Posted on March 15, 2016
Aucklanders will be astonished to hear that a $100 million Eden Park upgrade bill is in the pipeline says Mayoral candidate Mark Thomas
“With the disclosure that Eden Park is unable to provide the $7-8 million per needed in annual depreciation, a very large deferred maintenance bill is heading Auckland’s way. In 15 years’ time that bill will have exceeded $100M and ratepayers already underwrite a $40 million dollar loan agreed to as part of the $256 million Rugby World Cup upgrade.”
“The Mayor has avoided making the big calls to solve this. He could have supported a relaxation of Eden Park consent conditions so it can undertake more activity or he could have planned for a new stadium. The default we now learn is a hundred million maintenance bill every 15 years.”
“This news has big implications for Auckland. Len Brown has spent 5 years trying to implement a new stadium strategy for Auckland but this has struggled to resolve much at all. Five years ago we started with too many stadia in the wrong place, costing us too much. Five years on, little has changed.”
“Auckland gets a big economic benefit from Eden Park. Yet the Mayor’s strategy says nothing about what will happen when it comes back to council to help pay for future development.”
“It’s concerning to hear that Eden Park has not been closely involved in the region’s strategy plans as both it and the government are key partners with council in resolving its future.”
Thomas said he was a fan of a downtown stadium when that was promoted in 2006. However any new stadium would need a catalyst and a 2031 Rugby World Cup could be that.
“It’s not so hard to imagine that 20 years after we so successfully hosted the last cup, the event could return down-under. Either Europe or South Africa will follow Japan as hosts in 2023 and the loser of this could host 2027. This would make 2031 a good time for a return down-under.”
Meanwhile Auckland has many other urgent transport and housing infrastructure priorities that remain unfunded and are ahead of a new stadium in the funding queue.
Thomas said if elected Mayor he would look at options for a new stadium if Eden Park’s operating rules cannot be changed and if the Government was committed.