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No Manukau cash for Eden Park
02 December 2006
By MICHAEL OTTO

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says his council has played no part in decisions over the upgrade of Eden Park and won't put any funding towards it.

The latest upgrade proposal from the Eden Park Trust Board comes with a price tag of $385 million.

Media reports say a financing plan is expected to be released by the government in mid-December to address a funding shortfall as high as $225m.

Eden Park's capacity has to be increased from about 47,500 to 60,000 for the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Sir Barry says the assumption has been made that councils will pick up a large portion of cost.

But Manukau city has not budgeted for spending on Eden Park and it wouldn't be right to get a bill for something it had no part in planning and hadn't agreed to fund, he says.

"We have not been consulted and it is wrong to assume that we and other councils in the region will automatically stump up for an extravagant and expensive project, which I believe is unnecessary.

"We should not go overboard on the upgrade, given that many other important regional infrastructure projects are crying out for funding."

The Eden Park Trust Board made a presentation to the Manukau council's strategic directions committee in September. "My understanding is that no mention of funding was made there - it was simply a presentation of their plan at the time," Sir Barry says.

He doesn't support the "deluxe upgrade of a private facility at the public's expense" where the extra capacity would amount to a cost of $30,000 a seat.

"If the current plan goes ahead we would be faced with an expensive white elephant because there will be few large events in the future needing seating for 60,000 people. I believe the whole upgrade can be done for a relatively small amount of money by using temporary seating that can be removed when the world cup is over.

"The cost for that option has been put at around $40m.

"But even if it is higher, it would be much less than the cost of the deluxe upgrade."

Media reports say building a new south stand only at Eden Park at a cost of $160m would meet world cup requirements.