The Warriors will fight to keep their home at Mt Smart, but new chief executive Jim Doyle believes a waterfront venue remains the best long-term solution to Auckland's stadium conundrum.

Doyle is against the NRL club moving to Eden Park or North Harbour Stadium, and wants the council to revisit the waterfront stadium idea and give Auckland a world-class multi-purpose sporting and events venue in the centre of the city.

In 2006, a Government proposal for a $500 million waterfront stadium at Marsden Wharf triggered furious debate before the idea was eventually shelved in favour of the $256 million Eden Park upgrade.

Revisiting this plan would once again divide opinion, but Doyle is adamant a waterfront stadium would help give Auckland an inner-city sporting presence comparable to Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane.


A waterfront stadium was proposed before the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"We'd like to stay here at Mt Smart," said Doyle. "It's the home for the Warriors and, for me, it doesn't make any logical sense, the way things are at the moment, for us to move to Eden Park.

"It's not a great fan experience, Eden Park. It's not great to get to transport-wise, it's not a rectangular stadium so it's not ideal from a fan's point of view and it's not good from a cost point of view. And North Harbour is not an option for us either. We'll have to work and fight to do what we can to try to stay here."

Doyle is convinced Eden Park's already-substantial debt will only grow with future upgrades or renovations, and believes the time has come for decision-makers to recognise that it is not the best venue for Auckland.

"Eden Park is in significant debt now and is only just servicing the debt, not reducing it. What happens in 10 or 15 years when that stadium has to be refurbished?

"Someone has to take a longer-term view and say that Eden Park isn't really what Auckland needs as the future and make some tough decisions now.

"Maybe they should bring the Blues and ITM Cup here and they could all play at Mt Smart while they are building the waterfront stadium."

24 Nov, 2014 1:57pm
2 minutes to read
24 Nov, 2014 7:08pm
3 minutes to read

If the council remains focused on upgrading an existing site and follows through on its proposed stadium reshuffle, Doyle sees little sense in a costly redevelopment of North Harbour Stadium when that money could help secure the long-term survival of Mt Smart.

"They are planning on spending a lot of money on North Harbour Stadium, so they've got the money to spend somewhere but they don't want to spend it here because they want to resolve the speedway problem. Why don't they move the speedway to North Harbour Stadium?"

The former NRL chief operating officer and NZRL chief executive says the waterfront stadium is the most logical solution and could house all football codes.

"It's what I think nearly every Auckland person wants to see. A stadium at the waterfront would make the city come alive every time there was a game on, or if there was a concert or an event.

"You've got the bus hubs in there, you've got the train hubs in there. You've got restaurants, cafes. It would be so vibrant in the whole city.

"It would attract a lot of international people to come here. It would change the whole dynamic."

Blues happy to stay at Eden Park

The Blues Super Rugby franchise are happy to remain at Eden Park and QBE Stadium and have no desire to explore alternative stadium options.
Blues chief executive Michael Redman said they were not interested in supporting any ideas of a waterfront stadium and stressed their commitment to staying at their current venues.
"From a Blues point of view we are happy to work within the current stadium strategy framework.
"We currently utilise two venues, Eden Park and QBE Stadium, which works well for us right now.
"We're certainly not advocating for any change and we're happy to support that stadium strategy framework as it has been outlined.
"Also, realistically we recognise the investments and the commitments that have been made to these current venues and so from our point of view we are happy with that framework."A waterfront stadium was proposed before the 2011 Rugby World Cup.