new auckland

Helen Clark opposes Eden Park charity gig

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark is objecting strongly to Eden Park's plans for a "charity" concert as part of a series of events to raise funds for inventor Sir Ray Avery's baby pod project.

Clark, a local resident living about 400 metres from the park, fears the concert is being used by the park management as a 'Trojan horse' to provide a precedent for numerous music concerts in the future.

She says in a submission to Auckland Council over the planning application by Eden Park that the organisers have applied for consent without stipulating a noise limit, which would have negative impacts on surrounding residents.

The Eden Park Neighbours' Association has also issued a newsletter to members today saying the charity-themed event - mooted for Waitangi Day, February 6, next year - is the start of a push by the park for up to six concerts a year. It is urging people to lodge submissions by the deadline of July 12.

It says this is the park's sixth attempt to win approval to hold concerts - the others being declined by independent commissioners and an Environment Court judge. "Previous applications at least had a noise level limit proposed - albeit at a level deemed unacceptable - this one does not."

The newsletter says the Waitangi Day event "while linked to a charity ... looks fully commercial, and doesn't detail charity funding sources."

The proposed concert is part of an effort by Sir Ray to raise $4 million to make 2000 modern-tech baby incubators - 'Lifepods' - in order to "save one million babies' lives" around the world.

The Association fears that if the event does not go ahead then the Eden Park Trust Board could keep and vary the consent for other events without notifying residents.

It says Mt Smart stadium, the usual venue for major music concerts, has 93 houses within a 1km diameter circle around it - and Eden Park has 4000 homes in the equivalent zone.

Clark says: "The proposed charity element is not directly related to the concert nor specific to this venue in any meaningful or concrete fashion within the application.

"There is no explanation or evidence of what the charity funding components are, and why they could not be achieved elsewhere."

She claims much of the fundraising would come from a dinner and a telethon.

"In other words, the application appears to be a precedent-setting Trojan horse for enabling Eden Park to stage major concerts."

She noted that while Avery's publicity of the event talked of a "Live Aid" style events the application was for just an opening act and a main artist.

As a suggested crowd of 45,000, including people on plastic flooring across the field, would face east in the park, she believes proper noise modelling needs to be undertaken.

Clark concludes: "I doubt that those who have endorsed the event, prior to the application, are even aware at this stage of the impact of an unlimited noise limit on the night."

She fears an extreme level of noise from sound systems and the crowd, with a much later finishing time than normal at the park

The neighbours' association said "as seen with Mt Smart, the level [of noise] 750-950m away would likely prevent a conversation around the barbecue and be generally disruptive. Especially to young children trying to sleep."

Its newsletter says: "It's unfortunate that a charity [Medicine Mondiale] with better options elsewhere, has been caught up in Eden Park's concert push."

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