No LifePod concert at Eden Park

There will be no LifePod Appeal concert at Eden Park. 

The Eden Park Trust Board has announced it is withdrawing its application for a Waitangi Day concert at the stadium, citing time constraints and the prospect of "substantial Environment Court costs". 

The decision today comes after a series of Newsroom articles including doubts over the claims by pod promoter Sir Ray Avery; a high profile objection by Eden Park neighbour Helen Clark; revelations over the history of the new Eden Park CEO; and today's story in which Sam Morgan says he wouldn't work again with the philanthropist. 

The Trust Board says its lawyers, Meredith Connell, have advised that the process to obtain a consent under the Resource Management Act from the Auckland Council would cost more than $750,000 not including legal costs, and would stretch beyond October. The Board is not speaking to its release this afternoon, and has not detailed how the $750,000 was derived. 

It also said today it was hoping to work with the minority who objected "to reach an agreement for this one-off worthy event", but "unfortunately that was not to be the case". Doing so would have avoided going through the Environment Court for permission. 

"Direct referral of the application to the Environment Court provided a shortened timeframe to reach a decision but The Trust would be liable for the costs of proceedings, including consultants’ fees, Council and court costs and the cost of advisors to assist submitters wishing to be heard. The Trust has now been advised these costs are likely to exceed $750,000 and including legal fees would likely surpass $1m," the news release said. 

The Board said it had consulted with the community, including holding a "Friday Family Fish 'n' Chips" evening to get locals on side, and encouraged all neighbours to have a say during the process. 

"The Trust acknowledges that Eden Park is iconic and at the centre of many special memories for both Kiwis and visitors to our country. It is unsurprising that the future usage of the stadium has evoked some emotion however the Trust was disappointed to see personal attacks play out in the public domain," it said.

Avery was seeking $4 million from the public to raise money for his LifePods, but Newsroom's research has thrown up concerns over his business and research methods. 

One of his past associates said the hyperbole around his projects was not matched by transparency.

The LifePod does not have ISO certification, has not begun production to scale and its testing on Indian babies near the factory in Chennai is not confirmed to be underway.

Avery acknowledged to Newsroom that the target number of 2000 LifePods and 'one million' for the number of babies to be saved weren't precise. "When you're doing marketing you pick some figures out of the air."

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