The consortium planning to build a $1.8 billion waterfront stadium at "zero cost to ratepayers" has sought $4 million from Auckland Council.
Auckland Stadium Consortium chairman Dave Wigmore has confirmed making a request to the council for funding, and plans to approach the Government, private sector and philanthropists for help with the next stage - testing the feasibility of the project.
Wigmore said when the consortium sounded out the council for financial assistance, council officers said the next phase of works was in the order of $4m. A council source said the $4m request came from the consortium, and was turned down.
Asked how the request for public money squared with a promise to build an iconic stadium within 10 years at zero cost to ratepayers, Wigmore said the money would be refunded by the developer when the project went to market in 12 to 18 months. The same would apply to private funding.
If the project did not proceed, Wigmore said, the council or whoever would receive all the intellectual property developed through the facilitation process.
The consortium plans to ask for taxpayer assistance when it meets Sports Minister Grant Robertson.
A spokeswoman said the minister did not have anything to add to earlier comments that he had not met with the consortium but was open to doing so at some point.
"We don't have anything further to add to yesterday's comments as we have yet to meet the consortium."
Ratepayer funding of stadiums is a touchy subject at the council since Mayor Phil Goff received a feasibility report this year by PwC costing $923,000 that looked at several sites, costing between $1.1b and $1.5b.
The report led to Goff receiving a letter from nine of the 19 councillors expressing "strong dissatisfaction" over his handling of access to the report.
The consortium's plan is to build the stadium alongside Bledisloe Wharf at Ports of Auckland on the Waitemata Harbour waterfront. Its top would be level with Quay St, at about 4.5m above the king tide level; its base would be 28m below sea level and 18m below the seabed.
The plan is to fund the stadium's construction by the consortium's being given the rights to build housing on 9ha at Eden Park and develop Bledisloe Wharf with apartments, commercial buildings and public space.
The scheme has had a cool reception in some quarters, although Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said it was an exciting plan.
But even Barnett had predicted it was "inevitable" taxpayers and ratepayers would be called on to pay up.
Auckland Council planning committee chairman Chris Darby said the city did not need a new or fully refurbished stadium any time soon. When it did, the best options would be to build a new one east of Spark Arena or to refurbish Eden Park.
Engineer Mike Murphy said the scheme posed enormous, expensive problems in waterproofing and safe anchoring.