Andrew Gourdie: Why weak leadership has already sunk Auckland waterfront stadium

OPINION: You know how the old saying goes - if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

So forgive me for being more than a little cynical when a group of Auckland businesses get together and tell us that not only will they build the world class, 50,000-seat stadium many of us have dreamed of on Auckland's waterfront, but it'll come at no cost to ratepayers and taxpayers.

That's right - it won't cost you a cent.

And while they're at it, they'll do their bit to ease the housing crisis by planting a pile of residential dwellings, both at the waterfront and at the site currently occupied by Eden Park.

CV TBC, for you first-home buyers.

It almost sounds like a pitch from someone running for the mayoralty and it will pile all of the pressure on the man occupying the seat.

Phil Goff was the man who put the waterfront stadium debate back on the table. Well Phil, now it's here.

And the Auckland Waterfront Consortium has presented the best, most appealing, most palatable proposal we've seen yet on this controversial issue.

I applaud the people and businesses involved in this consortium. An awful lot of time, effort and planning that has gone into this proposal.

They are clearly passionate about this project and finding a way to make it happen.

Andrew Gourdie: Why weak leadership has already sunk Auckland waterfront stadium
Photo credit: Supplied
Andrew Gourdie: Why weak leadership has already sunk Auckland waterfront stadium
Photo credit: Supplied
Andrew Gourdie: Why weak leadership has already sunk Auckland waterfront stadium
Photo credit: Supplied

But folks, this ain't gonna happen. 

Why? Because their ambition and foresight for this city is no match for the negativity and 'can't-do' attitude of the people who run it.

There seems to be a view that Auckland is a city do be endured, rather than enjoyed and the longer that continues, the shorter their stay in power will be.

Goff's response on Friday morning? "There are a lot of hurdles."

Ugh.

Central government's no better. To hear Labour MP Michael Wood on The AM Show on Friday morning, not even prepared to consider taking this proposal to the next stage of consideration, was sad, weak, defeatist leadership.

There is no perfect, easy, rip-off-the-band-aid solution to this problem. People will say there are bigger problems or that a waterfront stadium is the ultimate first-world problem.

Well, this is a first-world country, this city deserves better than the average facilities sports fans are forced to put up with and it certainly deserves better than the indecisive leadership that put the city in this position in the first place. 

There are elements of this plan that will require concessions to be made by Government, Auckland Council and the Eden Park Trust Board. They all need to ask themselves one question - are they here to serve the people and sports fans of Auckland or themselves?

The success or failure of this proposal will tell us all we need to know.

Andrew Gourdie is Newshub sports presenter and RadioLIVE Sunday Sport host. 

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