The Environment Court is to decide whether a charity concert at Auckland's Eden Park will go ahead in the face of community opposition.
Inventor and philanthropist Sir Ray Avery has proposed a Live Aid-style concert on Waitangi Day next year to raise money for LifePod incubators for premature babies.
But a local lobby group, The Neighbours' Association, has called for the concert to be held at Mt Smart Stadium, which it said had 93 houses within 1 kilometre from the speakers, while Eden Park had some 4000.
Former prime minister Helen Clark, who lives 400 metres from Eden Park, labelled the plan a "Trojan horse" that would pave the way for more concerts at the venue.
"I am very concerned that, given the lack of details and event confirmation, if the event does not eventuate after a concert consent is granted, that such a consent could be varied by the Eden Park Trust and the council, and then be used for some later commercial concert," Ms Clark's submission to Auckland Council said.
Sir Ray, a pharmaceutical scientist, said he was "incredibly surprised" by Ms Clark's opposition, calling it "incongruous with the person [he] thought she was".
"It almost seems as if she's moved into petty politics rather than the big story here, [which] is that we have an opportunity here to do a concert which will save millions of children's lives."
The Eden Part Trust has asked the Auckland Council to refer the consent application to the Environment Court.
"The council has agreed to the applicant's request as the application is contentious and an appeal to the Environment Court is likely," said the council's resource consent general manager Ian Smallburn.
"The proposal is also constrained by a tight timeframe, and time and expense will be saved for all involved."
The council's call for submissions on the issue received 488 responses - 360 in support, 127 in opposition and one neutral.
It will contact those who made a submission and provide them with further information about the direct referral process.