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North Harbour a viable option - Mayor Wood

North Harbour a viable option - Mayor Wood

November 15, 2006

North Shore City Mayor, George Wood, is concerned that Auckland councillors and the public have not had the chance to properly evaluate all possible options for the choice of Auckland’s World Cup stadium

“It brings into question the integrity and transparency of this process, which is a major decision not just for the region, but for the country as a whole,” he says.

Mr Wood wants to ensure that North Harbour Stadium is properly evaluated, yet the Government has hardly given North Harbour Stadium a glance, although it meets so many of the essential criteria for consideration.

“It is sitting on 28 hectares of land; it is built and zoned for expansion. Construction has already started on the country’s largest shopping complex next door, and it would soon be surrounded by hotels, bars and restaurants.

“It will cost $226 million to increase its capacity to 60,000 - Eden Park will cost around $385 million and the waterfront will cost in excess of $500 million which doesn’t include port compensation, infrastructure such as car parks and new transport routes.

“North Harbour Stadium is the only stadium that has the transport infrastructure to cater for 60,000 people with the benefit of two major roading investments by the Government. With Eden Park the public will spend $43million building an overbridge and bus station – that is $43million that should be spent elsewhere on solving Auckland’s transport issues.

“The Northern Busway will be completed next year and the southern and western motorway extensions (ring route) mean that spectators travelling to an event at North Harbour Stadium from the south, the airport or western suburbs like Mt Albert and Henderson will have a second motorway option.

“There will be two major arterial routes feeding into the stadium as well as the busway link. Eden Park and the Waterfront Stadium do not have such significant transport infrastructure in place, making it near impossible to quickly move 60,000 people.

Aucklanders have been given only two weeks to make a decision of this importance with so little information on which to base a rational decision. More time and all viable options need to be considered so that the right decision is made, Mr Wood says.

“Judging by current opinion polls and the messages coming to me, Aucklanders are not only rejecting the waterfront option, they are also rejecting the process by which they are being asked to judge a stadium.”

“It’s of real concern that only last Friday the Government listed North Harbour Stadium as the third choice, yet only a few days later, Auckland councillors and the public is still not being provided with all the criteria on which to make a reasoned judgement.”

“It all comes down to economics and common sense and if we are making a decision on these two points rather than a political one, North Harbour Stadium should be the Government’s first choice,” says Mr Wood.

He has this afternoon written to Prime Minister Helen Clark, saying that North Harbour represents the future, and the North Shore has the space, the time and the access to develop this solution.

ends

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