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If you build it, they will come
The Dominion Post
Wednesday, 14 February 2007

The debate around the refurbishment of Eden Park is embarrassing

After the New Zealand Rugby Union produced such a slick and polished bid in 2005 to secure the rights to the 2011 World Cup, it seems absurd that the various groups involved in preparing a stadium for the final have been in such a muddle.

A waterfront stadium was the obvious choice, but there was too little time for that to happen.

The easiest choice was North Harbour Stadium, where there is ample land and few resource constraints. Sure, it's not close to established pubs and restaurants, but so what?

Stadium Australia in Sydney is a 30-minute train ride from the central city to the middle of nowhere. Stade de France and Twickenham are also a decent distance from central Paris and London, while Ellis Park's neighbour is a tower occupied by Nigerian drug lords so dangerous that Johannesburg police refuse to go inside.

North Harbour Stadium could and perhaps still might be a success if government and local bodies built a railway line to it or improved the existing bus lanes, but then public transport has never been high on their list of things to do.

So we are left with Eden Park and politicians of various sway and importance who can't pull their fingers from their proverbials and get the thing developed.

If they don't get cracking they will still be pointing their fingers at each other when the IRB takes the World Cup off New Zealand and gives it to South Africa.