Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has hit the roof over a cost blowout to move speedway from Western Springs, saying he will be asking "hard questions" of officials as to why the costs have changed.

Council officers are recommending Goff and councillors write a $30 million cheque to move speedway to Colin Dale Park, less than six months after the cost was put at $12m to $13m.

What's more, there is only $5m set aside for the move and the council's regional facilities arm is putting its hand out for tens of millions of unbudgeted funding to replace speedway with a National Cricket Ground costing about $40m.

Councillors are being asked to approve funding for the speedway move at a finance committee meeting next Tuesday.

Advertisement

"I'm not satisfied with the advice I've been getting from officials which differs considerably from the figures given earlier," Goff said.

"There is a limit to what we can spend on this project and I will be asking hard questions of officials as to why the figures have changed," he said.

When it came to a National Cricket Ground, Goff said council has to prioritise what's necessary against what's desirable, "and a cricket ground at Western Springs is the latter".

"Councillors haven't been presented a business case on a cricket ground at Western Springs, but we can't pump endless amounts of money into it.

"Our first responsibility is to the ratepayer. We must be fiscally responsible and provide value for money."

It is understood Goff is furious that council officers and council-controlled organisations like Regional Facilities do not appreciate the difficult financial position the council is in and the priorities set out in the new 10-year budget just passed.

The council is right up against its debt ceiling and unable to borrow money for unbudgeted projects, like new stadiums.

When it was announced in June that speedway would move to Colin Dale Park, Goff said council would make a "big contribution" of $12m to $13m made up of $5m from Regional Facilities Auckland and the rest from council.

An artist's impression of a new National Cricket Ground stadium at Western Springs.
An artist's impression of a new National Cricket Ground stadium at Western Springs.

Under a deal with the council, at the end of summer 2019-20, speedway will move to Colin Dale Motorsport Park in Wiri, near Auckland Airport.

The changes at Western Springs - part of RFA's revised stadium strategy - are opposed by several councillors.

Councillor John Watson, who is opposed to moving speedway from Western Springs.
Councillor John Watson, who is opposed to moving speedway from Western Springs.

One of those councillors, Daniel Newman, said the council is receiving cascading costs from Regional Facilities for a stadium strategy that has not been fully canvassed.

"The region is on the verge of a financial heart attack, but it appears to be making no difference to Regional Facilities or the leadership of Auckland Council," said Newman.

Another critic of the stadium, councillor John Watson, said the latest costs for moving speedway are a "massive blow out" and part of a well-established trend by Regional Facilities to set lowball figures to get momentum on projects.