No taxpayer funding for an Auckland waterfront stadium

Westpac Stadium Wellington

The government won’t be stumping up any cash for any waterfront sports stadium in Auckland but Warriors owner Eric Watson has hinted private investors could fund the venue.

The idea for a purpose-built central city stadium has again raised its head, 10 years after the decision was made not to build a $500 million-plus arena for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Prime Minister John Key says the taxpayer won’t be putting any cash towards it.

“Who knows how much it is going to cost. We’ve seen estimates of about a billion, we’ve seen some around $300m,” he told TV3’s Paul Henry.

However, Mr Key said the government wouldn’t stop anyone with the money trying to build it.

Warriors owner and rich lister Eric Watson on Sunday penned a newspaper column saying the Warriors board would support leaving their Mt Smart Stadium home early and make the waterfront their home if a stadium was built there.

He also says there may be appetite in the private sector for such a project, which could help revitalise the central city.

“It would be very interesting to a number of investors including a lot of people I know,” he told Paul Henry.

The work investigating the idea had never been done properly, he said.

Pete says: I  have never really supported the PM on any matter before, but he is right  concerning taxpayer funding of stadiums. The previous Clark Labour Government offered to finance a $500 million plus waterfront  stadium before the Rugby World Cup. About $250 million was later spent on updating Eden Park. Aucklanders rejected the offer as being interference in local affairs. It would have to be privately funded by somebody like Warriors NRL club owner Eric Watson. It is actually a sound idea, but what would you do with all the present stadiums around Auckland? Bulldoze them and turn them into housing areas?


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