Why people don't go to sporting events is among key issues missed in a review of Auckland stadiums, North Harbour Stadium Trust chairman Reno Wijnstok says.
Mr Wijnstok says the report lacks future vision and looks too closely at short-term cost cutting.
The super-city's arrival prompted a review of the stadiums by the council-controlled organisation, the Regional Facilities Trust. Auckland councillors decided to consult further before making any decisions.
The report has sparked discussion about where sporting codes should be based and cost sharing to save money.
Among issues up for debate is whether North Harbour Stadium and Eden Park share operations and management to save costs.
Ideas also floated for North Harbour Stadium include that it could be a test cricket arena, suits high performance sports clusters and that it could be upgraded for rugby league matches.
The report says North Harbour's facilities are in good condition but "with the exception of NZ Football no major sporting code indicated a strong preference to use North Harbour as a base or as a preferred venue location".
Mr Wijnstok says the stadium is happy to work collaboratively with other stadiums but there's no appetite to "hand over the keys" to someone else.
Part of the legacy, he says, is that the stadiums were built for local communities and there's a need for a vision for what's best for Auckland.
A central body could manage bids for major events but it would need to be independent taking a "cold-hearted" look at the best option in Auckland, he says.
Cost sharing services like turf management and offering complimentary facilities that cover all market needs would have big benefits too, Mr Wijnstok says.
The strategy is a step in the right direction, he says, but misses the boat on key issues like attracting bigger crowds to sporting matches.
Queues for food and toilets and people not wanting to get wet are among things that put people off.
It also makes sense to use lower cost facilities outside Eden Park for the 5000 to 7000 crowds at ITM Cup rugby games, he says.
Auckland Cricket doesn't want to move test matches to the stadium's outer oval but the same space would suit these rugby matches, he says.
North Harbour also has a long-term vision for a retractable roof.
Mr Wijnstok believes there is a need to "vanillarise" North Harbour Stadium's name, for example with naming rights, to help change perceptions.
He admits the bridge is a barrier for some sporting fans but for the right event and experience people will travel. It wasn't an issue for the 90,000 who attended the three Rugby World Cups at the stadium, he says.
Mr Wijnstok says it's also important to look beyond the big sporting events at Auckland stadiums and recognise that North Harbour has the largest community use of its property.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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