Auckland ratepayers are paying $188,000 to light up the Wynyard Crossing in time for the World Cup, but the public body spending the money says it is not linked to the rugby.
A Waterfront Auckland spokesman said the lighting was permanent and part of the $3.7 million budget, but a source close to the project said it was a costly add-on for the Cup.
As part of a $2.5 million opening night extravaganza along the Auckland waterfront, several landmarks and tall buildings around Auckland will be used for lighting displays. Aucklanders will also be treated to a 12-minute fireworks show.
Lighting on the 100m crossing, from the Viaduct Harbour to the Wynyard Quarter, will consist of blue and white lights on the pedestrian and cycle pathway and spotlights on the A-frame supports.
It is understood some of the lights have still to arrive from overseas and it will be touch-and-go as to whether they will be installed for September 9.
On Wednesday, the spokesman said there was "no extra lighting on the Wynyard Crossing for the Rugby World Cup. There is the normal feature lighting to illuminate the bridge, but that's it."
Yesterday, Waterfront Auckland chief executive John Dalzell said it had been decided in March to light up the bridge after the council-owned body found it had $200,000 left over in the $3.7 million budget.
"The cabling is now in place on Wynyard Crossing and most of the light fittings are being installed next week, with a few to go in at the start of September ... in time to be switched on at the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup," Mr Dalzell said.
In June, it was revealed that Waterfront Auckland was spending $900,000 of ratepayers' money on two giant television screens at Party Central on Queens Wharf.
Instead of the Government paying $700,000 for leasing the screens to be used at the Cloud it has built at a cost of $9.8 million, Waterfront Auckland jumped at the "commercial opportunity" and bought the screens for future public events on the waterfront.
* $188,000 for the bridge lighting
* $3.7 million to build the bridge
* $2.5 million to be spent on the RWC opening extravaganza on the waterfrontBy Bernard Orsman @BernardOrsman Email Bernard