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Oh for the good old days when $20m would do the job
Tuesday February 20, 2007
By Brian Rudman

Last week, rumour said the Government was looking at a $50 million-plus upgrade of Eden Park for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. If only that had been true.

Yesterday, the Cabinet supported a "temporary" upgrade costing $175 million to $190 million - and already the Eden Park Trust Board is clamouring to up this price and make the temporary permanent.

Oh to go back to May 2005, when NZ Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs said it could all be done for $20 million.

Admittedly, this latest proposal replaces the tired old south stand with something new. But after a few games of footie in 2011, the 30,000 temporary seats will be taken away, leaving Aucklanders with a make-do stadium that no one is very happy with, and a huge bill.

It's long past time the Government stopped playing silly buggers and told us where it thinks the money is coming from.

It's all very well for Sports Minister Trevor Mallard and the NZRFU to dream their dreams, but the only committed cash for this project is a miserly $10 million from union and $20 million from the Government.

When Mr Mallard was pushing his ill-fated waterfront proposal, he said his "national stadium" would get more Government money if it were chosen, than "regional" Eden Park.

The label is irrelevant. Call it local, regional, national or international, if Mr Mallard wants a $190 million upgraded Eden Park, he's going to have to pay the lion's share because Aucklanders are not of a mind to. If he's not willing, it's time he said so and we start discussing something we can afford.