Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Just 48 hours to make a call on Pukekohe V8s

Photo / Supplied.
Photo / Supplied.

Auckland councillors are being given just 48 hours to approve a proposal to bring the V8 Supercars back to Pukekohe at a cost of $10.6 million to ratepayers.

The council's events arm is recommending Auckland pick up the pieces from a fiasco that cost Hamilton ratepayers $40 million without giving councillors and the public all the facts.

A detailed risk review of the proposal has not been provided to councillors to make a decision tomorrow, only a summary of the risks, which Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) says are not substantial enough to decline the proposal.

Ateed and council officials have classified a number of risks as unlikely, but said the potential impact would be "high".

The proposal involves upgrading Pukekohe Park at a cost of $6.6 million, split between Ateed, the Ministry of Economic Development and Counties Racing Club.

The council would also pay $1 million a year over the five-year contract period to sponsor the weekend event in April, $454,000 in interest costs and $550,000 a year for marketing, transport and other costs.

V8 Supercars Australia would own and underwrite the event to protect ratepayers from future shocks.

Mayor Len Brown, whose office withheld details of the proposal from councillors and the public until after a mayoral press release was issued, was confident councillors would support the proposal at tomorrow's strategy and finance committee meeting.

Mr Brown said the event would attract about 50,000 visitor nights and earn $7 million in economic benefits from an annual investment of $2.1 million. It would also bring significant investment into the Super City's southern Franklin ward.

But councillor Cameron Brewer was concerned about the lack of information and time to make a decision, which he found surprising given two scathing audit reports on the supercars in Hamilton and Sydney.

Audit New Zealand's damning review criticised Hamilton city councillors, saying they should have asked for more information, challenged the number of confidential meetings and asked to see copies of the contracts before making decisions.

Ateed has no intention of showing the contracts to councillors before sign-off.

The review blamed council management - including former Hamilton City Council chief executive Michael Redman and his deputy Blair Bowcott - for poor reporting, spending millions of dollars without authorisation and keeping the council in the dark over significant issues.

Ironically, Mr Redman was Ateed chief executive when the review was released last October. The findings led him to quit the Auckland post.

PEDAL TO THE METAL

Bringing the V8s to Pukekohe - how the deal works

Three-day event in April at Pukekohe Park Raceway.

$10.6m over five years from Auckland Council.

$2.2m from Ministry of Economic Development.

$2m from Counties Racing Club.

V8 Supercars Australia owns and underwrites the event.

Auckland Council costs*

$2.4m to upgrade Pukekohe Park.

$454,000 interest costs.

$5m sponsorship fee.

$2.75m marketing, banners, transport and other costs.

Total: $10.6 million

*costs over five years

- NZ Herald

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