Key holds out hope for Christchurch RWC matches
Christchurch's AMI stadium could be capable of hosting Rugby World Cup matches, Prime Minister John Key said today as the government studied reports on damage caused by the February 22 earthquake.
"As soon as we're in a position to clarify what our thinking is, then we will communicate that to others," he told reporters.
Mr Key was asked whether the stadium could host matches, despite a report in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper which said it wouldn't be fit for purpose.
"I don't want to go through all of those details, I haven't fully read all the reports myself but it's possible," he said.
The International Rugby Board (IRB) has the final say on whether the two quarterfinals and five group-stage matches will go ahead in September and October.
"We haven't had formal discussions with the IRB yet," Mr Key said.
"That will happen quite soon but not today."
Earlier today Labour Party leader Phil Goff said the Government should front up and tell the public whether the matches could be staged in the city.
In response to that, Mr Key said it was a question of whether the stadium could be fixed, whether the turf could be repaired, whether the grass could be grown and whether they would be enough accommodation, bars and restaurants.
"That's why it's not as simple a process as some might think, we'll give all those due consideration, we'll have all those discussions in good faith with the IRB," he said.
Mr Goff said international reports suggested the IRB had already decided to rule out Christchurch.