No More Rates Letter To Government
No More Rates Letter To Government
Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet.
Dear Prime Minister and members of Cabinet
The 2011 Rugby World Cup stadium venue
As you consider the responses of the Auckland City Council and the Auckland Regional Council I strongly urge you to give total credence to the condition in both responses which demand that there be no possibility of ratepayer contributions.
Both councils make it clear that they do not want any cost of building or ongoing operational costs to be borne by ratepayers.
This is a condition the NoMoreRates campaign urged on the councils by way of submission and individual lobbying.
I have a book of emails from ratepayers demanding that soaring council rate increases are unacceptable – and in the last two weeks those emails specifically demanded ‘no rates for a stadium’.
In the light of the councils’ responses, and public opinion expressed in a variety of ways, I suggest that the waterfront option is a ‘dead duck’ [with apologies to Minister Mallard].
Which leaves you with Eden Park.
But it has been widely acknowledged that Eden Park has many problems still to overcome – excluding the Resource Consent process, and the legal challenge due to be heard in the High Court on 11th December.
If a new stadium were to be built Eden Park would not be the preferred location.
Quite obviously Eden Park does have a great tradition behind it.
Â It is the scene of many famous All Black victories – and the odd flour-bomb attack.
But tradition alone is not enough to expect taxpayers to support Eden Park financially.
And Eden Park’s tradition is not the stadium itself, but, like most other venues, stems from the great games which have been played there over the years. Â
The current building is hardly ‘iconic’ – nor will it become so with expansion.
Only this morning, as I watched the All Blacks compelling victory over Wales at the Millenium Stadium, I contemplated that such a fixture had, in past years, been played at Cardiff Arms Park – which had as great a tradition as Eden Park.
But Cardiff Arms Park no longer exists – the name gone, but that name and the games played there, still remembered.
The history of Eden Park will remain with us and is already recorded for future generation.
I ask you therefore not to let tradition cloud your judgement – especially when you are spending taxpayers money.
I acknowledged that many people are opposed to any public funds at all being used for a stadium, but I believe on balance, supporters of NoMoreRates accept that the event will be good for the country as a whole – which is why the cost of any investment should be borne by the taxpayer rather that the ratepayer.
If the government is expected to fund or underwrite the venue finally selected it would be prudent to chose the least expensive option while still producing a satisfactory stadium to meet the demands of the IRB for a final setting.
And it seems to be absolutely logical that the setting must be in Auckland.
There is a very real alternative at your disposal – the North Harbour Stadium.
This option has none of the problems associated with Eden Park – environmental, technical or legal – and financially is the least costly by far, and the least risky.
Such a decision would bring this whole issue to finality and allow planning for this great event to go forward – not just in Auckland, but throughout the country to the other venues which will share in Rugby World Cup 2011.
And finally, a North Harbour Stadium choice would allow Eden Park to remain as it is and perhaps be upgraded over time as the venue for Cricket World Cup 2015 – and of course remain the home of Auckland provincial rugby.
I wish you well in your deliberations – and please remember, whatever your choice, no funding from ratepayers pockets and purses.