Patrick Gower: Don’t whinge, just build an Auckland stadium

OPINION: Kiwis need to stop having a whinge and just build an Auckland stadium that all New Zealanders can use.

A national stadium on Auckland's waterfront is an ambitious city and nation-building idea.

Sadly, 'the great Kiwi knocking machine' is once again out in force at the mere mention of it.

Aucklanders don't want it because they don't want to use their rates and taxes to pay for it.

Non-Aucklanders don't want it because they don't want their taxes to pay for it.

People who don't like sports think it is a waste of money, and those who actually want a stadium can't agree on what kind or how exactly to pay for it.

In the end, the stadium idea gets knocked down.

The anti-voices drown out the pro-voices and pessimism beats optimism - and the stadium never gets built.

In reality, this is only partly about a stadium. It is only partly about Auckland's failure to plan properly and its inability to unlock itself.

And it is only partly about the 'Auckland versus the rest' divide on how to pay for things.

The failure of the stadium is actually more about how Kiwis lack imagination. We don't like to admit it, but we do.

Surely it is not that hard to build a brilliant-looking stadium that is jointly taxpayer/
ratepayer funded, that is the perfect size for multi-use across all sports, that is perfect for world-class concerts, that has great public transport to it and helps open up Auckland's beautiful waterfront.

Surely it is not that hard to do the research and planning to have a stadium that is 'future-proofed' against becoming a white elephant?

Surely it is not that hard to build a stadium for all New Zealanders?

Sadly, because the knockers say it is too hard, it becomes too hard.

It is time to hit back at the great Kiwi knocking machine - and build the stadium.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's national correspondent