Auckland waterfront stadium could cost more than $1b project, says Sport Minister

By Nicholas Jones, Bernard Orsman

A new stadium on the Auckland waterfront could cost more than $1 billion, says Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman.

He was wary about the project, which is back on the table a decade after the city's politicians and rugby establishment said no to it.

Chris Brooks, who is in charge of the city's stadium strategy, said there was a view among the sporting codes the city needed to decide whether to reinvest in Eden Park or build anew.

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Yesterday Mr Coleman said: "These are big dollar numbers attached to this.

It would involve well over $1 billion to produce a waterfront stadium."

Any potential decisions about funding would have to be made by the Cabinet, he said. Prime Minister John Key said on Tuesday a waterfront stadium was a good idea but doubted it would get off the ground.

It was a shame, he said, that it was not done ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and said the probability of a new venue was low because of the investment in Eden Park.

Mike Lee, who was chair of the regional council that voted unanimously against the waterfront stadium in November 2006, yesterday said the city had much greater infrastructure needs.

Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers said it was his view that a downtown stadium could be located around Vector Arena.

He said Eden Park was in the wrong place and a new multi-code, multi-venue stadium, if financially self-sustaining, was the best idea.

Writing in the Herald today, former environmental consultant and hearings commissioner Grant McLachlan said a waterfront stadium could create an entertainment hub to complement neighbouring attractions.

John Tookey, a professor of construction management at AUT, has written a contrary view, saying a waterfront stadium is not a good idea for the future of Auckland.

- NZ Herald

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