Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Softly spoken Aussie tries diplomatic approach

Chris Brooks.
Chris Brooks.

Chris Brooks, the council boss charged with salvaging the city's stadium strategy, is a quietly spoken Australian.

The 61-year-old arrived in Auckland 13 months ago to replace another Australian, Robert Domm, whose crusade to implement the stadium strategy turned into a public battle with the Warriors and other sporting codes.

Brooks has adopted a diplomatic approach for the stadium "refresh", as he calls it, focusing on short, medium and long-term solutions. He made amends with the Warriors, but got offside with Eden Park and Speedway promoter Greg Mosen, who says the motorsport will be left out in the cold if cricket moves to Western Springs.

Eden Park Trust Board chairman and former Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay this week said the strategy was in tatters, surplus assets were eating their heads off and nobody was making hard decisions to make the city's stadiums fit for purpose.

The stadium strategy has been the major focus since Mr Brooks joined Regional Facilities Auckland in February last year. This culminated in Mr Brooks putting up his hand on Tuesday to work on a multi-code downtown stadium after the idea won public support.

Before coming to Auckland, he ran Melbourne's internationally acclaimed Federation Square, which delivers more than 2000 events and attracts 10 million people a year, and had a finance and infrastructure background in the Victorian and Tasmanian state governments.

He was also chief executive of the Unidel Group and head of MyState Financial, Tasmania's largest financial institution.

Brooks says he was attracted to the Regional Facilities model of five different businesses under one body - Auckland Conventions, Auckland Stadiums, Auckland Live, Auckland Art Gallery and Auckland Zoo.

Chris Brooks
• Age 61
• Regional Facilities Auckland chief executive
• Previous background: Ran Melbourne's Federation Square, finance and infrastructure roles.

- NZ Herald

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