White water rafting stadium row

17:00, Sep 26 2012
white water rafting
EXTREME SPORT: White water rafting is a popular activity in New Zealand.

Backers of a white water rafting stadium in South Auckland are hitting back at claims by a city councillor that ratepayers would foot the bill.

The stadium, which would be a Manukau-based site for kayaking and rafting enthusiasts, has a price tag of $30 million.

Sir Noel Robinson, chairman of the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust which is backing the project, said building the facility would be a "win-win" situation.

"It has always been part of the master plan for the development of this site," he said.

"Councillor Dick Quax has claimed that the ratepayer has already given the trust over $50 million - this is complete rubbish."

He said Quax has misrepresented the facts, because the trust plans to raise the money itself.

According to Sir Noel, it would sell off land next to the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre to raise $20 million and would fundraise to make up the $10 million balance.

But Quax said the trust has turned to ratepayers yet again after being turned away from the Manukau City Council once before on the matter, and rejected by the High Court.

According to Quax, the Auckland Council came out on top in a legal battle with the trust over the matter, because the council never agreed to fund the stadium.

"That land belongs to the ratepayers," he said.

"The trust already made money from the first land sale, and they are not entitled to any more."

Furthermore, Quax said the trust's claims the public is behind the white water rafting stadium are spurious.

"They went outside shopping centres and got people to sign a submission saying they supported white water rafting, but they thought they were entering a competition," he said.

According to Quax, the group collected around 18,000 signatures, but none of them turned up to give verbal submissions.


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