Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Because I am weak

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  • Che Tibby,

    the redevelopment of Spencer St station, in Melbourne, after the construction of the Colonial Stadium is a sight to behold.

    i'm all for the stadium if, as you say, it can be built on time (i don't believe it can, dunno why, just 'gut feel'), and if the public transport aspect really comes through.

    pretty much everyone in Melbourne uses PT to get to the sports precinct around the MCG, and to the Colonial Stadium (which was last called the Telstra Dome, i'm assuming it still is).

    this is what a good stadium needs. public space so it's useful when games and gigs aren't being played, ease of access, and proximity to great things that complement it as a urban centre.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report

  • Hamish,

    I'm a fan of the Carlaw Park option. Anyone know why it's not even being considered? Too many activist rate-payers in the area? Space just not big enough? Maybe it would interfere with a new SE-corridor plan (which, a little bird told me, we should be hearing about in the near future).

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report

  • matthewbuchanan,

    Anyone know why it's not even being considered?

    Privately owned and too small, according to Breakfast this morning.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report

  • Tristan,

    I have to wonder how much of this objection to the waterfront idea is based on who is behind it. e.g Hubbard and the Labour govt.

    In the current politcal climate the current government could solve world hunger, stop all wars and abloish income tax and it some would still say to "little to late"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report

  • Ben Gracewood,

    As a fan of excellent architecture (this brings a tear to my eye), I'd like to see something more ambitious on the waterfront.

    I guess a stadium has certain design contraints that preclude a truly unique construction. Add time constraints into the mix and we get something 'ok' but not spectacular.

    I still think it's the best option, just wish it had been proposed a lot earlier.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report

  • barnaclebarnes,

    matthewbuchanan: Privately owned and too small, according to Breakfast this morning.

    This seems like a lame excuse to use for Carlaw Park. After all isn't the port area owned by the ports? And don't they need that land for running a port?

    I'm all for Carlaw Park. It just makes sense. And while we are at it why do none of the options have a covered stadium? Wouldn't it make sense if you are going to spend that much money to actually build something that people will still go to when it is raining? Just look at the poor turnouts at games when the weather is rubbish.

    Something about the whole way this has been handled just seems fishy...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 90 posts Report

  • jeff constable,

    That's exactly how I feel about the ABs; their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory has been heartbreaking.

    But I have to take issue with the claim that Australians understand great public spaces: I mean, have you seen Sydney? Oh, that's right, you can't: there's too many buildings in the way...

    Sydney, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report

  • Tony Judd,

    So I'm living in Melbourne right now, and the still not quite finished Southern Cross (Spencer Street) station is pretty amazing. But if what the locals tell me is true, then it was meant to be finished before the commonwealth games 8 months ago.

    That might be acceptable for a train station but not for the fixture where the final is going to be played. You'd expect some pretty strongly worded contracts for the new stadium project.

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report

  • Hamish,

    After all isn't the port area owned by the ports? And don't they need that land for running a port?

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the land is owned by Ports of Auckland which is owned by the Council?

    Too small I could understand, and you'd need to commandeer land from the Domain.

    I agree with Ben that a waterfront stadium needs to be special (although not quite that special maybe :D).

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report

  • Don Christie,

    Forget the stadium. The real issue that should be concerning us right now is whether the ABs can take out the cup in 2007.

    How well I remember the very last test played at Athletic Park. The French were run ragged in a freezing cold Southerly and it seemed as though the 1999 cup was in the bag.

    There were a couple of naysayers, my visiting Dad pointed out that he thought our backs were running pretty flat angles, that evening a Welshman warned that we had not seen the French play. He said (in best Gollum tones) "they're sneaky, the French". Then there was a report of a rather too merry French team on the flight back to Auckland.

    We now know the semi-final result of 1999. I'm with RB on this one and I sure hope that Henry has another 70 plays up his sleeve that the rest of the world have never seen and will not be revealed until the closing stages of 2007.

    Oh, and Aucklanders, get a bloody stadium built and get it built quick. Stop blaming everyone else for your procrastination, if you stuff it up now, you stuff it up for all New Zealand!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Gary Hutchings,

    While I am relatively indifferent to whatever the final outcome of any stadium is, The real concern I have is the arse about face way the process has been managed,

    I mean, what did we go to the IRB with last year?,

    Why has it taken a year since the awarding of the event for the Govt to come up with "Auckland has to choose in two weeks or we will give the final to Christchurch" - this seems very much a "do this or the bunny gets it...." approach to consultation

    If the waterfront stadium is as great a part of the "economic transformation" of Auckland as we are led to believe, then why not take a longer time to actaully work out what Auckland need/want/can afford, - yes it may not be built for the RWC, but this stadium is being built for 50+ years future use, not one game,

    Or is the only way things get done in this country a rush job for a special event when you get to roll over objections, rather than going through a RMA process (hmm never really thought I would ever end up defending the RMA :),

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report

  • wasabicube,

    I do like the idea of an iconic, waterfront stadium and I can't agree with those that believe it will be an eyesore. I'm fully in agreement with RB with respect to the hideous buildings that have been sanctioned around Quay Park, for which there seems to have been little or no debate.

