Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: The One Minute Stadium

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  • Dave Nicholas,

    Here's a genuinely visionary design statement for a waterfront stadium

    not sure how the cost would stack up, but hey, why not

    Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    From Sydney the perspective looks a bit different. The Opera House is up for major refurbishment because it's never actually been suitable for opera and the users are getting sick of it. So after years of controversy as it was being built, heaps of whining afterwards because it's a better sculpture than music venue we now reach the point where we're asked to spend $700M to allow opera and dance to occur in the second hall.

    Then we have Olympic Park, a concrete wasteland consisting of a large pit (where they burned the taxpayer dollars during the games) surrounded by rarely-used sporting facilities and a train station. More than 5 years after the games and we're *still* wondering whether there's going to be any further development aside from increased car parking (because Sydneysiders can't be expected to use public transport, that's for visitors and poor people). They gave us the venue for the Cycle Messenger World Champs for next to nothing because it was unused. Any other questions?

    That said, Darling Harbour and surrounds does work quite well and the proposed site in Auckland is a hole just waiting for something useful to be built there. And sorry to break it to you aesthetes, a stadium is always going to look like a donut. It might look like a donut with decorations, but the donut is inherent in the purpose. Better to keep that shape than pretend that you're building a decoration then find that you can't fit the stadium into what's been built. Like they did with the Sydney Opera House.

    My bias is towards the stadium as proposed, provided people focus on what it is going to be used for after the cup. There's definitely the option to combine the best of several ideas - surround it with public space, make sure the public transport is accessible and working, add things that will get used all the time (meeting spaces, offices, kayak rental as in Wellington, whatever), and I think you've got a winning concept. Perhaps even design it to resemble Southern Cross Station in Melbun or something. But don't screw up the basics. And don't let it sit in committee for 10 years like Te Papa, where it'll get abraded down to expensive blandness. I'd rather have one controversial designer than 20 committee members as long as the basic functions are there.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Genius! I can't believe no-one thought to do this before now. What's the one thing Bob 'The Builder' Clarkson is an expert on? Building a stadium, of course. He's done it, and he's done it in a hurry. And what does he reckon this one would cost? Plenty

    How much for the Waka version, I wonder?

    I might also say that I have read Mr Reid's contribution to the debate and I have emailed to tell him that he is one truly evil man.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Nicholas,

    Stadium Australia is not a great example for Auckland to follow: with a debt of A$140m it's just been sold to its bankers (ANZ) for A$10m...

    Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Liz,

    Kia ora tatou from Christchurch. I think the rational way to resolve the issue would emerge from an accurate answer to three questions, namely: 1. If the waterfront stadium is built, will it be the best possible use (for the public) of an area that currently has extraordinary potential? 2. If the waterfront stadium is built, will Eden Park become unsustainable - can Auckland in fact afford to maintain two city stadiums? 3. If a new stadium is built, will it be a beautiful, world-leading, COVERED (given your city's frequent tendency to rain), icon, to which people will flock not only for events, but also for the ambience, restaurants, public facilities and views? The trouble is, I fear the answer to my questions may be NO, YES, NO.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • John Francis Logan,

    I think Rod Oram said it all:

    "Everything is wrong about this decision: the choice of location; the choice of funding; the wishful thinking about its impact on Auckland's economy; and the processes - marked by a lack of analysis and candour - by which the government is sucking itself into this black hole.

    Let's get a few facts straight about stadiums. They are big, ugly and lightly used - Eden Park achieves about 15 days of sporting events a year. And because the facilities have to be so focused on sport, they are badly compromised for other activities.

    The government is talking vaguely about turning it into a daily destination thanks to the likes of restaurants. But the sheer monolithic proportions of Stadium New Zealand would make it a very unattractive entertainment venue compared with the Viaduct.

    A large stadium will dwarf the neighbouring buildings and ruin the waterfront vistas, not to mention curtail the activities of the country's main port. It would also be an absurd duplication of investment, giving Auckland a fourth imperfect and under-used stadium.

    And anybody who thinks Stadium New Zealand can be built for $500m in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup is deceiving themselves and the public. Completed it might be, but only at a horrendously higher cost. Try $1 billion as a round number.

