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Stadium funding critics dubbed 'whingers'
01 December 2006

Auckland City Council staff are digging in to ride out criticism over Eden Park funding.

And opponents of ratepayer handouts for the $385 million revamp have been dubbed "whingers and wowsers", sources inside the council say.

The funding package for the upgrade remains unclear.

Mayor Dick Hubbard says he can no longer guarantee ratepayers won't spend more than $50m on the project.

The Auckland Regional Council is refusing to contribute more than the $1.6 billion allocated for public transport improvements, and neighbouring councils are unlikely to contribute.

Council sources say officers openly talk about having to dig in to ride out criticism, particularly after rates bills soared.

One source told the Central Leader they had heard opponents of the plan described in insulting language many times.

"It's disgusting, it's a complete joke," the source says.

"They call opponents the Ws - whingers and wowsers.

"You've got people, some of them quite highly-placed, wandering around laughing about it.

"They openly boast about how much the council is going to put into the project."

The source said one council staffer described ratepayers as "maggots" and said if they didn't like it, they could go to Huntly.

Another source says the project has split council staff.

"There's a group and they have already learnt to keep their mouths shut, who don't support it for many reasons, but mostly because ratepayers had no chance to oppose it.

"Then there's a group who think ratepayers have to be made to fund things, like it or not."

Both sources agree supporters of the plan within the council have joked about getting even with Eden Park neighbours who campaigned against past development.

Work will have to start next year to be finished in time for the cup and if the consent process drags on, the government could fast-track the process.