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Plan for Eden Park cleared
The Government is adamant the view from temporary seats to be built for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final will be top grade and the International Rugby Board appears to agree.

Rugby World Cup Minister Trevor Mallard confirmed yesterday an Eden Park development to bring it to the level required to host the final.

Temporary seating will be added to the top of the existing Eden Terraces and Panasonic Stand, while the South Stand will be rebuilt incorporating new corporate boxes and new media and players' facilities. The low-cost upgrade is expected to cost about $190 million, half the amount originally proposed by the Eden Park Trust Board.

About half of the 60,000 spectators for the final will be sitting on the cheap seats, as some will be placed over the top of existing seating deemed sub-standard. More could be added.

The plan was preferred to a new waterfront stadium and a more ambitious revamp of Eden Park. Mallard said the proposal was considered an improvement on the original plan as it put more temporary seating side-on to the pitch which commanded a higher ticket price rather than end-on, which made the IRB happy.

An IRB delegation will arrive in New Zealand next month to pore over the details. The Cabinet decided yesterday to back the plans. It will confirm how much it will fund after it has talked to other groups. Mallard hoped Auckland ratepayers would also contribute.

Eden Park chief executive John Alexander was disappointed the Government had scuppered its original $385m plan, but pleased there was at least definitive confirmation.

National's sport and recreation spokesman Murray McCully questioned the use of temporary seating as a significant component in the package but said the most important consideration was that Rugby World Cup managers and the IRB approved.