The "hallowed turf" of Eden Park is at the end of its natural life, according to the park's trust bard, and it would like the Auckland Council to pay for its replacement. Though the Herald learned of this request only this week it was made to Mayor Phil Goff last year. Clearly the mayor was in no hurry to pass the request to the council and nor should he be.
The cost of the turf replacement is about $1.5 million, or the equivalent of two or three All Black salaries, and those would not be the highest paid players. Goff could quietly suggest to NZ Rugby — possibly already has — that the hallowed turf might be worth that much to the game. Eden Park is easily its largest New Zealand venue, enlarged for the 2011 Rugby World Cup with the help of a $40m loan underwritten by Auckland ratepayers. The council is also owed $6.5m for work on the ASB Stand.
The Eden Park Trust exists for the benefit of rugby and cricket and the stadium also hosts the occasional lucrative limited over match, so maybe NZ Cricket ought to contribute too. The board will not want to be seeking money from the trust's beneficiaries but those sporting organisations could take the initiative.
A sum of $1.5m would not seem fearful for professional sports organisations, especially one as well sponsored as NZ Rugby. It is, however, money that a city council ought to be spending on services that cannot be self-supporting. If this request comes to the council, it should kick it to touch.