INDEPENDENT NEWS

Letter To Minister Outlines Nomorerates Arguments

Published: Thu 7 Dec 2006 11:02 AM
NoMoreRates.com [The campaign to change the way councils are funded]
email from David Thornton – founder/organiser – david@Kandu.co.nz
MEDIA RELEASE 07 December 2006
RATEPAYERS NATIONWIDE COULD BE PROTECTED FROM RWC 2011 COSTS IF GOVERNMENT CHOOSES NORTH HARBOUR STADIUM RATHER THAN EDEN PARK.
Letter To Minister Outlines Nomorerates Arguments.
07 December 2006
Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister for Rugby World Cup
Dear Minister,
Last week you took part in Metro magazine’s ‘online’ session and you answered a question I posed, as follows;-
Question
What is wrong with North Harbour [stadium] - it is cheaper, has no risks, and has excellent bus access via the new, partly government-funded busway?
Answer
The major problem is lack of centrality. It does have consenting advantages and would be easier to build. Cheaper. But you would end up with two major stadia in Auckland - Eden Park would probably remain the home of the Blues because of the reluctance of Aucklanders to cross the bridge. There just isn't the restaurant and bar infrastructure around the place that is needed for a quality build up and slow exit from the area. The key reason though was problems with car transport links and the vast amount of extra work that would have had to be done to make it work.
Still it is the reserve option (despite George's charm offensive) and can stay that way for another 18 months
I appreciate your frank response but would challenge your views.
Centrality affects Eden Park as much as – if not more than – North Harbour in terms of travelling time to downtown Auckland City.
There are a few bars and restaurants at Kingsland – but with ongoing development at Albany I suggest that there will be plenty if similar facilities there if the stadium expands to National Stadium status.
Albany is well on then way to becoming the centre of North Shore City – and a major regional centre.
Takapuna Beach with a plethora of bars and restaurants is also just a few minutes from the stadium by public transport.
On the issue of car transport I invite you to take a closer look at the North Shore roading system currently being developed which will allow much greater intra-city movement than at present.
I would be interested to see whatever report you may have that shows the ‘vast amount of work that would need to be done to make it work.’
I doubt that any costs would be as much as the cost of traffic improvements for Eden Park.
And as to the Blues supporters being ‘reluctant to cross the bridge’ I do not believe that is a definitive issue between the two locations.
My principle interest is of course to battle on behalf of ratepayers to prevent any ratepayer funding for any stadium – both construction costs and operating costs/losses.
This concern is for ratepayers around the country – especially at other World Cup venues where Stadium upgrades will be required.
My argument on behalf of Auckland ratepayers applies equally to ratepayers in Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton and any other venue.
In simple terms the anticipated economic benefits of RWC 2011 will accrue to the nation as a whole – therefore underwriting of the cost of staging the event lies with central government and the NZ Rugby Union.
From this perspective I anticipate the government would want to choose the least expensive cost options commensurate with IRB requirements for the whole tournament.
I note you agree that North Harbour is the cheapest option for Auckland, has few consenting problems and is easier to build.
By choosing North Harbour, and thus making substantial savings over likely Eden Park funding needs, government would be in a position to contribute to those other venues and prevent costs falling on to ratepayers around the country.
As to the future of Eden Park – it could easily wait for an upgrade until the requirements for Cricket World Cup in 2015 are known.
I am sure you will give these comments every consideration.
Yours sincerely
David Thornton
Founder/organiser
NoMoreRates.com
Ends

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