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Eden Park says ARC should contribute to shortfall
Tuesday November 28, 2006

Auckland Regional Council should stump up some of the $175 million shortfall for an upgrade of Eden Park as the benefits of the facility will flow across the region, Eden Park Development Committee chairman Rob Fisher says.

The Government yesterday abandoned the idea of a waterfront stadium, opting instead for an estimated $385 million upgrade of Eden Park.

But exactly who will pay is up in the air.

A Cabinet paper said the Eden Park Trust Board would provide $60m - made up of $17.5m debt and $42.5m from non-public sector sources, for instance corporate box and membership sales.

Rugby World Cup Minister Trevor Mallard said he understood the Auckland City Council had put aside $50m for the stadium proposal.

The trust board was also forecasting $20m from trust grants, $30m from Rugby New Zealand 2011 and $50m from the Lotteries Commission.

However that left $175 million to be met by the Government "and related sources".

Mr Mallard said he was waiting to hear from the ARC, but chairman Mike Lee yesterday said it would not contribute as it would be putting substantial funds into transport upgrades.

Mr Fisher today said he believed the ARC should contribute.

"It is at least a regional facility. We know our patrons come right throughout the region. They don't all come from Auckland City and the benefits don't all stay in Auckland City," Mr Fisher said today on National Radio.

"The money that is spent by visitors...is right throughout the region. That's some basis for saying the ARC should help."

Mr Fisher said Eden Park trust board accepted that its make-up would change as a result of the upgrade.

He said he expected the Government would now negotiate the funding details with various parties and then the board would be reformed to reflect those paying for the upgrade.

Mr Lee today said the ARC still favoured the idea of a regional contribution through bed and airport taxes, despite the Government already ruling out the idea.

He would not make any commitment to a different contribution until he had spoken to the Government.

"The Government is sitting on a $9 billion surplus," he said on National Radio.

"They went to Dublin, they made the commitments and I think that Auckland regional ratepayers are rightly wary of having to pay for one stadium when they were told that they wouldn't have to pay for a waterfront stadium out of their rates."