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Backing for Auckland V8 Supercar street race


Strong public backing for Auckland V8 Supercar street race

Auckland City residents are strongly backing their council’s bid to stage a V8 Supercar street race.

Some 66 per cent of residents say the city should make the bid for the event – even though a total of 40 per cent say staging it will personally affect them a lot (20 per cent) or a little (20 per cent).

The benchmark telephone survey of 300 residents within city boundaries was conducted last week as part of a council move to measure how residents feel about the event – which promises $315 million in economic benefit over seven years, but also major disruption for three days each year while streets used for the track are closed for 12 hours a day.

It also finds opinion split on whether the council should invest in the race. Some 46 per cent think the council should extend a loan to the event’s organiser (repayable over seven years), 41 per cent disagree with this and 13 per cent say maybe or don’t know.

The city announced last week it would mount a bid to host the event for seven years, starting in April 2006. There are 13 races in the V8 Supercar Championship series. If the bid succeeds the race at Pukekohe would transfer to a new inner city track, going round Victoria Park and using Fanshawe, Hobson, Victoria and Beaumont streets.

Based on a 1999 report commissioned by the city, the event would have an estimated economic impact of about $45 million a year – or $315 million over the seven years.

The chairperson of the council’s Recreation and Events Committee, Councillor Scott Milne, said today the new benchmark survey showed encouraging understanding of the issues by residents.

In the survey, which was prepared and analysed by the city’s in-house consultation and research manager and covered 300 respondents within city boundaries by telephone between 8 and 10 March, 2004, 53 per cent said they had an interest in motor sports. 71 per cent of respondents were ratepayers.

“Obviously people can understand events like this can have major impacts, but they’re prepared it seems to put up with the drawbacks in order to secure the major rewards,” Mr Milne said.

Some were opposed to the event, including at least three councillors, and, if the bid succeeded, the city needed to quite rightly work through their concerns in planning the event.

“We’ll have a lot of work to do. We’re going to have to work very closely with every business and individual potentially adversely affected by access, noise or other issues – and find as many individual answers as possible,” Mr Milne said.

“Some of the major businesses in the track area are already expressing support, despite the special arrangements they’re going to have to make over the Friday to Sunday the event is staged.

“It’s also significant that other businesses in the city are already recognising this event will bring with it massive benefits – including new jobs, hundreds of millions of television viewers, and provide another fillip for business, specially in the Viaduct Harbour.”

Mr Milne said he was hoping for a decision on the city’s bid by the event’s owner, AVESCO (the Australian Vee Eight Supercar Company Ltd), by late April.

Ends

For further information, please contact: Councillor Scott Milne, chairperson, Recreation and Events Committee ph 027 494 6321

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