Home About the Association Become a Member Register for Newsletters/Updates Contact Us
Tell a Neighbour/Friend
Community Links
Association Rules
Privacy Policy - Terms & Conditions
If councils split, it's hard to pick a winner
Thursday November 23, 2006
By Paula Oliver

Political support for Auckland's proposed waterfront stadium looks uncertain should the city and regional councils be split on the issue.

Acting Rugby World Cup Minister Michael Cullen yesterday told Parliament that special legislation required to build the stadium did not require the support of the National Party.

But he was unable to confirm the backing of Labour's support partners United Future and New Zealand First for the legislation.

"Any legislation to empower the construction of any stadium will require 61 votes, which may or may not include the 48 votes of the National Party," Dr Cullen said.

Asked by Act leader Rodney Hide whether he had a commitment from United Future and New Zealand First to back special legislation, Dr Cullen said the Government was waiting for a decision from Auckland.

"The nature of that decision may well have a serious impact on the nature of any support which is given, and therefore the potential to pass any legislation," he said.

A raft of special legislation will be needed to build the waterfront stadium, including amendments to get the project through the resource consent process quickly.

National has already pledged to support legislation that might be needed to get Eden Park redeveloped, but it has not given its backing to legislation for the waterfront stadium.

United Future is sticking to a position it outlined last week, that it would back whatever "unified decision" Auckland made.

New Zealand First has tentatively endorsed the waterfront proposal.

Confusion surrounds what would happen if Auckland's two councils were split. Rugby World Cup Minister Trevor Mallard last week shifted the goalposts when he said unanimity was no longer needed for the waterfront stadium to proceed.

There is a view around Parliament that Mr Mallard is so keen to go ahead with the waterfront project that he may plough on even if one of the councils doesn't choose the stadium.

But support from smaller parties is far from certain under the scenario.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said that it was not for central government to charge in and tell councils what to do, and has argued that the stadium is a local decision, which should be made locally.

Neither United Future nor New Zealand First was able to confirm yesterday what stance they would take if the councils were split.

Mr Mallard's office was also unable to say what would take place tomorrow when the councils' decisions were given to the Government. Adding to the confusion is public opposition to the waterfront project, which may influence smaller parties' positions.