Eden Park rejected offer to find cheaper turf: Goff

6:48 am on 31 October 2018

Auckland Council offered to help Eden Park's managers to find a cheaper way of re-turfing the stadium but this was rejected, mayor Phil Goff says.

 Mt Eden Park Stadium. View from Mt Eden Summit

Auckland mayor Phil Goff says the council offered to try and find a cheaper way of re-turfing Eden Park stadium. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Mr Goff responded to reports that the Eden Park Trust requested help to pay $1.5 million to replace its playing surface and ensure that international rugby and cricket matches could continue to be held there.

He said the council offered to try and find a cheaper way of replacing the surface, but to no avail.

"There were discussions between council, Regional Facilities Auckland [RFA] and the Eden Park Trust Board," he said.

"Certainly RFA thought - judging from their own cost of re-turfing - that it might be done at a third cheaper which would have saved half a million dollars. Eden Park Trust Board didn't accept that and they declined the offer to assist with procurement at a lower cost."

Auckland mayor Phil Goff

Auckland mayor Phil Goff says the council offered to try and find a cheaper way of re-turfing Eden Park stadium. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Auckland Council had already made a $40m loan guarantee to Eden Park for hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and a further $6m loan for work on the ASB stand.

Mr Goff said the council would need to have a serious discussion with the trust before any further funding was provided for Eden Park.

"At the point that they first asked [for assistance with the re-turfing cost], they had just had a very successful Lions tour; they had money on hand and if that was their most urgent priority they could have met that out of those funds," he said.

"We are the caretaker of ratepayers' money, therefore we have to spend it sensibly and with care. We want to have a wider discussion with Eden Park about how they're going to get out of their financial difficulties before we start sinking more and more money into the park."

The Eden Park Trust could not be reached for comment yesterday.