Local lobbyists force Eden Park to cancel gig

Auckland’s Eden Park has withdrawn its application to host the LifePod Appeal charity concert, citing pressure from a small lobbyist group.

In a statement detailing the decision, Eden Park cited a “minority” had rejected to an agreement that would enable the venue to stage the event.

The venue cited Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan, which provides for up to six concerts in a 12-month period at the venue as a “discretionary activity” that require resource consent for each activity.

Eden Park said this was the first time since the Unitary Plan was introduced that it has tested the framework, but claimed it has “become clear that it is impossible to practically give effect in a timely or affordable manner to these Unitary Plan provisions”.

The venue had consulted with its local community, neighbourhood associations, council, local board, business associations and various other stakeholders prior to submitting the application, with UMR Research suggesting that 91 per cent of people in Auckland backed the bid.

However, finances have seemingly blocked the bid. Eden Park Trust lawyers said it could cost more than Aus$750,000 (€475,000/US$557,500/£422,300) to win consent for the concert.

Lawyers also suggested that additional legal fees related to Environment Court would push this cost past Aus$1m.

Eden Park Trust chairman Doug McKay said: “We get no financial support from the Council or the Government and more activity would help to make us financially sustainable.

“Independent research tells us that 83 per cent of locals are in favour of six concerts as a permitted activity.

“We will continue to consult them closely and reiterate that we have heard their voices and we will keep exploring greater utilisation to bring new content to New Zealand’s national stadium for them and our wider community.”

Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner added: “Although we respect the process in place, to bring events like concerts to our stadium we also have to work in with promoters’ lead times which include confirming the venue as well as securing ticket on-sale dates.

“Unfortunately this time it was unworkable but we now look to the future to ensure this half a billion dollar asset can host unique and memorable events for the city.”

Image: TimBray