Fan Zone at Queen’s Wharf.
The plan, which turns responsibility from the Auckland City Council over to the Government, will expand management measures and create more space for partying.
“Some of my critics have been suggesting I should take responsibility, well I am. I am stepping in to a space that the Government has not previously occupied,” McCully told Stuff.
“We’re getting on the front foot here and showing a determination to provide a larger footprint and a wider range of measures to assist with the management of crowds and the delivery of amenities.”
About 200,000 turned out to the Auckland waterfront for the opening of the Rugby World Cup on Friday night. Only about 12,000 were allowed in the Queen’s Wharf fan zone, where there were no problems.
McCully said he felt the preparations for outside of the Queen’s Wharf area – made by the Auckland City Council’s responsible group – were “thoroughly inadequate in respect of the crowd control and amenities”.
“It would be fair to say there was not adequate provision made for toilets and for other amenities and that was a significant contributing factor to the problems,” McCully said.
“Neither were there proper arrangements for the flow and management of people which led to difficulties.”
The new Government plan was being finalised this afternoon and McCully had been advised the only way to give the new plan legal effect was via special reserve measures in the RWC Empowering Bill.
So as I understand it the Government was managing the Queen’s Wharf fan zone and the Council the rest of the waterfront, and as with any split responsibility things fall through the cracks.
I imagine the thinking of the Minister is that if the Government is going to be held responsible for what happens on the waterfront, they want to be able to manage it. Who wants to be held accountable for something they do not control?
Of course the risk is that if problems continue, the accountability will clearly be with the Government. So it is quite a ballsy move.
Hopefully any problems will be minimal, so as many fans as possible have as great a time as possible.Tags: Auckland Council, Murray McCully, Rugby World Cup