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Clark hopes Cabinet will find 'clear direction' on stadium
11.30am Monday November 27, 2006

Cabinet will this afternoon discuss the stadium impasse and Prime Minister Helen Clark says she hopes it will be able to find "a clear direction" to move forward.

The Auckland Regional Council voted unanimously on Friday for Eden Park. On Thursday, the Auckland City Council voted 12-8 for the waterfront but broke ranks with the Government over the site. A Herald-DigiPoll survey and unofficial polls also came out anti-waterfront.

Helen Clark said there had been a healthy debate around the stadium issue.

"Auckland, surprise, surprise, didn't deliver any kind of unanimous verdict on that, and that's what cabinet will address today," she said on TV One's Breakfast programme.

"We're looking to move forward, and we hope to be able to provide a clear direction on that later today."

Helen Clark said cabinet would have recommendations in front of it from Trevor Mallard, the minister in charge of the World cup arrangements.

Mr Mallard has been trying to sell the option of a new Stadium New Zealand on the waterfront, which is the Government's choice, but it has fallen foul of local government uncertainty over its viability.

Opposition parties are putting pressure on the Government to make a decision.

"There can be no more dilly dallying," said ACT leader Rodney Hide and Green Party MP Keith Locke.

"On the other side of the world the World Cup authorities must be wondering whether once again New Zealand is proving itself an unreliable host for this tournament."

Mr Hide originally proposed Carlaw Park as an alternative option, but the Government ruled that out.

Now he and Mr Locke are backing an upgrade of Eden Park.

Mr Mallard is refusing to comment ahead of today's cabinet meeting.

"I have received recommendations from both the Auckland City Council and the Auckland Regional Council," he said on Friday, which was the last time he said anything about the stadium problem.

"Those recommendations are not consistent, and what I'm going to do is report that to Cabinet on Monday."