Eden Park $40m Score: Banks 1, Brown 0


Auckland Mayor John Banks is 100% right in not committing ratepayers money to helping Eden Park out of its mess.

He promised he wouldn’t and it would be political suicide to change in an election year.

At a news conference today, Eden Park redevelopment chairman John Waller revealed that the Eden Park Trust Board has known for some time there’s is a $40 million shortfall for funding the park’s RWC development and he warned that there’s “no silver bullet” in finding the money.

In the joint news conference with Banks, he said that the board was not able to borrow as it couldn’t sustain large levels of debt and would have to rely on things like sponsorship, which was tough in recessionary times.

Unless the council fronted up.

He said in other areas of the country, regional councils and councils had contributed to stadium development.

In Auckland, the ARC had provided  $10m to complement the Government’s $190m, the rugby union’s $10m and the ASB Trust’s $6.5m.

Banks told the media conference that as mayor of the city, he wanted the park development completed and for the event to be a success for the city but he was not involved in day-to-day budgeting of Eden Park and had not been involved in the bringing of the event to New Zealand.

Making it clear there had been no deal, the mayor said he had made no promises to the trust board around the shortfall issue.

And that’s exactly how it should be. The ratepayer did not vote for the event and everyone was assured it could be funded.

Now, a year out, we learn of a massive $40m shortfall that can not be realistically found through business sponsorship, memberships or substantial cutbacks to the park development.

Mr Waller said he had been making this shortfall known to both the council and the government for some time so one assumes that the fact it’s now being made public means neither body has come forward with any idea of a solution.

One wonders what other surprises are in store as the event nears.

It's too late to divert the Sandringham Rd council work funding

Manukau Mayor Len Brown has since issued a statement calling for the new super council to underwrite it.

“The underwriting required means the council will act as a guarantee on loans which the Eden Park Redevelopment Trust needs to raise to pay for the final stages of the project while it secures commercial sponsorships.

“While the underwriting may never be called upon, if it is it will be on a commercial basis and paid back to ratepayers.

“I call on Auckland’s civic leaders to support Eden Park and the World Cup.  It is time to cut through the logjams which are occurring and ensure that this city has in place the infrastructure needed to be a superb host to the world’s third largest sporting event.”

If it’s unlikely the $40m can be found now, it’s going to end up being wiped off the books at ratepayers’ expense if it’s underwritten by the council. Or there will have to be unthinkable cutbacks in council activities to pay for it.

And who can be sure the $40m won’t blow out to even more before the park, now two-thirds finished, is completed.

Are we really surprised about this?




  1. Ingolfson says:

    Seems someone is about to topple:

    “Auckland City Council (ACC) will not respond to requests for funding to underwrite some of the cost of the Eden Park revamp until it has seen a business case, Mayor John Banks says.”

    Sounds like a “Okay, we’ll pay for it, just give us something to cover our ass” kind of response to me. Why not let Mr Key stump up for it? He’s the one who has been going all party-central on us.

  2. Ian says:

    This blog is taking on a political feel.

  3. Jon C says:

    @Ian Dont fear. Nothing’s changed!

  4. Ingolfson says:

    Admittedly, the stadium funding has little to do with transport…

  5. Max says:

    Herald of Friday:

    “The mayoral forum also decided today it would underwrite $40 million for Eden Park to help it get loans to complete its upgrade in time for the Rugby World Cup.”

    As I suspected. We will all get a rates rise for the stadium.


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