Phil Goff under investigation over alleged Auckland stadium secrecy

  • Updated
  • 22/05/2018

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is under investigation after allegedly keeping a $1 million report secret from councillors for months on end.

Auckland councillors put in an official complaint over the secrecy surrounding the report, which discusses the pros and cons of building a new $1 billion stadium.

The proposal for the new build in Auckland's CBD has been kept under wraps by Mayor Phil Goff for a year, according to some councillors - a claim Mr Goff denies.

The venture, which would have to be a joint build between the council and Government, could seat more than 50,000 people for large sporting events and would cost between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion.

But the pre-feasibility report from PwC, which has already been done, cost nearly $1 million - and Albany ward councillor John Watson told The AM Show many of his fellow councillors are yet to see it.

"The only way councillors can get to see this report is to go into the mayoral office with mayoral staff like security guards watching over us as if we're like KGB spies.

"Some councillors have put in a complaint to the ombudsman given the notion of elected representatives being denied access to a $1 million document. And I would suggest it's not a particularly well-spent million either."

An investigator from the Office of the Ombudsman, Nick Kenney, said it was considering a complaint from councillor Cathy Casey on an "urgent basis", according to NZME.

But Phil Goff told Radio New Zealand he never purposefully withheld the report, which looks into the pros and cons of a new build versus redeveloping Eden Park.

"It has followed a process that has involved Regional Facilities Auckland and the council unit responsible for dealing with those requests," he told RNZ

"I have not been personally involved and my office has not been involved in it."

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett told The AM Show while he's for the idea, he doesn't believe the proposal has been handled well.

"It upsets me that we still have politicians that behave this way.

"To me this is sort of living a life of honesty by omission - 'I didn't tell a lie but I didn't tell the truth either'. So to me it's a bit sad that we've got that behaviour."

But he says there's "nothing wrong with dreaming" big for Auckland.

"It would be a yes from me but the yes needs to be built on why, and why it's good for the economy.

"To my mind we should go through the process of assessing why it is good for it and what should we have."

However Mr Watson is against the proposal, saying we should focus on the "iconic" stadium Auckland already has.

"I think just before we put the bulldozers through Eden Park we should consider what Eden Park is.

"What's probably not immediately apparent to people is Eden Park's virtually been rebuilt in its entirety since the early 2000s.

"I think there's been a bit of a campaign to undermine Eden Park. I think people would be aghast at the notion."

Mr Watson says Eden Park already "largely pays its own way in terms of its income and expenditure".

"What it does need is a bit of help putting on a few more events."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the stadium is not currently high on the priority list for consideration by the Government.