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Auckland Events Centre Upgrade Missing From Long-term Plan

Auckland Council can't confirm whether it will fund upgrades to a South Auckland events centre, even though the venue was included in its 10-year budget proposal.

Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia said Auckland Council has not confirmed to the local board that Manukau Sports Bowl will be upgraded, even though the project was mentioned by Mayor Wayne Brown.

"It's no good using [Manukau Sports Bowl] as an example, then not actually supporting us," Autagavaia said.

Manukau Sports Bowl is part of Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board area, is the original site of Polyfest and hosted this year's Lantern Festival for the first time.

Autagavaia said Manukau Sports Bowl was mentioned by Mayor Wayne Brown and other councillors as an long-term plan priority (LTP), but the upgrade was not mentioned in the final version of the plan.

But he said the budget does include a $20 million “sweetener” for local boards who gave up their shares in Auckland Airport to proceed with the Auckland Future Fund.

“I'm asking [Auckland Council] to put their money where their mouths are and actually confirm that part of that $20m will go to Manukau Sports Bowl.”

Auckland Council did confirm if the funding would be approved when approached by Local Democracy Reporting.

Drew Broadley from Auckland Council confirmed the local board is applying for funds to upgrade the venue from a contestable project pool of $20 million "subject to the long-term plan being adopted on 27 June 2024".

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Mayor Brown's office also referred Local Democracy Reporting to the same spokesperson when asked to confirm funding for the upgrade.

Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board has requested $7m in funding to create a synthetic athletics track at the Sports Bowl.

“It seems like hardly anything, particularly because our local board asked for secured funding for the Manukau Sports Ball, which was $6-7m,” Autagavaia says.

“That's already cutting into the $20m – what's left for the other local boards?”

The Manukau Sports Bowl upgrade was part of Council's urban regeneration plan in 2017 Transform Manukau project, to be completed in 10 to 25 years after that year.

According to the plan, one of the priorities for Ōtara-Papatoetoe is: “securing funding and delivering the Manukau Sports Bowl masterplan and the old Papatoetoe Community Hub with Eke Panuku”.

Eke Panuku is an Auckland Council-controlled organisation that delivers urban regeneration and did not provide a comment when approached by Local Democracy Reporting.

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