Revealed: Councillors slam Auckland Mayor Phil Goff in public letter

Nine Auckland councillors have written to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to express their "strong dissatisfaction" at his "non-inclusive" style of leadership. 

Councillors have expressed concerns about Mr Goff giving $923,000 to Auckland Regional Facilities to spend on commissioning PwC reports on a proposed downtown stadium for Auckland. 

"This was a ratepayer funded report," the letter says, going on to criticise the "significant sum of money" spent on the reports. The letter says Regional Facilities Auckland had "extensive involvement" in the report and that it shouldn't have been so expensive. 

"As we understand it the original quote was for a fee of 'up to $600k' for the work outlined," the letter says. "A further $355k in cost was then added when you [Mr Goff] personally requested more information on the funding options for a stadium.

"In light of both the cost and significance of this study, we are concerned that the two reports produced (the first of which was published in June 2017) have only just come to our attention. This in turn has only occurred in response to the LGOIMA request from the media which was subsequently appealed successfully to the Office of the Ombudsman."

Auckland councillors have publicly questioned Mr Goff on why he didn’t share copies of the reports to them for over a year.
Auckland councillors have publicly questioned Mr Goff on why he didn’t share copies of the reports to them for over a year. Photo credit: Auckland Council

The councillors claim Mr Goff made no attempt to inform them of the contents of the reports for nearly a year. They said his lack of action "falls short of the sort of transparency and inclusiveness we would expect in such a significant matter as this concerning a potential $1.5 billion stadium."

Mr Goff told The AM Show on Wednesday the reports were made available to councillors but he was concerned about the confidential material being leaked. But some councillors have claimed Mr Goff didn't give them enough access to the reports. 

Even after Mr Goff was forced by the Ombudsman to release the reports, the councillors claim the copies emailed to them were "so heavily redacted so as to make the value of these documents in such a heavily censored form, questionable to say the least".

"We remind you we are duly elected members of the Auckland Council, just like you" the letter says.
"We remind you we are duly elected members of the Auckland Council, just like you" the letter says. Photo credit: Auckland Council

The councillors have now publicly questioned Mr Goff on why he didn't share copies of the reports to them for over a year. 

"We remind you we are duly elected members of the Auckland Council, just like you," the letter says. "You have had a copy for nearly a year but not us. Why is that?"

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

Councillors Cathy Casey, John Watson, and Efeso Collins have signed the letter of no confidence addressed to Mr Goff, alongside Wayne Walker, Chris Fletcher, Mike Lee, Greg Sayers, Sharon Stewart, and Daniel Newman.
Councillors Cathy Casey, John Watson, and Efeso Collins have signed the letter of no confidence addressed to Mr Goff, alongside Wayne Walker, Chris Fletcher, Mike Lee, Greg Sayers, Sharon Stewart, and Daniel Newman. Photo credit: Auckland Council

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."

But the councillors said Mr Goff's lack of transparency has resulted in a "rather distrustful political working environment". They said concerns were raised at the last governing body meeting in December 2017, but nothing has changed. 

"Quite simply the question of trust and transparency within the Auckland Council is getting worse, not better, as far as we are concerned," the letter says. 

Mr Goff told The AM Show if a mayoralty vote were held today, he's confident he would win. 

Newshub. 

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