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Councillors told to keep own counsel
Monday November 20, 2006
By Anne Beston and Martin Johnston

Auckland Regional councillors with a big say over whether Auckland gets a waterfront stadium were generally staying mum at the weekend on how they will vote after getting an email from their chairman.

ARC chairman Mike Lee emailed councillors warning them not to express an opinion on the issue until after a series of briefings this week in the lead-up to Friday's vote by the 13-member council.

He also vehemently objected to the Herald's attempt to take a straw poll of councillors on their support for the waterfront, Eden Park or other stadium options.

"I have asked all our councillors to refrain from making any comment until we have seen and heard all the evidence," he said. "Hopefully all the councillors will take the same position as me."

Yesterday, most complied with the request but three councillors - Craig Little, Wyn Hoadley and Robyn Hughes - broke ranks.

Ms Hughes said the waterfront was the wrong place for a rugby stadium but the Government appeared to be set on building it.

"It doesn't matter which way [the vote] goes, the Government will legislate to get what it wants."

Mr Little said he favoured the waterfront.

"I think it's an exciting opportunity for Auckland; it's central and close to facilities and it creates an exciting opportunity long-term."

North Shore councillor Wyn Hoadley said she supported North Harbour to host the cup and had no problem with expressing the view publicly.