New North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams has joined his Auckland City counterpart in vowing not to contribute city funds towards a $190 million upgrade of Eden Park for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Mr Williams will place before his council's inaugural meeting on Thursday a recommendation that it not support any North Shore ratepayer funding for upgrading Eden Park to meet cup requirements.
His colleague across the Harbour Bridge, John Banks, wants to pull a $30 million ratepayers' contribution approved by the former council in September - before local body elections.
In a memo to North Shore councillors, Mr Williams says: "There is no will on the part of our ratepayers to support funding of a stadium outside our territorial area."
He said the Government backed the bid to hold the World Cup without his council's input and with an eye on an estimated gain to the national economy of $507 million.
Mr Williams said the Government should stand by its initial proposal of being a significant financial backer and finance the upgrade of Eden Park (or alternative location) in full.
He said North Shore was committed to support the North Harbour Stadium, having in the last year written off nearly $30 million of loans and guarantees.
Although the mayor has a single vote when the council decides on his call, Mr Williams' recommendation will be well supported.
Councillor Dianne Hale, who was deputy to ousted mayor George Wood for three terms, said yesterday the former council was of the same opinion.
Last November, Mr Wood appealed to Prime Minister Helen Clark to consider North Harbour as a venue, saying its capacity could be more cheaply expanded for 60,000 spectators than Eden Park and would save building an overbridge and bus station.
North Harbour Stadium chairman Reno Wijnstok said last night that Eden Park would hold the final and semifinals but North Harbour would be hoping for a quarter-final and pool games featuring high-quality teams.
He said he doubted whether the North Shore City Council's attitude towards funding Eden Park would affect the Albany venue's chances of hosting games and a top team.
"Given the attraction of playing and staying on the Shore, there will be a strong desire for one of the top four or five teams to be based here."