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11th Hour Appeal to Minister on World Cup Stadium


7 November 2006

Media Release

Eleventh Hour Appeal to Minister on World Cup Stadium

No Ratepayer Funding and Choose North Harbour Stadium

NoMoreRates organiser David Thornton has emailed an eleventh hour appeal to Minister Trevor Mallard that no ratepayer funding should be used for a new/expanded Rugby World Cup Stadium.

Mr Thornton has proposed that the best option is an expanded North Harbour Stadium and suggest various means of funding other than council rates.

The full text of the email follows;-


7 November 2006

Hon Trevor Mallard MP

Dear Minister

An eleventh hour appeal –NO ratepayer funding for World Cup National Stadium

Ratepayers have made it clear that they do not consider they should pay for a new or upgraded stadium in Auckland to host the Rugby World Cup.

Why should a tax on the estimated value of your home be the basis for funding a sporting and entertainment venue? Especially when the government is currently offering rates rebates to up to 300,000 ratepayers who cannot afford to pay rates at existing levels.

Certainly most people are supportive of the Rugby World Cup coming to New Zealand. The questions are – “Where in Auckland should the main stadium be?” and “Who will pay for it?”

Popular opinion seems to be a choice between a waterfront site and upgrading Eden Park.

I suggest neither of these would be the right choice for a variety of reasons, including:-

* Resource Consent issues

* Construction timetable

* Transport and parking issues

* Funding issues

There is absolutely no demand for yet another stadium in the Auckland Region – ratepayers are paying heavily for those that we have now. So that should rule out the waterfront option.

Eden Park is totally in the wrong place – and would rely heavily on ratepayer funding because of the very limited commercial opportunities.

So what is the answer?

It is as clear as daylight to me – and my views are not coloured because of where I leave.

The only place option is North Harbour Stadium.
It has none of the probably insurmountable problems that face both the waterfront and Eden Park.

I am sure you are well aware of the potential for expanding the existing North Harbour Stadium –the only real issue is the core issue for any option – funding.

Firstly the government has to be the prime mover in developing a funding process – to the extent of underwriting the total cost – in the case of North Harbour, probably about $250 million. Actual cash flow coming from loans via the Superannuation Fund.

Those funds would be repaid over time by measures such as:-

 Tourist Bed Tax

 Tourist arrival levy [collected via airline landing fees]

 Turnover tax on tourism related businesses

 Special World Cup lotteries.

This is a simple outline proposal – but it provides answers to all the problems which would beset any other option currently under consideration.

North Harbour Stadium could be expanded, in time, with excellent [bus] public transport, adequate parking, low cost – and would not cost ratepayers a penny.

Assuming the expanded stadium was completed as a debt-free building there would be no need for on-going ratepayer support.

I urge you to give every consideration to this last minute appeal for commonsense to prevail.

Yours sincerely

David Thornton
Founder/organiser NoMoreRates.com.


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