Having travelled the world and attended sports matches and concerts at a number of outstanding stadiums around the world, there are a couple of shared aspects that make them a true success.

They are in the heart of the city, and their seating capacity is appropriate for its population.

Auckland is our largest city and in 99.9 per cent of the cases, the first touchpoint for people entering New Zealand.

It's time for Auckland to start to think, look and act as if it truly is an international city - but of course that requires vision and planning, something the city has been well short of.


However, this year Aucklanders have the chance to elect a mayor and councillors who can provide the type of visionary thinking this city needs, because it is a fantastic city, a beautiful city with so much potential for driving economic growth that will benefit the country.

It's important to have good people behind the concept of a downtown stadium and Warriors CEO Jim Doyle, Regional Facilities Auckland CEO Chris Brooks and mayoral candidate Phil Goff have indicated strongly that they are, which is great as this helps keep the debate top of mind.

However, this idea needs support and needs to be championed by media, tertiary institutions, businesses and the communities of Auckland, to become a reality.

While this would normally be a council initiative to set the vision of how something like this might work for the benefit of everyone, would it be a good idea to involve other interested people with skills, experience and expertise to contribute and to truly think laterally to get it right?

Constructing a downtown stadium needs to stack up financially and be commercially viable.

I can hear the knockers now - "it's a waste of money" and "the money should be spent on health and education".

However, building a 35,000-seat stadium in downtown Auckland that sells out regularly will generate revenue and growth for businesses. That translates into employment and a better standard of living for people, which means an improvement in people's health and education.

Just imagine the magic: you train or bus into town, go to one of the many eateries that are thriving across Wynyard Quarter, the Viaduct or Queens Wharf, then walk to the stadium and watch a Warriors game on a Friday night, perhaps a Blues game on the Saturday night, and potentially a concert on a Sunday night.

After the game you wander to a favourite bar to dissect the game with friends, or grab a train or bus home with the family. There are package deals that allow you to save money if you buy multiple tickets across a week or a month, and family concessions.

What would that do for Auckland and more importantly what would that do for its people?

While the Warriors have been assured their home will be Mt Smart until at least 2028, I give a guarantee that if a waterfront stadium was built before this that met NRL requirements, the Warriors Board would support an earlier move, making a waterfront stadium the new home of the Vodafone Warriors.

Let's be visionary and think about the city we want Auckland to be. Let's make it happen.

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