    I'm concerned that we can build this thing within the timeframe - and it would be a crime to put up an ordinary venue just to satisfy the time constraint.

    In addition, having lived on Dominion Road in days gone by and seen the parking chaos that surrounds a match, I seriously wonder about the carparking options that we'd have within cooee of a new stadium. Clearly an underground carpark below the venue would be somewhat tricky. I can't say I have much faith that public transport will suddenly mature sufficiently to alleviate the need for a significant increase in central city parking in order to cope with the stadium.

    Whangaparaoa • Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report

  • Nigel Caughey,

    I'm also all for the Water Front, it makes alot of sense. I currently have a visitor from the UK, who stayed in Auckland for a few days before coming up North & was shall we say less than complimentary about the existing location for the Waterfront stadium, tatty & run down down I believe was the term, a new stadium there would be a great asset & also make a quality link between Queen St & the viaduct the priority it should be.

    Paihia • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • Che Tibby,

    having lived over the road from eden park (walters road), we routinely put up with incredible traffic woes, a complete lack of parking anywhere within a km of our own place, drunken parties in the carparks and people pissing in the oleander because... well because it was EDEN PARK.

    would be better if the finals was near a revamped britomart, IMHO. just teach aucklanders that you don't always need to park your pajero out front of a stadium to have a good time.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report

  • Jason Lea,

    The waterfront makes sense if they build it as a barge which can be floated around the country. Then it can truly be Aotearoa Stadium :)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 30 posts Report

  • Nat Torkington,

    Parking is still important, Che: a lot of us live outside the area of Auckland's public transportation. If we're to come to a game, we need a place to drop our wheels. I guess there'll be plenty of parking near Eden Park if the waterfront stadium gets built, eh?

    If Carlaw Park is in private hands, whose private hands are they? Is Eden Park similarly in private hands?

    PS, surely if all we've been drinking is stadium Tui then it's more "watering the oleander" than anything else?

    Ti Point • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Personally I'm starting to suffer from 'Auckland news is national news overload'. I'm fully in favour of this thing being a national stadium for big important events which require a really big stadium, which we can't have in every city. I'm happy that a few of my (Dunedin) tax dollars go to it. I don't particularly care which of the umpteen options mentioned are done, but the waterfront seems more logical to me in terms of being away from suburbia, and having something a bit different, larger, to stand out, and be near public transport.

    But like BarnacleBarnes above I'm amazed that a gazillion dollars is going to be spent on a very pretty and large stadium, and there's no room in that budget for a roof. They're looking at relocating Carisbrook, 32,000 seats, all whizz-bang, a roof on top, and it's going to cost less than a third ($180 million) the amount this new stadium is going to cost. Are we seriously going to have our new national stadium for the next 50 years or so, with cricket matches wrecked due to light rain, and rugby matches turning into swimming matches? Two years after it's built everyone is going to be bitching about how they should have put a roof on it, and how Carisbrook now leads the way and every stadium should have a roof etc etc etc.

    And if Auckland news producers could stop putting it on the national TV news every night. Just build the fucker. Enough already.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Aren't Tongariro National Park, Fijordland and the Southern Alps "great public spaces" enough for us? The Aussies need monuments to cover up for lack of self-confidence (not to mention that nasty little bit of nagging guilt that comes from living in a stolen country).

    Anyway, I have a suggestion for funding the stadium. There are about 3 million electors in NZ, and the likely cost (above that which can be found from sponsorship, etc) is around $600 million.

    So why not have a pledge system? Everyone who wants the stadium could sign up and pledge a minimum of $400. If a majority vote and pledge "yes" then that's raised the money and we can go ahead and build the stadium. Any surplus could go to build a giant Haka Man on top, new cars for the All Blacks ( or even kids rugby).

    If we don't make the numbers, then we just have to go back to the IRB and tell them that we're sorry, but being a democracy we have to make decisions democratically, and people just said no. It'll be 40,000 seats at Eden Park for the final or you can go and play the world cup in North Korea or someplace that it's easier to get decisions made.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I see the appeal too. I would just like someone to tell me it can absolutely, positively be built in time to fulfil its purpose.

