Sir Ray Avery defends plan for benefit concert at Eden Park

4:12 pm on 4 July 2018

Sir Ray Avery has hit back at former PM Helen Clark for her opposition to a Live Aid-style concert at Eden Park, which he says would save a million childrens' lives.

General view of Eden Park.
Pakistan tour of New Zealand. T20 Series.2nd Twenty20 international cricket match, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand. Thursday 25 January 2018. © Copyright Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

Photo: Photosport

The proposed concert would raise money to create LifePod incubators for premature babies in developing countries and feature a mystery artist who performed at the original Live Aid in 1985.

Ms Clark said the proposal "appears to be a precedent-setting Trojan horse" that would pave the way for more concerts at the stadium.

"I am very concerned that, given the lack of details and event confirmation, if the event does not eventuate after a concert consent is granted, that such a consent could be varied by the Eden Park Trust and the council, and then be used for some later commercial concert," Ms Clark's submission to Auckland Council said.

The former prime minister added that it would create adverse effects that the organisers have not attempted to mitigate.

Sir Ray Avery

Sir Ray Avery Photo: Supplied

Sir Ray, a pharmaceutical scientist, said he was "incredibly surprised" by Ms Clark's opposition, calling it "incongruous with the person [he] thought she was".

"It almost seems as if she's moved into petty politics rather than the big story here, [which] is that we have an opportunity here to do a concert which will save millions of children's lives."

The concert is opposed by the Eden Park Neighbours' Association, which sent a newsletter to its members warning that the stadium could become New Zealand's loudest venue.

"While linked to a charity, the event itself looks fully commercial, and it doesn't detail charity funding sources," the document said.

The Neighbours' Association called for the concert to be held at Mt Smart Stadium, which it said had 93 houses within 1km from the speakers, while Eden Park had some 4000.

However, the separate Eden Park Residents Association made a submission in support of the proposed concert after 76 percent of its members voted in favour of it.

The concert is proposed to take place on Waitangi Day next year.