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Party Central a Nutty Idea

Party Central a Nutty Idea Claims Auckland Council Candidate

Putting up a tent on Queen’s Wharf for local and international visitors to party in before, during and after Rugby World Cup matches at Eden Park next year, is the last thing Auckland needs claims Waitemata & Gulf council candidate Tenby Powell.

Powell, a man with widespread business acumen and a self confessed ‘Rugby tragic’ believes the temporary ‘Cloud’ structure at the end of the wharf will become “an expensive waste of tax payer’s money, with the potential to impact on local businesses and residents.”

And his view is shared by the CEO of the New Zealand Restaurant Association Steve Mackenzie who says “our members are very annoyed that the Queen’s wharf area is the sole focus of attention around the Rugby World Cup especially by the Auckland Council.”

The driving force behind the growth of Hirepool and parent company NZ Rental Group into the country’s leading rental equipment provider, Powell has lost count of the number of Rugby Tests he has attended at Eden Park and hosted hundreds of clients “at considerable cost. And afterwards we headed to downtown bars and restaurants to enjoy the rest of the evening.”

“What is fun or sense in taking friends and guests down to a big temporary structure on a wharf -particularly if it’s wet and cold - as we know Auckland can still get through September and October.”

“Have I missed something with ‘Party Central'? Is it just me out of step with this (which, for an old soldier, is embarrassing to say the least) or have we all forgotten about the bars cafe owners and restaurateurs in Kingsland, Ponsonby, Viaduct Harbour and CBD and Parnell.”

“Did the Government and our city fathers give them any thought when they splashed out millions of dollars to purchase the wharf and then millions more on the creation of ‘Party Central’? I love a good party myself, but the Wharf is a nutty idea we don’t need and probably can’t afford.”

“By splashing out big on ‘Party Central’ and getting thousands of people to focus on one central point we are putting a lot of small business owners, and the thousands they employ, at great risk. SMEs account for over 1/3 of New Zealand's output, contributing $50billion, or 38.6%, to GDP. These people had the courage to start their own business and employ staff, and are now making a sizeable contribution to the New Zealand economy. So why aren’t we supporting them?”
Powell asks why create a ‘Party Central’ when ‘Party de-Central’ already exists? Auckland is not a tightly defined city like Wellington. It is a widely spread metropolis with numerous entertainment options. Who is going to by-pass the night life of Kingsland, Ponsonby, the Viaduct and Parnell en route to a tent, on a clapped out wharf on what will probably be a wet, windy, wild night anyway?
The New Zealand Restaurant Association agrees. “There just seems to be a lot of money, efforts and focus on ‘Party Central,’” says Mr. Mackenzie. “They talk about a stadium of 4 million people here coming together as hosts during the tournament, but the actions of Auckland Council are alienating this view.”
“Our people understand the need for a Fan Zone, but why is there no consideration by Council to other parts of the city precinct. In Wellington, for instance, they’ve created a Fan Zone in Courtenay Place – right in the middle of the bars and restaurants in the city.”
Powell suggests allocating the funds into improving the infrastructure of these four central ‘entertainment nodes,’ close off roads, “and supporting those business owners who have already invested in exactly what we need anyway – Fan Zones - great venues for Aucklanders and our visitors alike.
“Perhaps this is an old fashioned view, but I would have thought it sensible to disperse the crowd to the four existing city venues and create a ‘Party de-Central’ that will share in the celebrations, self-manage the crowd and proudly show off Auckland City’s night life,” he says.

Powell understands the Government and Rugby World Cup organizers have a mandate to provide ‘Fan Zones’ where visitors who attend games and those without tickets, but still want to enjoy a ‘World Cup Experience’, are catered for. But he believes the bars, clubs and cafes around the CBD could do that “better than any tent on a wharf.”

“Auckland is changing and it’s time that we embraced what we already have in Auckland. By working together we can make this a world-class city with the Waitemata & Gulf Ward leading the way.”

• Powell has resigned all his directorships of the NZ Rental Group to focus his energies on winning the Waitemata Gulf Ward seat in the upcoming Super City elections. Later this month he will be honoured by the University of Waikato with a Distinguished Alumni Award at a function hosted by the Chancellor, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.


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