    With all due respect, Russell, I've three words for anyone who will do any such thing: Multiplex, Wembley Stadium. It would also be rather nice if some of cheerleaders got their heads around the notion that the Rapture isn't going to happen ten minutes after the end of the World Cup final in 2011. What is it that makes it so hard to get the words rugby and rational policy debate in the same sentence?

    Gary Hutching has it right, IMO: I was pretty agnositc about the idea of a waterfront stadium, but I strenuously object to the stench of badly thought through proposals being cooked up in back rooms, then presented to the stupid plebs (who are ultimately going to be picking up the tab when it all goes to custard) as a done deal. Well, Mr. Hubbard and Auckland MPs of all stripes better consider there's two electoral cycles to go before 2011, and a lot of Aucklanders who are quickly losing patience with politicians with severe edifice complexes.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • Tom Beard,

    Aren't Tongariro National Park, Fijordland and the Southern Alps "great public spaces" enough for us?

    Not really: we need great urban public spaces. On the other hand, I don't really see stadia as being public spaces, compared to streets, squares and parks.

    Stadia are difficult to integrate into urban settings, but not impossible. Russell's vision of "glass walls encasing bars and cafes and concourses and function rooms gazing over the harbour, its lights blazing at night" is quite achievable, and while it's not easy to combine an active, humanly-scaled edge at ground level with a grand iconic structure, that's what we have architects for!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    With all due respect, Russell, I've three words for anyone who will do any such thing: Multiplex, Wembley Stadium.

    A cautionary tale indeed. But there are some significant differences too. The Football Association was the commissioning client and got in a complete mess three years before the government came in to the rescue. And Multiplex has completed some significant structures ahead of schedule, including Telstra Stadium.

    I'm inclined to regard contestability as a distraction in a project like this. After all, a tendering process didn't exactly provide a quality result in the case of the Vector Arena.

    This thing will cost more than they're saying at the moment, but it would be nice to see an independent assessment of its deliverability. At the moment, everyone who says it can or can't be done seems to have a vested interest in what they're saying.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Peter Cox,

    Spending a lot of time designing a building doesn't neccessarily mean it's necessarily going to be any better. Take a look at Te Papa. Classic example of trying to please everyone, no risks being taken and the whole thing turning out to be completely without personality or vision.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen,


    Like Russell I think the current use of the waterfront is ugly and essentially useless to most kiwis, unless you import and sell used Japanese cars.

    I live down Dominion Road and I love watching cricket on the number 2 ground so I'm not keen on a revamped Eden Park, traffic chaos and losing the No2 ground are too big a loss. However it sounds as though if it isn't revamped then it will be sold off and developed into medium density housing - nice.

    As for the waterfront option I agree with Russell it could be great.


    Given the rush to get it done, and given the steps along the way that will be skipped in the name of getting it done on time - I'm very worried that what will be built will be the Stadium and nothing else. No "architecture", no creation of walkways along the waterfront, no creation of cafes, no art, no attempt to make a German stadium somehow a New Zealand stadium and of course no parking.

    In short this could create the monstrosity we all fear. It could also create something special with a genuine attempt to feel "ours". It could open up that part of the waterfront for real people to use and enjoy.

    The trick over the next couple of years will be to keep the powers that be focussed on the whole package and not just the piece of grass with seats around it.

    BTW stadia with lids generally have real trouble growing grass and are only usually used when the climate is so aweful that you can't have an open roof. Auckland just doesn't have weather that bad so it's probably best to have an open roof. Dunedin on the other hand would benefit from a roof.


    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Paul Litterick,

    The Carlaw Park would involve the destruction of several square hectares of the Domain. Call me a heretic but I do not think that a sports stadium is worth that.

    Apparently, the IRB would be happy with a revamped Eden Park, so I don't think that option could be dismissed so easily.

    Whatever site is used for the stadium, we should consider moving the entire port elsewhere, not just a couple of wharves. It is ridiculous that the city's waterfront is largely unavailable to its citizens.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    BTW stadia with lids generally have real trouble growing grass and are only usually used when the climate is so aweful that you can't have an open roof. Auckland just doesn't have weather that bad so it's probably best to have an open roof. Dunedin on the other hand would benefit from a roof.

    OK, I grew up in Auckland, but saw the light, so I can't let that slide. From NIWA:

    "Christchurch was easily the driest of the four main centres with 450 mm and Auckland the wettest with 1112 mm. Wellington received 975 mm and Dunedin 647 mm."

    Auckland has terrible weather, and a roof would be exactly what's needed there. The roof only gets closed at game time, it's not a permanent ceiling.


    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

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