Two senior Auckland councillors have cast doubt on an early start to a national stadium sunken into the harbour seabed, saying it has to be considered alongside other stadium plans and the future of the city's port.

Finance committee chairman Ross Clow says he cannot see a wider stadium debate occurring before the next 10-year budget in 2021.

Planning committee chairman Chris Darby has confirmed that the railway land at Quay Park opposite Spark Arena is the preferred location for a downtown stadium in a confidential pre-feasibility study by PwC.

We welcome the opportunity to put our proposal against Quay Park and the Eden Park option

He also said Bledisloe Wharf, where the Auckland Waterfront Consortium want to build a national stadium, was in the PwC mix. Other options are Wynyard Quarter, Victoria Park and keeping Eden Park.

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Consortium chairman Dave Wigmore said an element of delay is going to be problematic, saying the debate needs to be brought forward.

"We welcome the opportunity to put our proposal against Quay Park and the Eden Park option," he said.

The plan is to build a fully enclosed football stadium seating 50,000 and up to 65,000 for major international events alongside Bledisloe Wharf on the waterfront.

The stadium's construction costs would be funded by handing over Eden Park and Bledisloe Wharf to a developer to build apartments and commercial buildings.

Schematic aereal plan for a proposed waterfront stadium to be built aprtially submerged on the Bledisloe Wharf on the Auckland Waterfront.
Schematic aereal plan for a proposed waterfront stadium to be built aprtially submerged on the Bledisloe Wharf on the Auckland Waterfront.

Wigmore accepted there was little chance of receiving council funding for the next phase of work costing $4 million, but was confident of private sector backing and public support for the project.

"We have had significant interest from offshore developers," he said.

Wigmore said he has a key meeting with Sports Minister Grant Robertson on November 29.

Darby and Clow each ruled out providing ratepayer funding to test the national stadium. The council has already turned down a request for funding.

Clow said the council was focused on the next stage of its stadium strategy that includes moving speedway from Western Springs to a new track at Colin Dale Park, and a funding request from its regional facilities arm for more spending at Western Springs where there are plans for a national cricket ground.

The council also had the financial future of Eden Park to consider, he said.

Clow could not see a downtown stadium debate occurring until the next 10-year budget cycle in 2021, which would have to include Quay Park and Eden Park as options.

Auckland councillor Ross Clow.
Auckland councillor Ross Clow.

Clow and Darby also pointed to an Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy commissioned by Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones, due to report in February or March next year.

The strategy - part of the coalition agreement between Labour and New Zealand First - is looking at the options for moving the Ports of Auckland, including giving Northport serious consideration.

Darby has asked for reports to come to the planning committee later this month on how the council might plan for a post-port future and handle ideas, like the national stadium, a cultural centre and another plan for the port land from Archimedia.