Green Party Sports Spokesperson Keith Locke and Act New Zealand leader Rodney Hide have both applauded the Cabinet decision to dump the waterfront stadium and proceed with Eden Park as the venue for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
“This is a great victory for the people of Auckland. It is also a victory for common sense, for rugby – and democracy. In the end, the Government could not go ahead with a waterfront stadium in the teeth of so much opposition from so many quarters,” Mr Locke says.
“Thank goodness we have managed to stop the dopey idea of building a stadium on Auckland’s beautiful waterfront. Today’s decision shows that Government cannot get its way just by holding a gun to the head of Auckland,” Mr Hide says.
“Today’s decision was inevitable – Aucklanders have overwhelmingly rejected building a ‘great white whale’ upon the waterfront. The Government should have listened to Kiwis’ concerns from the start, instead of trying to bully people into an option they never wanted,” Mr Hide says.
“A waterfront stadium would have been town planning madness, despoiling the harbour edge for years to come – and it would have left Auckland local bodies in significant debt, ” Mr Locke says.
“We have two challenges now. Firstly, to develop Eden Park in the most cost-effective way for the World Cup. And secondly, to transform the wharves that the stadium would have been built on, from a car park into a recreational area accessible to everyone, ” Mr Locke says.
“This victory reminds us that anything can be achieved when we work together for a common goal. What matters now is that people get behind the Eden Park re-development, so the All Blacks will have the best possible venue to win the 2011 Rugby World Cup,” Mr Hide says.