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March 5, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Killing the Upgrade Won’t Bring Back Your Goddamn Honey

“Murder!” screamed Nicholas Cage during the climactic scenes of “The Wickerman”. “This is murder! You’ll all be guilty! Killing me isn’t going to bring back your goddamn honey!”

Now, I’m all too aware that this is an awkward segue into a discussion about Eden Park’s upgrade and the furore the mere mentioning of the word ‘stadium’ has created over the past few months, but may I indulge your curiosity for just a second and offer this thoroughly abstract explanation? Thank you.

One of the jewels in the crown of the NZRU’s proposal for New Zealand to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup was that the most jewel-like of all New Zealanders, Helen Clark, played a defining role in securing the tournament. Unlike rivals Japan and South Africa, New Zealand was the only candidate to offer governmental assurance that the tournament would not only meet the standards of its predecessors, but exceed them.

Once the hoopla subsided, the business of building a world-class stadium to host the 2011 final began to take swing. And swing it did. Backwards and fowards like a toddler on a sugar high who won’t get off the goddamn swings.

The petulant world of politics began to mingle with the more affable world of sport, and the New Zealand public were treated to a tiresome melee of pedestrian bureaucratic nonsense. From the highest echelons of government, right down to Mrs. Miggles of Howick who worried that a waterfront stadium would ‘break off and float out to sea, taking that nice young man Tana Umaga with it’, the world cup stadium tug-o-war ached and wrenched back and forth, with no real sense of direction. Yes, professionalism has a name – and that name is ‘New Zealand’.

So, of course, the waterfront stadium up and vanished like Nick Cage’s acting credentials, and we were left with the much more wholesome prospect of a renovated Eden Park (set your Tivo kids, because this is where the film analogy comes in).

The government, perched in the beehive, bereft of the delicious honey of a waterfront stadium, decided to quell the ‘Rolls Royce’ upgrade of Eden Park in favour of a far cheaper ‘temporary seating’ arrangement.

Far be it for me to wheel out the ‘you can only polish a turd so much’ material, but Eden Park today looks and resembles a glorified cowshed.

The skim-milk upgrade it’ll undergo is a farce, and will only barely reach the minimum standards expected of a stadium hosting a world cup final.

And why? Because someone at the Beehive didn’t get their ‘goddamn honey’. Yes, we get to host the tournament, but we have been short-changed by the egos of a few, filthy spend-o-crats. Like every single Nicholas Cage movie made in the last five years, we promised so much; but through our inequities and selfish desires, we run the risk of producing something… Wickermanesque. To host the cup is one thing; to host it well is another matter entirely.

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