    In promoting this waterfront option, Mallard and his colleagues have ditched any last vestige of rational analysis and judgement. For good advice, they need look no further than the summer 2000 edition of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, a US academic publication.

    Its article "The Economics of Sports Facilities and Their Communities" has been doing the rounds. Mallard admits he was given a copy, but he hasn't read it. "The discussion's gone beyond that," he says.

    Gone beyond rational analysis? The authors examined the 95 stadiums and arenas built or planned in the US in 1990-2000, at a cost of $US21.7 billion. And they reviewed all previous studies of stadium financing. They concluded there was "no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development". The evidence contradicts the "unrealistic assumptions" of stadium promoters.

    And to a distressingly high extent it is public funds that are wasted on these buildings. Rarely are running costs even met, let alone depreciation and financing charges.

    It is impossible for cabinet to argue Stadium New Zealand could somehow fly in the face of these realities. Yes, we need a decent stadium for the world cup, but the more we spend on it, the bigger the mess.

    And most worryingly of all, if we can't trust the government to be smart about a stadium, how can we trust it to be credible about economic policy?"

    Katikati • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I'm reminded of a tried and true parenting technique that I've used on many an occasion (don't tell my kids...). Give them the illusion of a choice: Don't ask "What would you like to do today?", give them a short list of options - "Would you like to go to the playground or the library?"; Or if you're sneaky, give them a hobson's choice - "Would you like to go to the library or the dentist?".
    It works a treat.
    Its working now.
    At the worst, all the kids do is chip in with one more option - ("Why can't we use Carlaw Park?") Then you can use the parental veto - "make up your minds or we'll go to Christchurch instead".
    Otherwise they end up faffing around for ages ("what about the tank farm, down by the Bombays, Whenuapai airbase, the Mt Wellington quarry, Botany downs, Mt Smart Stadium, etc), fighting amongst themselves, and wind up with nothing much happening at all - "stuff it, we'll stay home and play Lego Star Wars instead".

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    I was just saying to someone in an email this afternoon:

    I'm a bit irked that anyone who objects to the thing is damned as a dithering visionless wowser. Generally, I'm up for a punt. But just 14 days to resolve this? Do me a favour.

    One useful aspect, though: it's been instructive for us all to get some direct experience of the Mallard style of bullying and intimidation.

    Reading the preceding two posts, I feel entirely strengthened in my resolve. This is no way to go about it.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Surely the decision to go ahead with the waterfront is not reliant on what happens above the platform to be built. Can we not decide to go with the waterfront option and then spend a couple of years debating the design of the stadium itself while the platform is built?

    However, given the rather dismal. bleak, empty and windswept end of Princess Wharf, are we risking the same with a public promenade around the stadium? At the least it would need to be landscaped to provide a nicer destination than what has happened on Princess Wharf.

    Eden Park is still faced with the fact that it is in a suburban environment which, let's face it, is crap. And there's no atmosphere anyway.

    Carlaw Park gets my vote.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Fancy that!

    From Stuff:

    SYDNEY: It was billed by then Olympics boss Juan Antonio Samaranch as the best stadium he had seen.


    But a decade after the disastrous float of Stadium Australia Group its banker, ANZ, will take control of the debt-laden stadium for next to nothing. In effect the bank has become a mortgagee in possession.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    wikipedia link for Suncorp Stadium

    That there be a link to the wikipedia entry for lang Park, destination for Rob Fisher and some journalists on a free lunch to the max.

    Never been to Lang Park but I notice from the text: "Suncorp Stadium is within walking distance of the CBD area of Brisbane". I wonder if that will be noted upon their return.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Oh, Lang Park = Suncorp Stadium.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Stadium Australia's not a good comparison at all. It's about 15km (in a straight line) from the Sydney CBD and there's nothing there. It would be like going to, well, North Harbour Stadium. The firm promised to develop amenities around it and couldn't. The better comparison is with Melbourne.

    I don't think the American study is a good comparison either. A lot of US city stadia in recent years have basically been boondoggles for the benefit of sports franchises - ask G.W. Bush.

    I think this is a bit different: One, national stadium for the big jobs. I like the proposal that it will house the family-friendly counterpart to the Viaduct. I love the idea of big events down there, of town lighting up after a big game, special ferry services for test matches, after-work 20-20 games, concerts, ceremonies and, hell, even Papal visits. I don't expect it to make money, but I don't think it will be Stadium Australia either.

