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Eden Park still hoping for extra permanent stand
Tuesday February 20, 2007
By Alastair Bull

Eden Park bosses still hope they can build a new permanent east stand in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final rather than use temporary seating, but they'll have to find the money themselves.

The Government yesterday turned down the Eden Park Trust Board's $385 million fully-enclosed upgrade plan in favour of a $175 million-$190 million upgrade, which includes a new south stand and about 10,000 temporary seats.

Rugby World Cup Minister Trevor Mallard and world cup company boss Jock Hobbs said temporary seating was common at large events, including the last two summer Olympics.

But Cabinet also agreed to the trust board's request to explore whether permanent rather than temporary seating could be built where the Panasonic Stand and eastern terraces currently stand.

This was agreed on the understanding that no central or local government funding would be used, and with no reduction in seat numbers.

Eden Park chief executive John Alexander said he hadn't given up on building a permanent eastern stand, which he said would cost about $60 million.

"That would be at our cost, so we have to do our homework to make sure we can achieve that," he said.

"We'll be working very hard to deliver a new east stand whose seating would be comparable if not better than the temporary seating.

"There's every possibility it can be ready by 2011. We'll start tomorrow."

The upgrade includes building a new south stand which would include an extra 4000 covered seats and improved facilities for players, officials, media and corporate entertainment, pushing Eden Park's permanent seating from 47,000 to about 51,000.

Temporary seating would be used to make up the remaining 9000 seats to meet the International Rugby Board's requirement of a 60,000 stadium for the final, with more possibly to be installed.

Mr Mallard told a media conference at Eden Park yesterday that the Government had considered both cheaper and more expensive options before settling on this plan.

"The key thing for us was that it had to meet the bid requirements and it had to be a high-quality of seating for the tournament," he said.