THE V8S DISASTER – A VOAKL MINI SERIES Ctd
Who Knew Hosting the V8s in Pukekohe would be so…
IN A MINI SERIES DEDICATED TO THE V8 DISASTER I WILL BE LOOKING AT THE SAGA THAT HAS BECOME “HOSTING THE V8 SUPER CARS IN AUCKLAND – HOW SOMEONE GOT IT SO WRONG”
THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS OF ATEED AND THE STRATEGY AND FINANCE COMMITTEE (PART TWO)
In Part One I looked at the lead up to and the actual decision by both the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development CCO, and the Auckland Council Strategy and Finance Committee to give $10.6m of ratepayers money to help host the V8 Super Cars in Pukekohe over the next five years from 2013. In short secrecy and speed was the name of the day as the Committee rushed through behind closed doors the final decision on parting with our money for the event in Southern Auckland:
What should be holding a straight forward event (V8 Supercar Racing) – even in a persistent recession has proven to literally blow up in Auckland Council‘s face days after the announcement was made. Last Thursday (5th July) I was seeing the decision by the Auckland Council Strategy and Finance Committee on a vote 9 to 5 to give $10.6m towards the V8 Super Cars Racing Event in Pukekohe next year come across my Facebook page thick and fast (this is while I was on holiday to Nelson). I believe the money was to go towards a track upgrade at the run down facility, some sponsorship, and possibly some underwriting of certain pieces of the event.
Apparently and according to this Editorial in the New Zealand Herald, it is the process and the secrecy around the lead up to the decision by the Strategy and Finance Committee that has really pissed of the ratepayers of Auckland. Everything else (such as the actual money, or being anti V8′s full stop) seems to be a stem off from this dodgy decision by the Committee. So what has annoyed Auckland over this V8 affair and more to the point – WHY?
With the decision made last Thursday, Part Two will take a look at the fall out from the Strategy and Finance Committee’s decision making process and the actual decision itself.
Well condemnation and pretty much damnation did not take long to surface after the Committee made its crooked decision. Leading the charge media wise was the NZ Herald with this editorial:
From the NZH:
The return of the V8 Supercars to Pukekohe is just the sort of tonic that Auckland needs. There is no shortage of one-off or transitory celebrations to enliven the city. But significant annual events with an international flavour have been thin on the ground in the past few years.
Attracting these has entailed Auckland dropping any assumption that they would come its way as of right because of its size. But this cannot justify in any way the flouting of proper process as the Auckland Council’s strategy and finance committee voted nine to five in favour of the Supercars.
The racing over the next five years will cost the city $10.6 million. Having accepted this, the councillors’ major task was to ensure ratepayers would not be subjected to any future financial shocks.
The degree of risk associated with the event had to be ascertained, and then reduced as far as possible. This need was, of course, forcefully re-emphasised by the fact that the same event had cost Hamiltonians $40 million.
Followed up by this bit of damnation:
What happened was a travesty of this duty. In the first instance, the committee that accepted it had just 48 hours to approve the proposal. Worse, a majority of its members were content to be denied information necessary for a considered judgment.
Astoundingly, the council’s own events arm, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, refused to show the councillors a due diligence report on the parties involved in the event. Councillors and, by extension, the public, were also unable to see a detailed risk review on the spurious grounds that it did not exist as a single document.
Instead, the councillors saw only a summary of the risks and were asked to take Ateed’s words that these were not substantial enough to decline the proposal. A majority accepted this even though an Audit NZ report into Hamilton’s experience had severely criticised its city councillors, saying they should have asked for more information, challenged the number of confidential meetings, and asked to see the contract before making decisions. The Auckland councillors who voted for the event were guilty of much the same failings.
Repeating history here much folks? The Editorial also expands out on ATEED’s dodgy decision-making process (remember the RWC Opening Ceremony people) and the rush Councillors were put through in making a decision. Err last I looked out the window there was no Civil Defence disaster happening, nor war breaking out; so I am failing to see the logic behind all this rush and secrecy crap here. So why this logic ATEED and Auckland Council – why? It seems ATEED and the nine councillors on the Strategy and Finance Committee who voted for this proposal using the logic and decision-making processes seen and spelled out are quite apt in insulting the Auckland Ratepayer by not being 100% transparent and allowing us a look, and a chat (or debate) on whether the proposal was a sound idea or not. Come on, I bet the proposal would have still passed if you ATEED and Auckland Council were just straight up, transparent and allowed us to have a discussion with you. But no, you treat us like ignorant children with the “I know better” attitude! And this entire attitude is what has pissed us off, not the V8s themselves; but the decision-making process!!!
This means the return of the Supercars will not be welcomed by Aucklanders with open arms, as would surely have been the case if matters had been handled better. Ratepayers required reassurance that there would be no repeat of Hamilton. Only total transparency could deliver this. The Auckland councillors who supported the event are to be commended for thinking big, but not for thinking for themselves.
And that sums up the angst in a nutshell. Great when its done in 50 words or less
Following the condemnation in the NZ Herald, was Councillor Cameron Brewer writing a letter to the Mayor asking for an extraordinary meeting of the Governing Body (so the FULL Auckland Council). The letter and the response from The Mayor’s Office is as embedded below:
Councillor Brewer’s letter sums up what I would have written and asked for to our resident Prude – The Mayor in clearing up this V8 mess. But no our resident Prude – The Mayor is deciding to be a Prude and no honour the City with a full Council Governing Body Extraordinary Meeting, so that all this laundry can be aired and the return of the Super Cars would be more welcomed than current. However this denial from our resident Prude – The Mayor is only going to stoke the anger of Auckland ratepayers considerably and beg the very question: What are you hiding? Put it this way, if the Auditor General airs the laundry and we the ratepayers find something not quite kosher, I would be there would be more hell to pay against The Mayor and the nine Councillors who voted for this proposal than what would have been had all this been open and up for free discussion in the beginning.
Again the NZH ran two articles summing-up Councillor Brewer’s letter and Len’s prudish response in these two articles:
So again and to make it perfectly clear it is not the event itself annoying me; it is the way ATEED, the Strategy and Finance Committee and our Resident Prude – The Mayor have decided to treat the Auckland Ratepayer like idiots and ram through the proposal through secrecy and speed.
So again my question is
Are the numbers optimistic
Why is a failure of a CCO called ATEED being allowed to handle this behind closed doors when it was to blame as the main culprit for the Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony Disaster
Why treat us like ignorant children
Why the secrecy around the decision-making
Why the rush for this proposal
To our Resident Prude – The Mayor
A Simple Request
Open the books and hold that meeting for all of us to see, to debate and make up our own minds
Failure in doing so will be remembered come 2013, especially as you have hurt your Heartland of South Auckland (More in the next post on the $10.6m opportunity cost and what it could of got the Local Boards of South Auckland.)