Warriors a step closer to Eden Park

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2012
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HOME OF RUGBY: Eden Park may soon be home to the New Zealand Warriors.

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The Warriors are a step closer to moving to Eden Park, speedway to Mount Smart and cricket to Western Springs, with a council-controlled organisation recommending the controversial moves happen.

Regional Facilities Auckland wrote in an agenda for this week's full council meeting, that it has wanted Eden Park to be the primary venue for the Warriors who would co-exist with rugby union.

If this was to happen Mount Smart would become the Warriors base for league training, its high performance centre and administration, speedway would move to Mount Smart and Western Springs would host test and local cricket.
The role of North Harbour Stadium would remain largely unchanged.

The second option, as outlined in the agenda, would be for the Warriors to play all Auckland games at Eden Park and for speedway to move to Waikaraka Park. Mt Smart would then become a specialist 10,000 seat capacity stadium.

Option three would see the Warriors play the majority of Auckland games at Mt Smart and Auckland Council provide funding to modernise the stadium and raise seating capacity to 30,000.  Under that plan speedway would move to Waikaraka Park.

The agenda outlines how the decision would be made. The public would be consulted early next year and then council officers would report back to councillors in April.

The rugby league community, Eden Park residents, the speedway community, Western Springs community, Eden Park Trust, Auckland Cricket, Athletics Auckland, Auckland Rugby and all relevant local boards would be consulted.
If the plan is given the green light the changes would happen over the next three to five years.

Auckland Rugby Union chief executive Andy Dalton has previously said the issue had been bandied about for a number of years.

The government's $241 million upgrade of Eden Park was signed off on the proviso that it would become a "community asset" for all sporting codes.

"It was always understood that Eden Park had to be a national stadium with more events. We fully understand the Warriors will be playing there and don't have an issue with that."

Auckland Council owns Mount Smart and Western Springs. Eden Park is held in a trust which is managed with representatives from Auckland Cricket, Auckland Rugby and the Government. North Shore Stadium is owned and operated by the North Shore Domain and North Harbour Trust Board.

The Warriors have previously stated that their preference is to remain at Mount Smart and for the stadium to be upgraded to an international standard with 30,000 seats, at a cost of between $50m-$60m.

The Warriors next preference would be for major games to be played at Eden Park and to use Mount Smart for administration and training - as suggested by the council.

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- Auckland Now

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