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Eden Park defends its World Cup figures
Tuesday December 12, 2006
By Wayne Thompson

Eden Park Trust Board is sticking by its claim that the 2011 Rugby World Cup could contribute $507 million in additional GDP to the New Zealand economy.

The figure was challenged last week by Auckland City Council economic advisers, who thought it was overstated.

The advisers said this was based on the assumption that a $60 million shortfall on the tournament would be borrowed from overseas.

Commissioners hearing the resource consent bid for the $385 million redevelopment of Eden Park asked for verification of the economic impact.

Yesterday, Market Economics director Greg Akehurst reported to commissioners that the New Zealand Rugby Union would fund its share of the tournament shortfall from reserves rather than borrowing.

The union was generating revenue offshore to ensure there would be enough in reserves to pay their share.

As a result, funds to cover the shortfall would not be a drain on the national economy and there would be no reduction to the estimated economic impact.

Mr Akehurst said the balance of the shortfall was likely to be funded by the Government.

He said expenditure associated with the 2011 tournament would generate $507 million in GDP at a national level and the $262 million spent in Auckland would generate $240 million of regional GDP.

At present Eden Park contributes about $32 million a year to regional GDP from 16-20 matches.

Trust board chief executive John Alexander said the Akehurst report reinforced its view that the World Cup was of significant value to the Auckland and New Zealand economies.

The report was based on spending by the rugby union, including its proposed $30 million contribution to the redevelopment of Eden Park, additional spending by New Zealand residents and spending by overseas visitors attending the games.

Yesterday, some Eden Park neighbours had their say about consents being sought for a $325 million redevelopment proposal, knowing that could be expanded to accommodate a $380 million version.

A director of a company that owns a Sandringham Rd villa, Jeff Fagg, called for the resource consent to be rejected because important aspects of the redevelopment were not detailed in the application.

He said a so-called minor realignment of Sandringham Rd for the proposed footbridge "potentially requires the front of our house to be ripped off".

The designation effectively reduced the potential buyers to only the council or trust board. He said any mitigation package should offer outright purchase and a relocation package.

Resident Jose Luis Fowler said he was "fed up with being stereotyped as a whinger and moaner just because I live near Eden Park".

He saw the development proposal as an opportunity to work with the trust board to get improvements to neighbourhood amenities, including a footbridge over Sandringham Rd, a safer intersection of Walters Rd and Sandringham Rd, and access to parkland.

"I listened carefully at all the consultation meetings how neighbours like ourselves were looking forward to the demolition of the terraces, which are an eyesore and tend to attract a yob culture that we do not appreciate spilling out on to our streets ... "

Mr Fowler said this in a private capacity but as chairman of the Eden Park Residents Association said the most important issue was the proposed stadium shading homes.

The association wants a condition on the resource consent that all residents affected by shading should be compensated.

Another resident Mary O'Donnell said her Cricket Ave home would suffer shading from the stadium in March, September and December.

Privacy would be lost because patrons using the new stadium's enclosed concourse would be able to look down on her house and garden.

A director of a company that owns a Sandringham Rd villa, Jeff Fagg, called for the resource consent to be rejected, because important aspects of the redevelopment were not detailed in the application.

He said a so-called minor realignment of Sandringham Rd for the proposed footbridge "potentially requires the front of our house to be ripped off".

The designation effectively reduced the potential buyers to only the council or trust board. He said any mitigation package should offer both outright purchase and a relocation package.