RNZ, Auckland, June 15, 2018
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is defending his actions around a report on a central city stadium, arguing that at least one of his Councillors is consistently leaking material to the media.
Two complaints laid by Auckland Councillors over the release of reports into the feasibility of a downtown stadium are now being formally investigated by the Chief Ombudsman.
Risk of discord
Massey University Public Management Group Director Andy Asquith said that the feud could cause the Council to become dysfunctional.
Mr Goff said that disagreement among Councillors was simply a part of democracy and that the team has worked together and been effective on big issues.
He said that the Stadium report was deliberately kept separate from the budget focus because it was not a priority.
“I did not want the debate – at least 10 years out – over a Stadium to interfere with the focus of our budget,” he told Morning Report.
Mr Goff said that the report was kept confidential because of commercially sensitive information that interested partners had asked not to be divulged.
He said “at least one” Councillor is consistently leaking material and he had to be sensitive to commercial interests.
A letter from nine Councillors – marked confidential – criticising the Mayor over the report was leaked to media on Wednesday.
Mr Goff said it evinces the need for discretion.
“I trust most of my Councillors. Sadly, somebody there gets something marked confidential and it goes out into the public,” he said.
However, Mr Goff acknowledged it was simply part of life.
“There are always people who will leak material and dissent. That’s a core part of democracy and long may it be there,” he said.
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Picture of Auckland Mayor Phil Goff for RNZ by Dan Cook