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Mayoral candidate urges sale of Auckland’s ‘surplus’ Stadiums
Stephen Berry, leader of Affordable Auckland and a candidate in the city's 2016 Mayoral election, believes that Auckland Council should change its entire approach to managing its stadiums.
With the Council’s long awaited stadiums strategy subject to further delays, Berry described Auckland’s stadium situation as a “debacle."
With recent advice that the Council-controlled Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) has been given another year to consult on its strategy, Berry says the Council should kick the current strategy to touch and change its entire approach to managing Auckland’s stadiums.
Berry recently stated "the stadiums strategy will leave sports fans unhappy and ratepayers out of pocket, funding white elephants that sit empty for most of the year.
“Auckland has an oversupply of stadiums and the Auckland Council needs to think seriously about selling one or more of them. For those that remain, we need to make sure the sports codes that use them pay for their fair share of their upkeep.”
Berry says the Council should appoint an independent panel to review the region’s stadiums, with a focus on reducing costs for ratepayers.
He explained “as an example, the council is planning to spend millions upgrading Western Springs to host one cricket match a year.
"This has all the makings of a white elephant, which is ironic considering its close proximity to Auckland Zoo.
"Cities around the world have got themselves into financial strife by spending too much on sports stadiums for little return (and) Auckland needs to avoid making the same mistakes.
"Several of Auckland’s stadiums are in prime locations and would fetch attractive prices if sold.
“The money raised from stadium sales could be used to pay off debt, reduce rates increases or even fund the infrastructure and transport improvements Auckland desperately needs.”
He says it’s “questionable” whether the council should even own stadiums, citing that Eden Park, New Zealand's largest stadium i, is run by a separate trust.
Berry concluded “at the very least, RFA should be merged with another council-controlled organisation, such as ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) to save costs.”
The further delay to the RFA stadium strategy is a concern for the Warriors NRL franchise which has onover plans to move its games to QBE Stadium in Albany.
Image shows the QBE Stadium on Auckland's North Shore.
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