Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Hands off Eden Park, say some sporting tenants

Newly elected Auckland mayor Phil Goff. Photo / Dean Purcell
Newly elected Auckland mayor Phil Goff. Photo / Dean Purcell

There has been mixed reaction from some sporting codes which could be affected if Eden Park was to make way for a new $1 billion stadium in Auckland's CBD.

The Herald on Sunday reported new Auckland mayor Phil Goff does not want to spend an estimated $250 million on upgrading Eden Park over the next 15 years and believes the spiritual home of cricket and rugby could be sold for as much as $300m.

Goff stressed the council did not have up to $1b to invest in a new stadium - on railway land alongside Vector Arena - but if the council did not start planning it would miss the boat.The mayor said private investment would be required and he hoped the Government might also chip in.

Eden Park is the home ground for the Auckland Aces cricket team. The ground also regularly hosts international fixtures, including Tests, ODIs and Twenty20s.

Mark Cameron, chief executive of Auckland Cricket believed they should stay put.
"Eden Park is our home and it has all the infrastructure already in place," he said. "It ain't a dog.

"It would not simply be a case of our tenancy would be up and we would have to get out.
"We are protected by an act of law which says we have a right to play cricket there."

Mike Donovan, chairman of Auckland Rugby Union, also believed Goff's plan was flawed.

"A waterfront stadium with a 30,000 capacity is just not big enough to hold big international rugby matches at," he said. "How is that a commercially viable option when the city has a growing population?

"We should upgrade the facilities at Eden Park as we need them. It is a no brainer."

Eden Park is also the home ground for the Auckland ITM Cup Team and the Auckland Blues rugby franchise.

A spokesman for the Blues said the club had not changed its previously reported position that it supports the idea of a stadium in Auckland's CBD and would be happy to leave their spiritual home.

- NZ Herald

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