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Officers' Report: pros and cons of V8 street race

Officers' report briefs Auckland councillors
on pros and cons of V8 street race

Auckland City Council officers have set out the arguments for and against the proposed V8 supercar street race for consideration by the new council next Thursday.

The report is released today as part of the agenda for the council meeting. The report precedes a ruling by three independent planning commissioners on whether or not the event will receive resource consent. The commissioners’ decision is expected by Wednesday of next week.

If consent to stage the race in April each year for seven years starting in 2006 is not granted, the council will not appeal to the Environment Court. If consent is granted, the full council will debate the merits of the proposal based on the officers’ report and the commissioners’ ruling.

The officers’ report to councillors notes that costs have risen as a result of meeting conditions expected to be imposed should consent be granted.

These include: an interest free loan advanced to the event by the council and repayable over the seven years (was $3.5 million, now $4.9 million) up to $1 million in increased annual running costs, to be shared equally by IMG and the council.

The report reaffirms the economic benefits of hosting the event. The net annual economic impact in the city is $34.2 million.

The event is expected to attract 35,000 spectators on a Friday and 75,000 on a Saturday and Sunday.

The officers note Transit New Zealand’s view, expressed in November evidence to the planning commissioners, that the process agreed with the city “addresses its concerns sufficiently to mean that further Transit participation in the consent hearing is not necessary”. The officers note their counterparts at North Shore City have recommended that their council’s opposition to the event be withdrawn. North Shore City has so far only “received” that advice. Waitakere and Manukau cities support the event. The Auckland Regional Council told the commissioners in evidence that “the ARC has concluded that it is feasible that the PT (public transport) system could cater for the expected increase in demand”.

The officers’ report, including benefits and disadvantages of the council deciding to either proceed or not proceed with the event, is publicly available. Among the advantages are the $245 million net economic impact over seven years, an annual world television audience of 800 million people, and the creation of 869 person years of employment for the Auckland city economy.

Listed among the disadvantages of proceeding is the extra up to $500,000 per year which may be incurred in operating costs, the larger loan to IMG, the first-time use of Victoria Park (for three days) for an event of this size, and the fact that resources used for this event would not be available for other event opportunities should they arise.

Auckland’s Mayor, Dick Hubbard, said today of the report requested of officers: “It gives the new council a comprehensive briefing on the whole event – and the latest information on costs, benefits and their implications. By the time we meet next Thursday we’ll know if the event has a consent. If it does we expect that to impose a number of requirements we’ll need to meet, many of which we have suggested.

“The consent work ranks among the most thorough ever undertaken by the city. I believe we have protocols and proposals in place which will satisfy Transit and other councils in the region.

“Like other councillors, I’ll await the commissioners’ decision. However, everything I have seen so far assures me this event is entirely practicable. The net economic impact is substantial and that doesn’t count the value of 800 million television viewers worldwide.

“I think the decision we make at council next Thursday – given a consent is granted – is one made with not only Auckland’s interests in mind, but New Zealand’s. The Australian owners of the V8 supercar series have affirmed there is currently no B plan to have the event in New Zealand if Auckland does not stage it. It will be lost to the country, not just Auckland.

“Other cities pay millions for the rights to get an event as big as this. That makes it imperative for us to approach next week’s decision making with absolute determination to act in the best interests of the city,” Mr Hubbard said.

Ends Editors please note: A copy of the officers’ report, released at 6pm today as part of the agenda for the 25 November Auckland City Council meeting, accompany this release and will also be available at http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz from Monday 29 November.

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