Stop wasting time on white elephants, when we have 3 already

The old waterfront stadium is back on the want list for Auckland’s troughing bludgers.

Those who support the stadium aren’t dipping into their pockets to pay for it and they don’t give a toss how much it costs either.

Neither Auckland Council nor the Government have the spare cash to pay for one. The idea is stupid.

At the risk of being a “nay sayer”, this is not a smart idea for the future of Auckland. A few facts:

In 2006 I remember being interviewed about the possibility in preparation for the Rugby World Cup of 2011. The time-bound nature of construction implied either a cost blowout or a poor-quality building. A project manager friend said to me of big construction – “we target time, cost and quality; now pick any two”. Wise man.

However, the evidence available provided an antidote to hubris. In recent history, stadiums have been a major source of financial strain for their hosts. In 2002 NZ dollar terms, Wembley ($1.5 billion), Stadium Australia ($700 million), Stade de France ($1 billion), Yankee Stadium ($1.4 billion). Therefore the very high estimates from the last time around this block – upwards of $900 million in 2006 prices – is only likely to go in one direction, up. ??

But the fundamental problem is this: the waterfront is not a good location for a stadium.

All substantial stadiums are situated with access from all sides and extensive parking around. Auckland waterfront is not like that. Access is going to be a major problem.

Finance is set to be a show stopper. Is this a government project of national importance? Do we Aucklanders pay? Is it a national burden paid from taxation? Speak to anyone with knowledge of the shoestring on which the RWC redevelopment of Eden Park was run – a series of asking nicely and tortured negotiations for “just a little more” from various governmental agencies.

Add in the unmentioned fact that keeping Auckland’s existing stadiums occupied and financially viable will be even more problematic than it currently is with the additional capacity in the mix.

Auckland already has three large outdoor stadiums – Mt Eden, Albany and Mt Smart. All of them function perfectly fine but Mt Eden is best set up.

I’m not sure what the troughers think is wrong with the present stadia but we sure could do ourselves a favour by ensuring they don’t get airtime. The entire idea is foolish and without merit.

Auckland has already got a stupid white-water rafting centre that’s destined to be a white elephant. It doesn’t need more cruddy wastes of money when it has stuffed in-ground infrastructure, packed roads and is under huge housing pressure.

Get some priorities straight.


– NZ Herald