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ARC snubs request to pump $50m into Eden Park
By Bernard Orsman

Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee has rejected an approach by a Government agency to contribute $50 million to upgrade Eden Park.

While he favoured making a contribution, Mr Lee said, anywhere near that figure would be overwhelmingly lost if it went to a council vote.

He stressed the regional council was doing more than its fair share to ensure electric trains and entertainment at the Tank Farm were ready by 2011 for the Rugby World Cup.

Auckland City mayoral candidate John Banks has upset efforts by the Government to negotiate a financial package for the $190 million upgrade by promising not to spend ratepayers' money on the project.

Mayor Dick Hubbard said Mr Banks' approach was "cheap-shot electioneering" and had the potential to damage relations with Wellington. The Government was pouring considerable sums into things such as rail electrification, State Highway 20 and the Auckland Art Gallery upgrade.

"We have to be careful we don't cut off our nose to spite our face," Mr Hubbard said.


AdvertisementHe said Mr Banks, when mayor, was happy to spend $750,000 seeking resource consent for the V8 car race and offer an interest-free loan of $3.5 million to the race organisers.

Mr Hubbard said he supported a council finance package of between $50 million and $60 million for the cup. This included about $23 million for Eden Park, conditional on the regional council matching it dollar-for-dollar.

Mr Lee has described this demand as "schoolground local politics" and said he had been sounded out for $50 million for Eden Park.

He was worried Eden Park was becoming a divisive issue and urged politicians to address the matter in a calm and objective manner.