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Auckland's turf war
22 November 2006

By the end of the week the nation will have a better idea of where in Auckland the 2011 Rugby World Cup final is to be held: at a revamped Eden Park or a brand-new waterfront stadium said the Nelson Mail in an editorial on Wednesday.


The other options, including the most sensible in terms of cost, Jade Stadium in Christchurch, have been pushed across the touchline. Auckland regional and city councillors have to choose between the waterfront and Eden Park, the former being sold as a visionary proposal to build Auckland's international profile; the latter as the slightly more affordable alternative.

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Low fares to OZ from $179ow!No matter which way the councillors vote, the whole exercise is already a monument to poor planning. A year ago and against the odds, New Zealand won the right to host the cup with a passionate declaration of national devotion to the game - and a promise of rock-solid support from the Government.

It would have been unrealistic to expect the stadium plans to have been finalised before the International Rugby Board's decision but it is dismaying to find such lack of foresight 12 months later.

The waterfront stadium is a bold plan and, if it were to have a chance of success, should have been conceived earlier. Given the public opposition and the engineeering difficulties it would face, there is precious little time to complete such an ambitious project before cup final day. Then there is the cost, given at $500 million but sure to go much higher.

If the final must be in Auckland, Eden Park is the only suitable choice now - though the cost of adding 13,500 seats has gone through the roof to reach a ridiculous $380 million. Canterbury could hit the magic 60,000-seat mark for much less and, if Eden Park gets the nod, it should be reminded of that. A sense of perspective is required.