The Auckland stadiums strategy is "up in the air," with the Auckland Council "putting a freeze on any further development," according to Michael Burgess of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. The "ambitious plan" to move the speedway from Western Springs, then shift Auckland Cricket from Eden Park to the lakeside venue, "is at the crossroads." Regional Facilities Auckland, the council-controlled organization which has "driven the controversial stadiums strategy" since '12, received a "severe setback" last week. Auckland Council instructed RFA to "shelve any development plans," and there is doubt over when it can start the process again. The council also instructed RFA that there are to be "no significant changes to stadia until the future of Eden Park and a national stadium proposal is clearer." The council's move is a "significant shift." Over the last five years, the council has been "broadly supportive" of RFA's strategies, recognizing the need to consolidate Auckland's stadium offerings, but "this is a change in direction" (NZ HERALD, 12/17).
The New Zealand government's decision for the America's Cup base "may not meet the tight deadlines imposed by Auckland Council," as Economic Development Minister David Parker seeks advice on an option that the council has voted down, according to the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Parker expected the government's analysis on the options "to be ready in January or February." This "could throw a spanner in the works," as Auckland Council said that it needs to lodge resource consent applications by Jan. 15 and construction to begin in August. Panuku Development Design & Place Dir Rod Marler told councilors last week that "timing really is the critical issue," adding that he "could not stress how critical it is to lodge resource consent in January." The "tight timeline" comes on top of council's decision on Thursday to favor the Wynyard Basin option, which would include wharf extensions of 2.5 hectares into the Waitemata Harbor and extensions to Halsey Wharf, Hobson Wharf and Wynyard Wharf. Team NZ also favors the basin option. Parker "remains unconvinced" and hired consultants to work with the council and "look closer at the cost estimates" of the basin as well as the second option of Wynyard Point (NZ HERALD, 12/17).