Auckland councillors can now view an unredacted $1 million pre-feasibility report on a potential $1.5 billion downtown stadium.

It came after pressure was placed on Auckland Mayor Phil Goff by the Office of the Ombudsman.

However, access to the report is conditional on certain rules and the council has warned councillors it could take the same approach for redacting commercially sensitive information in the future.

In response to the conditional offer, councillors John Watson, Cathy Casey and Efeso Collins said they would not view the unredacted report and would be complaining to the Ombudsman on Tuesday.


The council commissioned PWC to draft a pre-feasibility report on a downtown Auckland stadium. It found a stadium with a capacity of up to 65,000 could be built on a CBD site for up to $1.5b.

In May, a heavily redacted version of a PWC report was provided to Auckland councillors.

The unredacted version was only able to be viewed under the watch of mayoral staff and notes were not allowed to be taken.

Since then Watson, Casey and Collins had complained to the Ombudsman, prompting the council to loosen restrictions on the unredacted report.

Information provided to the Herald by a confidential source revealed that the council has now made available to councillors unredacted with three rules.

"The reports may not be copied," a council email states.

"They must be kept in a secure location. After reading them you are asked to return both copies to me (on the basis that if you subsequently need them, you may request access again)."

The council email went on to say there may be instances in the future where only one copy would be available for councillors to view and not take away.

Watson told the Herald Goff was assuming the role of elected representative and chief executive in limiting councillors easily accessing something of interest to the public.

"The mayor . . . is just an elected representative.

"It is getting in the realm of ridiculous. It is become like a KGB spy flick.

"In the scheme of correct protocol, it should be dealt under the oversight of the chief executive not the mayor. "

Despite an unredacted version of the report being offered to councillors, none were yet to read it because of the conditions being demanded, he said.

Councillors had outlined their concerns to Goff on numerous occasions but that had fallen on "deaf ears", he said.

"He has been caught out. He has known about this report for nearly a year, we only heard about it because the media put in a LGOIMA [Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request].

"This report has cost $1 million and has been out for nearly a year. It's to do with a $1.5 billion stadium. It is very much in the interest of the public.

Councillors Cathy Casey and Efeso Collins made complaints to the Ombudsman about the mayor's behaviour.

Casey said she, Collins and Watson did not accept the latest imposed restrictions.

"We are elected representatives, just like the mayor.

"He has no more right of access than we have. In our three wards alone we represent nearly 500,000 Aucklanders," Casey said.

Collins said he was totally dismayed by the "heavy handed behaviour".

"You'd think this report put our national security at risk with all these caveats in place."

The three councillors confirmed they would formally contact the Ombudsman tomorrow to discuss the unnecessary set of restrictions.

Goff has been contacted for comment.

Key points

October 2016: Auckland Mayor Phil Goff calls for pre-feasibility report into downtown stadium after being elected mayor.

June 2017: PWC pre-feasibility report completed.

May 18, 2018: Redacted copy of report emailed to councillors.

May 18 : Goff confirms to Weekend Herald pre-feasibility study confirms a downtown stadium could be built in six potential Auckland locations.

May 21: Councillors Cathy Casey and Efeso Collins lodge complaints with Ombudsman about Goff's handling of information.

May 22: Goff confirms a commercially sensitive report was not made available to councillors in full.

June 1: Unredacted copies of the report are made available after pressure from Ombudsman's office.