    Spending $400m on Eden Park is effectively a short-term investment - that location has no future, and any public money goes to enrich a private trust. Coming up with $1 billion for a big public asset that should last 40 years seems a better idea to me. If anything, I've firmed in my view: let's just build it.

    Ha, David, this is the first time I can recall us strongly disagreeing about anything ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Ha, David, this is the first time I can recall us strongly disagreeing about anything ...

    That's probably because I play only a careful selection of the country section of my iPod when you come to visit.

    You're right, there are significant distinctions to be made. If Bob Clarkson's right, though, and it's more like 2 billion, then it might be interesting to see how the numbers look long term.

    Just as an aside about Stadium Australia - and I presume I'm talking about the right one, we were there for a Bledisloe Cup match a couple of years ago, and got crap seats right up in the roof on half way. It was so high and so distant from the action, it was even hard to see the big screens. It was so bloody steep you wondered if you needed crampons, and the video ref wouldn't have been as well placed as us to call offside.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Rongotai,

    here is a strange idea.
    give the world cup to Japan,
    they should have got it in the 1st place if the powers that be want to incourage rugby globally.
    Then the government put aside a great dollop of money ($100m) so we could all go to a pub and spend it could keep all the bars in the area happy. Another dollop($30m) so that the small group that will attend any of the games can fly to japan and have a great time. And then the rest of the money could be spent on all the people who can't see or hear the games by giving them the appropriate operation .
    If thats not a good idea build the white elephant on the waterfront, and give the few thousand around eden park a break including Helen. In 20 years time Eden park will be still in the worst place.

    Wellington Region • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Nicholas,

    I was a big fan of Carlaw Park as an option, but this Herald graphic
    persuaded me that the space for a stadium simply doesn't exist on that site.

    Look at the size of the Carlaw Park area and the surrounding buildings and Domain (SE corner of graphic). Compare that to the area the waterfront stadium will occupy. Bit of a squeeze really.

    Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    David wrote:
    I was just saying to someone in an email this afternoon:

    I'm a bit irked that anyone who objects to the thing is damned as a dithering visionless wowser. Generally, I'm up for a punt. But just 14 days to resolve this? Do me a favour.

    One useful aspect, though: it's been instructive for us all to get some direct experience of the Mallard style of bullying and intimidation.

    Reading the preceding two posts, I feel entirely strengthened in my resolve. This is no way to go about it.

    Well, hear hear from a fellow unpatriotic, effete NIMBY girly-man. :) Here's another question, do much of the current 'Build. It. Now' crowd (not looking at anyone in particular, Russell) feel the slight twinge of inconsistency about their new-found fondness for fast-tracking major developments largely out of public money, where there's next to no hard details on the table? Or is it only bad when the Nats hold the treasury benches, and there's right-wingers in the Town Hall?

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

  • antv,

    in the words of brian,
    enough is enough!

    south wairarapa • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Clarke,

    in the words of brian,
    enough is enough!

    Yes, but the only reason Brian uses that particular phrase is that (a) there are only three words for his spectacularly dim supporters to remember, and (b) two of them are the same, making point (a) just that teensy bit easier.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    ...there's next to no hard details on the table...

    you're totally correct, there's no hard info out there, but there's never going to be unless we wait six months for detailed designs and pricings for either option. And i totally understand that people are pi**ed off because the whole thing has been rushed because someone fudged the cost estimate for eden park. And Mallard's a bully.

    but it does seem that if we want to hold the world cup, we have to provide a 60,000 seater stadium like we promised. so the question is, do we spend about $4-700M on eden park, or $5-900M on a new one. and we kinda have to make the decision about now, because of the time to go thru resource consenting etc (see link below).

    for what its worth, there's some info here - bear in mind, everyone's biased one way or the other:
    Government Stadium Comparison
    Auckland City Council website
    Warren & Mahoney Architects
    There was also a comparison of about 10 other potential sites i saw somewhere on the web too...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Tomorrowpeople,

    Spend the money on getting Auckland's transport sorted out or some other worthy cause.

    Hold the rugby game at Jade Stadium in Christchurch.
    Such a lovely town for all the tourists to visit etc....

