Brian Rudman

Brian Rudman is a Herald columnist looking at Auckland and national issues

Waterfront move an 'overreaction'

By Hayden Donnell, APNZ, NZ Herald staff

Add a comment
Huge crowds assembled for the opening of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Huge crowds assembled for the opening of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Auckland Council transport committee chair Mike Lee says Mr McCully's move to "nationalise" 'party central' is an overreaction.

The Government this afternoon announced it was seizing control of the waterfront for Cup celebrations from the Auckland Council following chaotic scenes last weekend when thousands more than expected turned up to party.

Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully announced revised plans today for the Fan Zone on Queen's Wharf, which would be put into action under Rugby World Cup Empowerment legislation.

Mr McCully said the Auckland Council and other authorities had dropped the ball and the government needed to step in to fix the situation.

He stopped short of calling it a "vote of no confidence."

But Mr Lee disagreed with the Government's view, blaming problems with the organisation and design of fanzones on the 'supercity' reforms enacted in November last year.

The new structure meant unelected officials at council controlled organisation 'Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development' had responsibility for the waterfront, he said.

"They created the supercity, not Auckland, and if it's not working to their liking then they should have a look at themselves."

Government takes over Party Central

The Government said it was taking complete control of 'Party Central' and would enlarge the Fan Zones to include Bledisloe and Captain Cook wharfs.

The announcement comes after more than 200,000 people poured into downtown Auckland for the cup opening celebrations on Friday night.

Some were crushed at the gates to Party Central during a three-hour wait - including a woman carted out by paramedics - and several frustrated party-goers jumped the fence.

It has emerged that cup organisers had been expecting a crowd of up to 150,000 at the waterfront for weeks when they were publicly talking about a crowd of 50,000.

Problems were compounded when one side of a double-sided television screen on Quay St failed and people poured over to the Ferry Building side of the screen, which was still working. This led to the cancellation of ferry services. A second television screen failed in the Viaduct Harbour.

Thousands of commuters had their night disrupted by trains, buses and ferries that were unable to cope with the number of people wanting to join in the festivities.

At least 2000 people missed the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony at Eden Park as trains backed up on the tracks to Kingsland station.

- APNZ

- NZ Herald

Your views

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 18 Apr 2014 10:55:31 Processing Time: 816ms