22 Oct 2008

Council loans $300,000 to Northland Rugby Union

3:09 pm on 22 October 2008

Whangarei District Council is to lend the Northland Rugby Union $300,000 to keep it afloat in the Air New Zealand Cup.

The loan decision was made on Wednesday.

The union needs $700,000 to cover the cost of playing in the Air New Zealand Cup next season.

It has raised $200,000 in a public appeal and plans to raise another $100,000 by issuing debentures.

One councillor questioned the ability of the Northland Rugby Union to repay the council loan.

Mayor Stan Semenoff says a condition of the lending is that the council will take back the lease and control of Okara Park which the union currently has at a peppercorn rental.

The council says the economic benefits of keeping Northland rugby in the top tier are worth about $7 million per year to Whangarei.