The Government will use special powers under Rugby World Cup legislation to take control of the Auckland waterfront set aside for the celebrations during the tournament.
Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully will this afternoon outline his intention to tomorrow call up reserve powers available to him under the Rugby World Cup Empowerment Bill.
It has been revealed, ahead of the announcement, that McCully has ordered Government officials to write a new plan to manage the waterfront beyond its own Fan Zone at Queen's Wharf.
The plan, which turns responsibility from the Auckland City Council over to the Government, will expand management measures and create more space for partying.
"Some of my critics have been suggesting I should take responsibility, well I am. I am stepping in to a space that the Government has not previously occupied," McCully told Stuff.
"We're getting on the front foot here and showing a determination to provide a larger footprint and a wider range of measures to assist with the management of crowds and the delivery of amenities."
This is a bold move by McCully, but it also can't be taken as anything other than a vote of no confidence in the ability of the Auckland council. But it's also a pragmatic move; the government's Party Central on Queen's Wharf went without a hitch on Friday night; it was the areas controlled by the Auckland City Council where problems arose.
By putting all his eggs in one regulatory basket, McCully is adopting a risk/reward strategy. If everything goes well, he will rightly get kudos. But if it all turns to custard, he is the one who will cop the blame.
And we can't end without a comment on the Left; they have moaned about the government doing nothing, but now that McCully has done something as they demanded, but they don't like the decision he's made. Oh dear; how sad; never mind. There's just no pleasin' some people!