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Report recommends not proceeding with V8 race


NEWS RELEASE
13 May 2004

Report recommends not proceeding with V8 street race

A Wellington City Council report will recommend Councillors do not proceed with the proposal to host a V8 Supercars race in the capital in 2007.

Council officers have made the recommendation because of two issues relating to the resource consent process:
- The time required to get a resource consent
- The cost and uncertainty of the resource consent application process

Council Chief Executive Garry Poole said the process of trying to get resource consent for the Stadium Circuit could take more than 18 months – not leaving enough time to prepare for a race in 2007. Mr Poole said the costs of trying to get resource consent could be up to $1 million and there was no certainty of outcome.

“It is not the cost to the Council alone but also the unacceptable commercial uncertainties for AVESCO. Unfortunately they can’t guarantee they can wait for us exclusively.”

“It is likely that opponents of the race would have appealed any decisions all the way to the High Court. Even if we streamlined the process as much as possible – to the point of getting the Environment Court’s assistance for a fast-tracked hearing – it wouldn’t be possible to complete the process in time for a 2007 race. On top of that, we couldn’t recommend that Council commit the level of investment required with no guarantee the resource consent would’ve been granted.”

Mayor Kerry Prendergast said the recommendations highlighted issues with the Resource Management Act (RMA).

“The resource consent process has cost Wellington a huge opportunity. Our planning showed a fantastic race is possible in Wellington – except for the Resource Consent process.

“Generating $22.9 million of new spend, the V8 street race would have been the largest annual event in New Zealand. To create an event of similar size would take a huge amount of time and investment. The International Festival of the Arts took 15 years to reach a similar level of economic benefit,” said Ms Prendergast.

“This Council is committed to the RMA. But something must be done to change it in order to recognise regional and national interests. The resource consent application process is weighted in favour of minority interests. A review of the RMA is now under way and as part of that, local authorities need to work together to get the act changed.”

“If we don’t, we’ll get a reputation as a ‘can’t-do country’”.

Ms Prendergast said that the V8 Supercars event was a nationally significant economic event that New Zealand risked losing.

“And despite the likelihood of us not pursuing the race, we will do everything we can to help AVESCO and the promoters keep the race in New Zealand. This has national repercussions for New Zealand hosting international events in the future,” she said.

Ms Prendergast and Mr Poole have offered to meet with the AVESCO board and explain the reasons for the report’s recommendations, and to help them work through the implications of the resource consent process for the future of V8 Supercars in New Zealand.

The Council was to have met at an extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday 17 May to vote on the V8 proposal. That meeting has now been moved to Wednesday 25 May.

ENDS

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