Eden Park in Auckland has won political and business backing for rule changes to allow more concerts and night matches to be held there.
"We support Eden Park", local centre-right candidate and community group leader Jose Fowler posted on social media this week - a week in which local businesses appealed for more events to draw in customers.
Fowler is standing on the Communities and Residents ticket for the City Vision-controlled Albert-Eden Local Board at the October elections and told the Herald that if elected he would push for the Eden Park planning rules to be relaxed.
A majority of residents near Eden Park wanted that to happen, said Fowler, chairman of the Eden Park Residents Association, which also supports making it easier to hold concerts there.
Under the Auckland Unitary Plan, Eden Park is permitted to hold up to six concerts a year, but has to gain resource consent from the council first, which it considers prohibitively expensive. And the planned India-New Zealand T20 cricket match next Auckland Anniversary Weekend needs a resource consent too because it's on a Sunday night.
Former prime minister Helen Clark, a Mt Eden resident, last year opposed plans, ultimately abandoned by Eden Park, for a Live Aid-style concert to be held there.
Eden Park is asking its partners, sponsors and friends for support and urging them to make a submission on the T20 cricket application, which is live on the council website now.
But park trust board chief executive Nick Sautner said Eden Park was not seeking a change to the Unitary Plan.
That hasn't stopped Fowler's pledge to pursue changes.
Kingsland Business Society manager Claire Baxter-Cardy wants to see up to 15 more major events, including concerts, at Eden Park each year.
"No one's going to die from it," she said. "The neighbourhood is going to thrive and so is business, at an inconvenience to one or two people by having a concert to 11pm and a cricket match. I don't think it's a big deal. It's being blown out of proportion by people seeing problems that aren't going to be there."
Kingsland restaurateur Phillip Clark said big events at Eden Park were the lifeblood of many restaurants and cafes in the area.
He and wife Marine kept their 8-month-old cafe Kingsland Social open by their own long hours and the money they make from their 4-½-year-old Phil's Kitchen restaurant.
"Without holding these events at Eden Park businesses like mine would simply not exist as we do not have enough business offices in the area to support us in the day during the week and events in the weekend.
"It's the only time most businesses in the area are making money. That's why the [ownership] turnover of restaurants in the area is very high."
Mark Donnelly, of the Eden Park Neighbours Association, did not return Herald calls, but by email said, "... this just sounds like a rehashing of the ongoing meaningless std [standard] pr/spin – if there's any actual story, happy to comment eg an actual plan change application, or even a political party policy ie a real story rather than helping some candidate's profile raising. Otherwise this the 4-5th time this has been pushed as a story to various people … and no real story."