Auckland waterfront stadium back on the cards

Phil Goff (Paul Henry)
Phil Goff (Paul Henry)

Rich lister Eric Watson, who owns the Warriors rugby league side, says it would be "very interesting" to a lot of people he knows.

"The world sees Auckland as a growth city, an aspirational city, a city to invest in," he told Paul Henry from London. "Auckland's not particularly leveraged, if you look at the total value that's assets, and it's a high-growth opportunity to invest in a stadium -- properly organised, properly managed and surrounded with other commercial activities."

Eden Park's fatal flaw is its location -- though close to a train station, it's surrounded by residential properties, preventing late-running events or big rock concerts. This limitation has seen it running at a loss. Mayoral candidate Phil Goff also says money isn't being set aside to account for depreciation.

"It could be up to a quarter of a billion dollars. Do we want to reinvest a quarter of a billion dollars in a stadium that's in the wrong place? Because it's right in the middle of residential areas, you can't run concerts there. It's seen as a rugby stadium, so the Warriors aren't interested.

"If we're going to have a new stadium, first of all there has to be a big event because it's going to have some Government money. Our city turned down half-a-billion dollars in 2006."

In 2006, then Rugby World Cup Minister Trevor Mallard offered $500 million in taxpayer funding for a waterfront stadium, which the now-defunct Auckland Regional Council rejected.