Have your say about Mt Smart

Auckland-based Vodafone Warriors members and fans are being urged to make submissions to the Auckland Council about Mount Smart Stadium’s future as the club’s home.

The council has been running a public consultation process on its 10-year budget for the past six weeks which closes at 4.00pm on Monday, March 16.

The Vodafone Warriors have made a submission - see below - relating to the budget item: “Investing in QBE (North Harbour), Western Springs and Mount Smart Stadiums to support the Auckland Stadium Strategy”. The submission specifically supports Mount Smart Stadium’s future as the Vodafone Warriors’ home.

“With time running out, we’d urge our members and fans in Auckland to join us and have their say about Mount Smart Stadium,” said Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle.

“For us Mount Smart is our rightful home and we want to do all we can to keep it that way.”

Read the Vodafone Warriors' submission and use one of these feedback options to register your views:

Written feedback | Online at Shape Auckland or fill out the form provided and send to the freepost address supplied on the site or scan and email to longtermplan@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Hardcopy feedback forms are also available in council service centres, local board offices and libraries.

Social media | Comments made through the following channels will be considered written feedback:

Twitter: @aklcouncil using #LTP2015

Facebook: facebook.com/aklcouncil using #LTP2015

By commenting on any blog at shapeauckland.co.nz/longtermplan

 

SHAPE AUCKLAND SUBMISSION | VODAFONE WARRIORS

The Vodafone Warriors’ submission relates to the budget item “Investing in QBE (North

Harbour), Western Springs and Mt Smart stadiums to support the Auckland Stadium Strategy” and more specifically our submission supports Mount Smart Stadium’s future as the Vodafone Warriors’ home.

We have been and continue to be strongly opposed to the tabled plans requiring us to move to another venue after our existing lease expires at the end of 2018.

For the entire club, our members, fans, partners and other stakeholders the proposal forcing us to leave Mount Smart Stadium is flawed on all levels, above all commercially. The strategy is based on the premise of shuffling sporting organisations around existing infrastructure that doesn’t meet their needs and lacks the vision on sporting stadia that a city like Auckland deserves. For example, funds are being committed to QBE Stadium, a Stadium that has limited commercial events. Not once has the return on that investment been justified to the Auckland public.

Our position on Mount Smart Stadium is well-documented. In absence of any viable alternatives we stand by the belief now, more than ever, that it must remain our home beyond 2018 and implore the council to do all it can to ensure the venue is maintained at an appropriate level. The fact is the venues being mooted as potential future homes for the club are neither viable nor long-term options.

As the country’s biggest sporting franchise and a critical and significant contributor to Auckland’s economy for more than 20 years, it makes no sense for the council to treat the Vodafone Warriors and our supporters with such a lack of respect and due care. Indeed we should be valued for what we contribute to the city both through the NRL season, the NRL Auckland Nines and also through the extensive annual community programme we deliver each year across the city and country.

On top of the commercial considerations and what is best for Auckland history is an equally important factor as to why we should remain at Mount Smart, a place which has been home since the club’s debut appearance on Friday, March 10, 1995. Of the Vodafone Warriors’ 240 home games including finals, 232 have been played at Mount Smart Stadium, a venue where our winning percentage is close to 60 per cent and where total attendances have topped 3.3 million. No club should be required against its will to surrender such a position of strength. Again it makes absolutely no sense.

Physically this is a stadium tailor-made for high-octane sport from a pure fan-watching perspective. Its rectangular, close-to-the-action shape provides an intimate game day experience ranking among the best in Australasia; certainly no other venue in Auckland, even New Zealand, can match it. Its location is a real strength. It is readily accessible, is handy to public transport and provides ample parking in the immediate vicinity. The city should be looking for ways to consolidate events into the Mount Smart Stadium programme not drive content away.

Our supporters are passionate about Mount Smart Stadium and have a deep emotional connection to it. All of us involved in the club share their passion. We also know based on our knowledge and experience of other options staying at the venue is the only viable long-term option.

It’s illogical for the Auckland Council to consider spending ratepayers’ money on upgrading a venue like QBE Stadium when such investment would return far greater dividends for the city as a whole by being channelled into Mount Smart Stadium.

In finishing, we reiterate our total opposition to the Auckland Council’s plans to invest in QBE Stadium at the expense of Mount Smart Stadium and as a result move the Vodafone Warriors from what we regard as our rightful home.

Jim Doyle

Managing Director

Vodafone Warriors