Paul Lewis in the HoS is one of a long line of critics of the proposed $700 million stadium on Auckland’s waterfront, championed by Helen Clark.
I’m sceptical of the proposal but not yet vehemently against it. The reason is the outstanding success of Wellington’s waterfront stadium. The WestpacTrust Stadium has been a huge boon for the city. Having a stadium so easy to access with public transport and so close to town people can walk to the nightlife afterwards has boosted attendances massively. I go to half a dozen matches a year at least, and used to almost never go to Athletic Park.
So the location in Auckland is potentially something that could really boost attendance numbers. But the major drawbacks are:
1) Is the cost of $700 million worth it?
2) Who will pay for it?
3) Can it be completed in time for the Rugby World Cup?
The Wellington stadium was initially costed at $70 million and eventually was $130 million. It was primarily funded by local authorities and the private sector.
So the Auckland stadium could well end up costing $1 billion or so. Now if Aucklanders want to spend that much on a stadium, go for it. But if the Government wants to tax me a few hundred dollars to pay for Auckland’s stadium, I’d be very upset. Sure there might be a contribution through Lotteries etc, but it should not be a major funder.