A poll for the Eden Park Trust has found that an overwhelming 91 per cent of surveyed Aucklanders support the proposed "Million Babies" concert, despite objections by some high-profile local residents.
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who lives near Eden Park, is one of 127 objectors to the proposed Waitangi Day 2019 concert for Sir Ray Avery's LifePod incubators for premature babies, calling it a "Trojan horse" for more night concerts at the park.
But the poll, commissioned by the trust and completed by UMR, has found that 87 per cent of 350 people questioned in nearby suburbs, and 91 per cent of 650 people across the rest of Auckland, support holding the concert at the park.
The park, New Zealand's biggest stadium with capacity for 60,000 spectators, has consent under the Auckland unitary plan for up to 25 night-time sports events a year.
The plan also allows for up to six night-time concerts a year, but requires the trust to apply for an individual resource consent for each concert. No consent for a concert has ever been granted.
The trust's application for the Million Babies event, lodged on June 6, said noise levels during the concert, between 7pm and 10.30pm on Waitangi Day, could exceed 75 decibels for about 30 houses west of Sandringham Rd and 80 decibels for another small group of houses near the northwest corner of the park.
On July 12, when submissions closed, the trust announced that it would offer a noise limit as a condition for the resource consent, but it has not yet said what the limit would be.
Auckland Council said it received 360 submissions supporting the consent, 127 against and one neutral.
The trust and the council have agreed to send the case directly to the Environment Court so that it can be decided by October, in time to confirm what the trust called "a star-studded cast including a performance by an unrevealed music icon who has never before performed in New Zealand".
The poll's sample of 350 people in "nearby suburbs" was drawn from Balmoral, Eden Terrace, Kingsland, Morningside, Mt Eden and Mt Albert.
Questions indicated that the trust is keen to hold more than the current maximum of 25 night events including up to six night-time concerts a year.
"With the support of our neighbours, in future we are interested in doing more of the sorts of events that our Trust Deed envisages," Eden Park Trust chief executive Nick Sautner said.
Sautner said there was "no doubt" that the proposed LifePod Appeal concert would "impact our neighbours".
"That's why we met with the Eden Park Residents Association, the Eden Park Neighbours' Association, and representatives from the Albert-Eden Local Board prior to lodging our resource consent application.
"Since then, we engaged an expert team including environmental planners, traffic, acoustic and lighting specialists to assess the effects of a concert on the surrounding area, and then we lodged our resource consent application. All that material is publicly available."
The poll has been released in the wake of reports this week that the Australian Federal Court found in 2015 that Sautner was dismissed from a previous job with Melbourne Stadiums because of misuse of free tickets to games and other "serious misconduct".
Trust board chairman Doug McKay said he was aware of the Australian allegations before Sautner was appointed chief executive last year but investigated them, and Sautner had the board's full support.
The UMR poll found that 75 per cent of respondents in the nearby suburbs would support up to 40 night events including 15 concerts.
The 25 per cent who said no to that question were then asked if they would support 31 night events including six concerts (8 per cent support, 17 per cent against).
The 17 per cent who were still opposed were then asked if they would support the current limits of 25 night events with six concerts. Only 4 per cent supported that and 12 per cent opposed it.
Finally, the remaining 12 per cent who were still opposed were asked if they would support 25 night events "if Eden Park's survival depends on it" or "if a retractable roof is added". In both cases, those still opposed dropped to only 9 per cent of all those polled in the nearby suburbs.
The trust held a free fish-and-chips night for local residents at the park last night to provide an update on the concert and watch a broadcast of the Super Rugby quarter-final between the Chiefs and the Hurricanes.