Sunday Star-Times

Music is the answer


Technicall­y this column is supposed to be ‘‘entertainm­ent’’, but sometimes I have ideas so dang good they really should be on the front page, they are that newsworthy. And you’re in luck, random person reading this on the bottom of your fish and chips wrapper, because this is one of those times.

The problem is complicate­d; live sports attendance is down across the country. Christchur­ch is too cold and wet, while in Auckland, Eden Park is hardly used (even while the Blues games are actually happening) and our stadiums need some more love.

Eden Park’s biggest problem is that it’s not allowed to host concerts because the neighbours complain about the noise. That’s right, people who bought houses next to New Zealand’s largest outdoor venue seem to be surprised and annoyed every time they have an event there.

If you don’t like living next to a stadium… move! Your house is worth $2 million, you can almost afford a two-bedroom place in Te Atatu for that.

Then there’s the question of why, every time they try to move the speedway away from Western Springs, they listen to the guy who claims it’s their ‘‘spiritual home’’ – it is beyond me.

News flash petrol nerds, these days, Western Springs is the spiritual home of arty rich kids who wear Doc Martens boots to school. Speedway’s ‘‘spiritual home’’ is Palmerston North.

Mt Smart stadium – which gets to host the big concerts by default – is a bit rubbish. It’s primarily made up of scaffoldin­g erected by Vodafone Warriors trying to earn a bit of extra cash in the off-season after missing out on performanc­e bonuses for the 20th year in a row.

(That was immature and uncalled for, the Warriors have had some great seasons. Go the boys; next year is our year!)

The Christchur­ch solution is simple and non-negotiable. They need to build an indoor stadium large enough to host the All Blacks, but small enough to still be atmospheri­c for the Crusaders. All we need to do now is find the $500 million to pay for it.

In Auckland, the solution for a long time has been a waterfront stadium. This is the dumbest idea I have ever heard in my life. Before you defend it, remember that it was thought up by a one-term Dick whose other brainwave was a muesli called ‘‘Berry Berry Nice’’.

(That was unnecessar­ily harsh on Dick Hubbard but I won’t delete it because it’s mildly funny.)

How often is a 60,000-seat waterfront stadium actually going to be full? I count six times a year: Two All Blacks games, whenever Ed Sheeran’s in town, one Adele or Beyonce concert, one ‘‘whichever of the Beatles is still alive’’ concert and one Fleetwood Mac concert (assuming they are also still alive).

The problem with having a stadium on the waterfront is that you have a stadium on the waterfront. Someone is suggesting we lower the stadium into the sea to preserve the views; I suggest we lower that person into the sea. It’s an expensive bad idea, stop talking about it.

If you’re going to say something stupid at least make it entertaini­ngly stupid: can I suggest a floating stadium, stored in Vanuatu when not in use?

Let’s look at what Auckland needs: a huge stadium for the All Blacks and Adele, a smaller atmospheri­c stadium – ideally near town – for the Warriors, Blues and football. A proper cricket ground and, ‘‘sigh’’, a speedway track in West Auckland, its spiritual home.

I’ve got a couple of plans though.

Plan C (mega expensive): Smash down everything we’ve got and build a huge, multipurpo­se superstadi­um, ideally on top of one of the three inner-city horse racing tracks we bizarrely still have, despite no one caring about horse racing since the 1950s.

Plan B (expensive): Build a modest stadium, either near the waterfront (not on it), or reduce the size of Eden Park for our rectangle sports and move cricket to Western Springs, and massively upgrade Mt Smart or Albany for big games and big concerts.

Plane A (cheap and the right choice): Tell the Eden Park residents that concerts are going to happen in their neighbourh­ood and they need to get over it. Everything else can still stay the same, except maybe Speedway; it’s time to return to your spiritual home.

 ?? MCKEEN CHRIS ?? Adele made good use of Mt Smart Stadium.
MCKEEN CHRIS Adele made good use of Mt Smart Stadium.

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