High-level talks have started for Auckland Council to take control of Eden Park only months after councillors bailed out the struggling stadium to the tune of $56 million.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff believes the Government is ready to relinquish its control of the city's major stadium in recognition of the council's financial investment.
Eden Park Trust chairman Doug McKay said the trustees are open to more involvement by the council, saying it could lead to more efficient and better use of the city's stadiums.
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It has already been suggested the Warriors could move to Eden Park when their lease expires at Mt Smart in 2028.
It could also lead to an arrangement over where to stage big concerts in the city.
Eden Park applied this month for blanket approval to hold up to six concerts a year, which, if successful, would put it in direct competition with the council's concert facilities at Mt Smart and Western Springs.
Talks are on hold due the coronavirus crisis and the outcome of an independent review into the five council-controlled organisations (CCOs), including Regional Facilities Auckland, which has struggled to implement a citywide stadium strategy since 2012.
Goff said it made sense for the council's investment in Eden Park to be matched by some say over its governance but said it was too early to say what form it could take.
When the Government poured $190m into upgrading Eden Park for the 2011 Rugby World Cup it amended the trust deed to allow the Government to appoint five of the nine trustees. Auckland Rugby and Auckland Cricket appoint two trustees each.
In 2013, councillors voted 12-7 to accept an offer from then Sports Minister Murray McCully for the Government's interest in Eden Park, but nothing came of it.
Last year, a report by EY painted a bleak financial picture for Eden Park, saying it had no money for a $63m maintenance plan and faced $80m of losses over the next decade.
With the Government not willing to assist, councillors voted last September to take control of two loans from the ASB worth $46m and provide a three-year, no-strings grant of $9.8m.
Goff said any control of Eden Park would have to take the trust deed into account and the position of Auckland Rugby and Auckland Cricket, who are the long-term beneficiaries of the park and maintain certain rights.
One source close to the talks said a sticking point is the role of Regional Facilities Auckland, saying the CCO's governance and management of council stadiums have been "horrendous".
McKay - chief executive of Auckland Council for the first three years - said one of the big failings of the Super City had been the inability of Regional Facilities to land a stadium strategy.
He said Regional Facilities could be a focus of the CCO review and it would be best to pause the talks for any possible changes to its makeup or governance.
A spokesman for Finance Minister Grant Robertson said given the current situation with Covid-19, changing the governance arrangements for Eden Park is not a priority for the minister or the trust board. Robertson is also Minister of Sport.