Locke, Hide call for Government to drop waterfront option

Green Party Sports Spokesperson Keith Locke and Act New Zealand leader Rodney Hide are disturbed by media rumours that Sports Minister Trevor Mallard is asking the Cabinet for more time to pursue the waterfront stadium.

“There can be no more dilly dallying. On the other side of the world, the World Cup authorities must be wondering whether once again, New Zealand is proving itself an unreliable host for this tournament It has been 48 hours since the Auckland Regional Council unanimously rejected the waterfront stadium. The Government has to scrap that option and move on – because New Zealand cannot afford to jeopardise its chances of hosting the World Cup,” Mr Locke says.

“People are waiting to see where the World Cup final will be played. There is only one credible option – Eden Park – and the Government should accept the inevitable and announce it now,” Mr Hide says.

“Instead of hiding behind Cabinet collective responsibility, Trevor Mallard should front up to the people of Auckland himself, and admit that he was wrong,” Mr Hide says.

“Trevor Mallard has wasted too much of the taxpayers money already pursuing his folly, There can be no justification for one more dollar of Government expenditure on a stadium which Aucklanders have clearly rejected,” Mr Locke says.

“The Auckland Regional Council, representing seven Auckland local bodies, has unanimously rejected the waterfront project, and it effectively owns the port land on which any such stadium would be built, through its subsidiary Auckland Regional Holdings,” Mr Locke says.

“The ARC decision effectively trumps the Auckland city council vote, which in any case was for a stadium on Bledisloe Wharf, a site rejected by both the Government and the ARC. Neither council voted for the Government’s Captain Cook wharf site,” Mr Locke says.

“Prime Minister Helen Clark should knock the waterfront option on the head now, and put it out of its misery, The Greens will be asking further questions in Parliament about how much the Government has spent on this pointless exercise so far, and how much this two-week circus has cost Auckland local government,” Mr Locke says.