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A fight over where $3 million of public money should be spent has led to claims of favouritism in one of Auckland's richest suburbs.

A shopping centre carpark will be upgraded in Remuera from money that the Auckland City Council discovered in an account which had been untouched since the 1980s.

The money came from a levy put on developers to provide extra parking spaces in shopping centres all over the city.

But the city council's transport committee was split on where it should be allocated - the carpark in Clonbern Rd or towards the Dominion Rd upgrade.

Committee chairman Ken Baguley used his casting vote to give the nod to the carpark.

Leila Boyle believed he and Aaron Bhatnagar and Toni Millar, all Citizens and Ratepayers councillors, voted for the carpark because they lived in the area. Toni Millar, who is also C&R and voted for the carpark, lives in St Heliers.

Ken Baguley dismissed these claims. "That's an absolute nonsense.

"Citizens and Ratepayers had no say at all in providing this as a solution."

He said city council staff had put forward Clonbern Rd as the only option for the $3 million.

If the money wasn't spent it would have been absorbed into the new Auckland Council.

Mayor John Banks said last night that he was aware there had been some dispute over where the money was to be spent. But he didn't have enough of the background to comment.

But councillor Graeme Easte said the transport committee wasn't given enough time to put forward and consider an alternative use for the money.

"Councillors were given no real choice in the matter," said Easte.

It was a "curious coincidence that these well-off areas get it whereas other suburbs miss out again," said Easte.

"It was more than a coincidence that Remuera got the money."

Bhatnagar, who is chairman of C&R's Remuera branch, said a lack of parking in Remuera was holding back the suburb's growth. The carpark was in "dire need" of an upgrade.

Millar would rather have had money spent on a carpark in St Heliers.

"But I'm glad to see it used rather than it be absorbed into the general fund."