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Mayor opposes paying for stadium
06 December 2006

Papakura mayor John Robertson won't support any moves to dip into the pockets of ratepayers to help fund the Eden Park upgrade.

The Papakura District Council has not yet been asked to contribute towards the multimillion dollar upgrade for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and Mr Robertson says he will oppose any requests.

City and district councils across Auckland could be asked to contribute to a shortfall that could be more than $200 million if the government won't pay.

Pressure is going on the Auckland Regional Council by Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard, whose council has set aside about $50 million for the upgrade and associated projects.

"The view that I have on this is that the ratepayers of greater Auckland should not be asked to contribute," Mr Robertson says.And Mr Robertson says ratepayers of greater Auckland should not be asked to contribute.

"This event was secured by the government and the New Zealand Rugby Union and the proposal was for a national stadium.

"I don't think it is fair to come to Papakura ratepayers and ask them to contribute through rates to a national stadium."

Mr Robertson is also calling for cost-cuts.

"I think there needs to be some realism and the costs need to be trimmed.

"To build a 60,000 seat stadium that's permanent and that would seldom be filled just does not make sense.

"I think they need to take away the whole gold-plating of this and be realistic about what there is a demand for long-term, not just the world cup."

Installing temporary seats would be one way of cutting costs, he says.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis has a similar view and says Manukau City Council has played no part in decisions over the upgrade and will not contribute funding towards it.

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

A financing plan for the project is expected to be released on December 13.