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The Great White Whale On Auckland's Waterfront

The Great White Whale On Auckland's Waterfront

Rodney Hide
Friday, 10 November 2006
Press Releases - Other

The waterfront stadium to be built in Auckland - announced by the government today - will be a blight on the waterfront, if it can be built at all, says the MP for Epsom and Leader of ACT, Rodney Hide.

"Auckland already has enough white elephants constructed by politicians - we don't need Helen Clark's 'great white whale' polluting our waterfront", Mr Hide said.

"To build the waterfront whale, the government will need legislation to override the Resource Management Act, take land from Ports of Auckland and raise new taxes to fund the construction.

"It's hard to believe the National Party will back this legislation simply so a ten-story high monument to Helen Clark can sit on the waterfront.

"The tender process must be transparent and open - taxpayers can't afford budget blowouts and cost-plus construction.

"Cost estimates started off at $500 million, but experience with hurried government projects suggests it could end up costing more than $1 billion.

"Overseas, the cost of rebuilding England's Wembley Stadium has blown out by around NZ$200 million, and Detroit's Ford Field cost NZ$157 million more than predicted.

"In contrast, Eden Park is one of the world's hallowed rugby grounds. Upgrading it, or adding temporary stands for the Rugby World Cup, should be the preferred option.

"Helen Clark will have a hard job convincing Aucklanders that this is the best way to spend a billion dollars on the city's infrastructure, and needs to persuade the rest of New Zealand that they should fund a stadium instead of more police, better health care or tax cuts. The time and cost are enough to finish other major infrastructure projects - such as completing the Western Ring Route.

"Is this what 'economic transformation' has been reduced to - a great white whale in New Zealand's busiest port? What's next, a convention centre in the middle of Auckland Airport's runway?

"Unless the Prime Minister can get support for her legislation and win over a sceptical public, she - and her waterfront whale - could be left stranded", Mr Hide said.


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