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North Harbour Stadium remains the logical option

14 November 2006

Media Release: North Harbour Stadium remains the logical option

North Harbour Stadium remains the logical option for a national stadium to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, says Enterprise North Shore Trust Chairman, Ian Watson. This is in light of the government’s announcement on Friday, indicating a preference for a new Waterfront Stadium.

“When one considers the economic importance of the Rugby World Cup and then looks at the extraordinary levels of uncertainty over the availability of land on the Waterfront, the cost of reinforcing the area, the extreme difficulty and the complexity of the design and build, let alone the technical requirements for an adequate playing surface, it is hard to see why Government has plumped for the Waterfront. We encourage Government and Auckland to think again about the potential of the multi-use North Harbour Stadium as host of the Rugby World Cup,” says Ian Watson.

Sitting on 28 hectares of land, North Harbour Stadium in Albany is built and zoned for expansion, making it a low risk and cost effective option. It will cost $226 million to increase its capacity to 60,000, including corporate box and VIP requirements. North Harbour Stadium has the benefit of two major roading investments by the Government. The Northern busway will be completed next year and the southern and western motorway extensions mean that spectators travelling to an event at North Harbour Stadium from the south, the airport or western suburbs have a second motorway option.

“Plans are being implemented for major retail, hospitality and business expansion that encircle the Stadium and other sports facilities”, explains Mr Watson. “North Harbour Stadium has the resource consents it requires for expansion – it doesn’t require Government to overrule its own resource management regulations, nor does it need to buy new land. It doesn’t require the facilitative and consultative approach that normally would be expected for development of a brand new stadium in the CBD. All this work has been done. North Harbour will deliver a fantastic Rugby World Cup.”

North Harbour Stadium regularly hosts international events for football, rugby league and rugby union, on behalf of FIFA, ARL and NRL teams, NZRL and the NZRFU. Its rectangular field makes it extremely popular with spectators, who are only metres from the playing surface. It regularly wins the right to host large outdoor music events – from Pavarotti’s Farewell tour, to pop and rock concerts as well as extreme motor sports. Its function facilities are the busiest of its type in New Zealand.

“It all comes down to economics and meeting the criteria of a sustainable stadium and function facility, anticipated within the Government and the NZRFU’s bid to the IRB to host the Rugby World Cup. The North Harbour Stadium proposal is the least expensive Auckland option and has minimal obstacles for resource consent in its way. For these reasons alone, North Harbour Stadium should be the Government’s and Auckland’s first choice to meet the obligations New Zealand accepted to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup.”

ENDS

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