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Mike's Minute: Auckland Council couldn't deliver on the stadium design

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Feb 2024, 11:24AM

Mike's Minute: Auckland Council couldn't deliver on the stadium design

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Feb 2024, 11:24AM

By now you will have seen the drawings of the new stadium in Auckland. 

It has come with the usual bullish talk of doability and vision, the way all these sort of concept drawings do. 

The old stadium debate didn’t start this past weekend and if you go back through all the drawings and visions and debates, the one thing you will find at the end of it all is we still don’t have a new stadium, or indeed anything close to it. 

The Auckland Council, in a fit of what I can only assume was overt bullishness (or they had been drinking), called for expressions of interest. 

That’s always the easy bit. Have a meeting, talk big and call for ideas. 

Well, this latest idea, or drawing of an idea, is superb. It's as good a concept as I have seen. 

It's on the waterfront where I think most sensible people have concluded it should be. Its modern and maybe even futuristic. 

The claim is it could be our Sydney Opera house, and they may be right. 

But this is Auckland and if you haven't seen Auckland lately, she's not a pretty sight. She is increasingly a dishevelled, disorganised dump of a sight. 

The council is close to broke and arguing about rates, the beaches close when it rains, there are massive holes in the ground, people still haven't been sorted out since the storms a year ago, it costs $300,000 to build a speed hump, $600,000 for a pedestrian crossing, the rail project is billions over budget and years overdue and homelessness and violence riddle the central city. 

This is not a city capable of a lot and certainly not a visionary, intergenerational, recreation monument to creative thinking. 

The drawing is more for Abu Dhabi, or Dubai, or even Las Vegas where the private sector and the size of the domestic market could make it pay. 

Singapore, a small country the size of ours population wise, could do it because they have their act together. 

Christchurch could tell you a thing or two about building facilities for sport, and theirs isn't finished, isn't close to being finished, or anywhere near as grand as the Auckland drawing. 

What the plan really shows is just how far short of what we want to be and where we really are. It's only value, sadly, is it’s a quality project, a bold vision. 

But they have presented to people not even close to being capable of making it a reality. 

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