Auckland Mayor Phil Goff blindsided by councillors' letter of no confidence

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he hasn't received a letter from councillors expressing their dissatisfaction in his leadership, and found it "odd" to read about it in the news Wednesday morning. But he said he was aware a complaint had been made to the Ombudsman. 

Almost half of Auckland councillors have reportedly signed a letter to Mr Goff accusing him of not giving full access to a $923,000 PwC report on a proposed downtown stadium for Auckland. 

But despite being blindsided by the letter, Mr Goff says he's confident his mayoralty is secure, telling The AM Show on Wednesday his accountability and responsibility is to the people of Auckland - not councillors.  

"I'm not put there by councillors, I'm put there by Aucklanders," he said. 

It is believed the letter relates to a new billion-dollar stadium, complete with retractable roof and room for up to 65,000 spectators, that had been proposed for downtown Auckland. 

Mr Goff says he asked Regional Facilities Auckland to commission a report for the proposed stadium. A confidential $923,000 study was issued by PwC into the feasibility of building a new stadium in Auckland's central city compared to rebuilding Eden Park. 

Mr Goff says the report was made available to councillors but he was concerned about the confidential material being leaked. Some councillors have claimed Mr Goff didn't give them enough access to the report and have complained to the Ombudsman. 

Councillors Cathy Casey, John Watson, and Efeso Collins have signed the letter of no confidence in Mr Goff, a source told NZME, alongside Wayne Walker, Chris Fletcher, Mike Lee, Greg Sayers, Sharon Stewart, and Daniel Newman.

Mr Goff appeared to shrug off news of the letter, telling The AM Show the same councillors who signed the letter "unanimously supported my 10-year budget and lavished praise about how good a budget it was for Auckland, so I think this might be just a bit of politics." 

"I've won every vote on the council so far and every vote is one that you can lose in council because people vote as individuals," he said, adding that he has an "open door" and cannot understand why the councillors didn't approach him before penning the letter. 

Mr Goff has faced reproach for allowing almost $1 million to be spent on the PwC stadium report, but he shrugged off the criticism, saying "it was the RFA [Regional Facilities Auckland] that commissioned the report" and that he doesn't "negotiate with the people who do the report". 

He said he's aware that a complaint had been made by councillors to the Ombudsman, but claims the Ombudsman is "happy" with his response that he had to be careful with the confidential information contained in the report. 

"Every councillor's had access to the report and most of them do have it in their office, so where's the issue?" Mr Goff said. 

"A whole lot of Aucklanders think it's a good idea to have a central city stadium and they expect the work to be done so that you can be talking about facts rather than speculation."

Mr Goff said if a mayoralty vote were held today he's confident he would win. 

The letter is expected to be released publically at midday on Wednesday.