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Four councillors hold key votes
Thursday November 23, 2006
By Wayne Thompson

Four Auckland City Councillors hold the key to the council deciding tonight whether to support the Government's waterfront stadium option.

Three of the four said last night they were undecided how they intended to vote and Deputy Mayor Bruce Hucker responded with a "no comment".

A straw poll showed nine councillors for and seven against a waterfront stadium.

Previously undecided councillors Toni Millar and Penny Sefuiva said they now opposed the waterfront site.

Ms Millar said she was against the $500 million project because of "real concern" of a cost blowout and lack of information about whether ratepayers would be liable for extra costs.

She also had the same concerns about the $385 million redevelopment of Eden Park.

Mrs Sefuiva said she could not support the waterfront site as it was just a "fantasy. There's no business case ... I have not seen a single detailed costing for it".

One of the undecided, John Hinchcliff, said he was waiting for more information about the waterfront because there were too many "ifs and buts".

Leila Boyle remains undecided but wants to consider building a new stadium at Carlaw Park.

Before the council sits to debate the merits of the waterfront versus Eden Park, it will get a presentation on the advantages of Carlaw Park from a group suggesting it can be done through a public-private partnership.

Councillors Christine Caughey and Richard Simpson favour the park on Stanley St which is near to on-ramps for the Southern and Northwestern motorways.

"I'm against the waterfront - it will hold back the potential of redevelopment and bring more cars into the city. Eden Park does not inspire me," Mr Simpson said.

The Government had given the council only two choices but he was sure other councillors would like to have Carlaw Park added to the mix.

Councillor Richard Northey, who leads the council's Rugby World Cup working party, said it sought to put Carlaw Park on the agenda before the waterfront vote.

The draft motion asks that the council recommend the waterfront as first preference, Eden Park as second and, if neither suit, that Carlaw Park be the site to ensure the Rugby World Cup final remains in Auckland.

Waterfront supporter and councillor Bill Christian dismissed the chances of Carlaw Park winning majority support after being rejected by the Government.

He predicted 11 or 12 councillors would vote against any attempt to have Eden Park become first choice, instead favouring a waterfront stadium.

Auckland Regional Council gets to vote tomorrow on the waterfront stadium but chairman Mike Lee last night refused to give his view of how the ARC vote would go. He said the public would be able to speak before the formal debate began.