    These guys should know by now that budget blowouts on construction projects are de rigeur. $500 mill? Double it.

    Seems that a bunch of people are trying build some kind of monument to themselves and have lost sight of reality.
    Like a bunch of crazed boy-racers frothing over the latest blowoff valves and doing anything to have one.

    Imagine buying yourself a huge-azz plasma TV set costing $20k for the sole purpose of having your mates come over and watch one rugby game on it. Ever.
    Meanwhile your family goes without food, your car gets reposessed and your poodle dies of self-strangulation because you couldn't afford to get it a haircut.

    That's my analogy!


    The Craps tables at the B… • Since Nov 2006 • 188 posts Report Reply

  • Tomorrowpeople,

    Oh, and here's a vote for teh container port - I actually like the physical look of it. The ships are cool, the hum of the port.

    I live overlooking all this and am constanty seeing pieces of crap that are passed off as building littering the waterfront area.
    The stadium would add to that but er, I couldn't actually see it if it WAS built...

    We have this thing called 'Vector Arena' that has been built down on what real estate agents love to call 'Parnell'. It too is an ugly piece of crap that blocks out decent views of the port area (for me).

    A grey monolith surrounded by poorly designed 'apartment blocks' soon to host such great cultural events like 'Supernova'.

    Dick Hubbard (dick being the clear adjective) has harped on about roping in the dismal asthetics of Auckland city yet all this crap keeps popping up...

    Fire, fire, fire - no aiming!
    And even then the firing is done with a blindfold.

    I didn't like John 'Harley' Banks but Mr. Hubbard is just coming off plain scary these days - like the weird woman who had the gingerbread house....

    The Craps tables at the B… • Since Nov 2006 • 188 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,


    I've looked at both the Government and The Auckland Council sites you link to. My problem isn't that there's a pretty obvious "bias" involved, but that someone appears to just be pulling numbers out their arse. Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but if these were pitches from private property developers I wouldn't be thinking cowboy, I'd be thinking Brokeback Mountain - we're getting the stealthy grope, so when are we going to get shafted?

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

  • Lee Wilkinson,

    Its not a tricky call really. Put the tall poppy choppers aside and look.
    There are many more existing infrastructural pros in favour of Carlaw park and the waterfront than Eden park, but the bottom line is that Eden park will only EVER be for a couple of games of rugby. All plans are do-able given the obvious of finance.
    I observe that some Aucklanders are emotionally attached to an old dock used for the existentially important trans-shipment of second hand cars, but the thing a lot of Aucklanders dont do is consider the bigger picture very well. Forget NIMBY, come on, we need a national events centre and if it looks great and works it would be something to enhance all our lives and not just a few rugby fans. The issues being used to portray this in msm are all controversial and many peoples viewpoints are intentially marginalised in the discussion because they are reasonable and not controversial.
    The facts are simple,
    1. the least amount of disruption to anyone would be the waterfront option.
    2. the most internationally sell-able location would be the waterfront. imagine the photographic angles, get your heads around how often the icon of the opera house is used and is instantly internationally identifiable,recognisable and associated with all that is great about our neighbour. ps no Sydneysider cares that it is only rarely used, they are proud of it.
    3. unlike Aucklanders, most people from civilised nations are happy to utilise public transport and walk for a few minutes.
    4. the construction process would be the most do-able at the waterfront.
    5. we have a chance to create something globally unique here and we dont have to replicate any of the old.
    6. Mallard may well be forceful in his argument but he is thinking beyond a game of rugby.( I hate it when I agree with him)
    7. quo bono?
    waterfront? ALL New Zealand for longer than our lifetimes.
    Eden park? Sky
    Okay, to start with I thought the waterfront was stupid, but I have thought about it and I am now passionate about the possibility of creating something great for New Zealand. Lets go for it!

    Whangarei Heads • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Rongotai,

    if you want to worry about money we would build anything publicly but in 20 years time we will be saying gee that was a good idea and that wasn't a lot of money
    Sir dove wanted to build a rapid transit system 30 years ago
    now that would have been a good idea
    so build the waterfront stadium and listen to our kids in 20 years time say that was a good idea
    there not going to get any cheaper

    Wellington Region • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

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