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Key outlines party central options

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 11 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key says Victoria Park and the Viaduct are both options for the Rugby World Cup's "party central" after plans for a Queen's Wharf venue unravelled last week.

The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) turned its back on the Government's plan to demolish two century-old sheds on Queen's Wharf and put up a temporary glass and steel party venue, instead wanting to renovate one shed, possibly move the other, and build a temporary structure that was yet to be designed.

Mr Key tonight told reporters in Vietnam the Government was "not very enthralled" by the ARC's proposal.

"If that means we have to go to another location then we'll go and explore that."

But all options were still on the table and a decision had not been made, he said.

"I think it's more a process than a location at this point."

Mr Key said he would look at all of the options available when he got back to New Zealand on Tuesday. Victoria Park could be one, but it wasn't "a slam dunk".

"It's in the right location, potentially, so is the Viaduct, so are others.

"I think there are plenty of options."

The Maritime International Centre being built on the Viaduct had a lot of land around it and would be an option, Mr Key said.

The Government wanted a place where large numbers of fans could congregate, and somewhere that could also host international media and concerts, he said.

"There's quite a number of international tourists who will travel to New Zealand. They'll have a wonderful time and they'll never actually go to a game.

"They'll end up going to fan zones and bars and all sorts of other things to be part of the atmosphere that will no doubt engulf New Zealand come September-October 2011 but they won't necessarily be doing it from Eden Park."

Two days ago, RWC Minister Murray McCully described Auckland's local government as "a train wreck".

"You come to Auckland where there is this train wreck of a local government and frankly it's very difficult to do business.

"Nothing could be as bad as what we have at the moment... Auckland seems to have this terrible local government disease and the closer we got to local body elections here it's getting worse."

Mr McCully said there was no way the shed could be restored in time for the World Cup, but whatever happened there would be a party venue in the city.

"We have to provide a fan zone in downtown Auckland for those who can't get to the games, that's part of our contractual obligation to the IRB (International Rugby Board)."

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