‘You‘d think this report put our national security at risk‘

Three Auckland councillors are continuing their fight over a stadium project report, saying imposing conditions over councillors‘ access is absurd and disrespectful.

Councillor Cathy Casey said she did not accept the latest restrictions on the report. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The Ombudsman ruled the council must publicly release an edited version of the report commissioned by Phil Goff.

Councillors were then told they could view the withheld portions only by reading them in the mayor‘s office, and then were given a series of conditions to being allowed to have copies of the full report.

Cathy Casey, Efeso Collins and John Watson are ing the Ombudsman today to discuss the caveats.

The email told them: “We are now making an unredacted copy of both reports available to you, as a gesture of good faith.

“The key conditions of doing so are … the reports may not be copied; they must be kept in a secure location and after reading them you are asked to return both copies to me (on the basis that if you subsequently need them, you may request access again).”

Councillor Collins said the low level of trust in elected representatives was absurd.

“I remain totally dismayed by this heavy handed behaviour. You‘d think this report put our national security at risk with all these caveats in place.”

Councillor Casey said they do not accept the latest restrictions.

“We are elected representatives, just like the mayor,” she said. “He has no more right of access than we have. In our three wards alone we represent nearly 500,000 Aucklanders.”

“We find the mayor‘s behaviour throughout this matter concerning,” said Councillor Watson. “This is a ratepayer funded report that cost nearly $1 million yet was kept from elected representatives for nearly a year.

“We have the right to access information paid for by our residents especially when it‘s in relation to a proposal that carries with it the prospect of a $1.5 billion stadium project.”

A specialist in public law has backed them, saying they should have the same rights as the mayor to see a report on a downtown stadium.

Dean Knight of Victoria University said in law there is little distinction between the rights of a mayor, and of councillors, to relevant information.

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