Eden Park withdraws Sir Ray Avery charity concert application

6:14 pm on 26 July 2018

Eden Park has withdrawn its application to hold a concert to fundraise for Sir Ray Avery's baby 'lifepod' incubators.

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 / www.Photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport

The stadium said time constraints and the prospect of substantial Environment Court costs have forced the decision.

The Eden Park Trust met today and the trustees concluded it was not viable to continue with the application for the concert slated for Waitangi Day next year.

Its lawyers had advised that the process to obtain a consent for the concert was likely to stretch beyond October and cost more than $750,000, not including legal costs.

The concert plan had attracted high profile criticism, including from former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The Trust said it acknowledged that Eden Park was iconic and it was "unsurprising that the future usage of the stadium has evoked some emotion".

"However, the trust was disappointed to see personal attacks play out in the public domain," it said.

Eden Park Trust chairman Doug McKay said it gets no financial support from Auckland Council or the government, and doing things like concerts would help make it more financially sustainable.

Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner said the situation was "unworkable".

"We now look to the future to ensure this half a billion dollar asset can host unique and memorable events for the city," he said.

Miss Clark, who lives 400m from the park, said the proposal "appears to be a precedent-setting Trojan horse" that would pave the way for more concerts at the stadium.

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

Clark relieved, Sir Ray 'gutted'

Miss Clark told Checkpoint with John Campbell she felt an "enormous sense of relief".

She said Mt Smart Stadium was well equipped and the proper place for those kinds of concerts.

"In my opinion if the park is to be more than the sports ground it has traditionally been ... to be more than that is not really compatible with being in a local, densely-packed residentially neighbourhood."

Sir Ray told Checkpoint he was "gutted".

He said he had put together a whole programme of things for the concert that meant it could only happen at Eden Park, and now the event was "dead".

"That included the relationship with the sponsor, the way that we could ... monetise the concert from the private suites that they have there," Sir Ray said.

"We needed a big open plan area so that we could do ... gumboot throwing competitions.

"Right up and down the country we were going to do a whole lot of events that were celebrating us as a country and our innovation and so I put it together as a package that would work and I can't pick it up and take it somewhere else."

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