Auckland Council's five unelected business units that run much of the Super City are being reduced to four with the merger of its two events arms.

An independent review of the council-controlled organisations (CCOs) has recommended merging Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed), saving up to $67 million over the next decade.

The other three CCOs - Auckland Transport, Watercare and Panuku Development Auckland - will carry on, but with greater political oversight and measures to make them more responsive to communities.

The merger is the main finding of an independent review of the CCOs, which mayor Phil Goff has released today.

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"Ten years on from the formation of the Super City, there are many things that are right and many things that need improving.

"Aucklanders have expressed the need to improve the performance of the CCOs, which is why an independent review of their structure and performance as one of my election promises," said Goff, who welcomed the "unvarnished look" at improving change.

He was particularly pleased with recommendations on the need to strengthen the council's ability to give strategic direction to the CCOs and improve monitoring of their performance.

The unelected directors of the CCOs, who pocket more than $3m a year in fees, have been put on notice about salaries and bonuses to senior executives.

Last month, Goff said no one employed by the CCOs should earn more than the $600,000 salary of new council chief executive Jim Stabback. Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram earns $775,000 and outgoing Panuku chief executive Roger MacDonald was paid $645,000.

The recommendation of the independent review panel to merge Regional Facilities and Ateed is not unexpected.

The two CCOs both work in the events space and as far back as 2011 a report argued there was too much double-up.

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Ateed runs the V8 Supercars in Pukekohe. Photo / Nick Reed
Ateed runs the V8 Supercars in Pukekohe. Photo / Nick Reed

Ateed is responsible for major events like the V8 Supercars and the World Masters Games in 2017. It also runs big cultural festivals like the Lantern Festival, Diwali and Pasifika and sports events like the Auckland Marathon.

Regional Facilities runs the city's major event venues like the Aotea Centre, Civic Theatre, Mt Smart and Western Springs. It also runs the Auckland Art Gallery and Auckland Zoo, and gives money to Auckland Museum, Motat, Stardome and the Maritime Museum.

RFA and Ateed collaborate to attract events to Auckland, and they both run separate convention businesses.

The two CCOs have seen their businesses shrink under Covid - Regional Facilities is expecting revenue to fall by $40 million this year - and will continue to struggle for the foreseeable future.

The most recent figures show Regional Facilities' executive team and board costs were $3.46m, including a salary of $480,000 for chief executive Chris Brooks. Ateed's executive team and board costs were $1.92m, including a salary of $425,000 for chief executive Nick Hill.

Miriam Dean QC, has chaired the independent review panel. Photo / Ted Baghurst
Miriam Dean QC, has chaired the independent review panel. Photo / Ted Baghurst

The independent review panel has been chaired by Miriam Dean, QC, and has two other members - consultant Doug Martin and former Manukau City Council chief executive Leigh Auton.

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The recommendation to merge Ateed and Regional Facilities is likely to be approved by councillors and fed into the new 10-year budget process, starting later this year.