9 Jul 2010

Government threatens to move RWC party venue

7:51 am on 9 July 2010

The Government says it will consider other venues to host partygoers at the Rugby World Cup, if wrangling over Queens Wharf cannot be resolved.

The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and Government jointly bought Queens Wharf as a combined base for Cup fans and an overseas cruise terminal.

Having previously agreed to remove two century-old sheds on the wharf, the regional council now wants to spend $20 million restoring Shed 10.

Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully has given the council two options - buy out the government's share, or move the shed offsite. ARC chairman Mike Lee has rejected both proposals.

The Government and the council jointly bought Queens Wharf as a combined base for Rugby World Cup fans and an overseas cruise terminal, and Mr McCully says if the plans don't involve moving the sheds they don't meet the terms set down by the Government.

Mr McCully says the Prime Minister has made it clear other venue options can't be ruled out.

He says the prospect of timetable blowouts that will only be rectified by spending large amounts of money is very concerning.

Auckland Regional Council Councillor Joel Cayford says there's still time for compromise.

Auckland's heritage does not need to be demolished to make way for a temporary structure, he says.

Plans certain to fail - Labour Party

The Labour Party says the Government's plans for the party venue look set to fail. A spokesperson, Phil Twyford, says a solution is important for New Zealand's international reputation.

He says the Prime Minister and a number of other ministers have worked on the project, and he believes John Key hasn't provided clear leadership.

Meanwhile, an associate professor of architecture at Auckland University, Dushko Bogunovich, has described century-old sheds on the city's waterfront as second-rate heritage with no real value or significance.