Cornwall Park Trust Board (CPTB) Chair Adrienne Young-Cooper said she hoped the decision by ASB Showgrounds operator The Auckland Agricultural Pastoral and IndustrialShows Board (the Shows Board) to go into voluntary liquidation did not signal the end of the Showgrounds as an events centre.
"The Showgrounds has been an important community facility for a very long time," Mrs Young-Cooper said.
"While what happens next is now in the hands of the liquidator, we would be prepared to support proposals that would allow the Showgrounds to continue to operate on an appropriate commercial footing," Mrs Young-Cooper said.
The Showgrounds sits on land owned by the CPTB, which manages Cornwall Park for the benefit of all New Zealanders. The site is one of several parcels of land surrounding the Park that were intended by Park founder Sir John Logan Campbell to provide the CPTB with sufficient revenue to maintain the Park in perpetuity.
Mrs Young-Cooper said the Covid pandemic had severely affected the events industry, and the Shows Board was one of many operators that had struggled to remain viable.
"As the Shows Board has acknowledged, the past year-and-a-half of the Covid-19pandemic has compounded what was already a challenging financial environment," said Mrs Young Cooper.
"We have given the Shows Board considerable time and financial leeway over the past couple of years, in the hope they could find a way to continue to operate," said Mrs Young Cooper. "We are sorry that an accumulation of circumstances has led to this point, and we have appreciated the work of the Shows Board to find a way through."
Mrs Young-Cooper said the relationship between her organisation and the Shows Board and its predecessors went back a very long way. Sir John Logan Campbell, who gifted the land the CPTB manages for the benefit of all New Zealanders, was himself one of the early leaders of the AucklandA&P Association.
Mrs Young-Cooper said that the terms of the Trust Deed under which the CPTB operates require the Trustees to act solely in the best interests of Cornwall Park.
"Our over-riding obligation is to preserve and enhance Cornwall Park for the people of Auckland and New Zealand, and that is where rental income from the Showgrounds and other land surrounding the Park goes. Anything that affects our revenue affects our ability to give all New Zealanders the opportunity to enjoy and experience nature in the heart of our country's biggest city, free of charge."