By Tom McRae
This afternoon Auckland Council voted to bring the V8 Supercars back to Pukekohe - costing ratepayers almost $11 million.
“This is a huge win for Auckland,” says Auckland Tourism, Events and Eco Development acting general manager Jennah Wooten.
“We've got a major events strategy with huge targets and having the event back in Auckland is a huge opportunity for us.”
But the event which previously ran through the streets of Hamilton lost ratepayers there $40 million and that has some in Auckland worried.
“It had a scathing Auditor General’s report just last year about the need for local authorities to treat these events and this outfit with kid gloves and I fear we're heading down the same track,” says Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer.
But the council organisation that championed the event says it has done its homework and won’t be liable for any losses.
“This is a sponsorship package - it's not an underwriting open chequebook package,” says Auckland deputy mayor Penny Hulse.
Auckland Council will invest $10.6 million over five years and it's hoped 130,000 people will attend every year - bringing $7 million into Auckland's economy annually.
As part of agreement Pukekohe Park will get a $6.6 million upgrade.
The rival New Zealand owned Supertourers franchise says for only $250,000 it could bring big names like Scott Dixon to its race at Pukekohe..
“I think they should be looking after the interests of ratepayers and that's to pay as little as they can,” says Supertourers’ Mark Petch.
But the council says that event wouldn’t bring the returns it wants.
“At the moment that event isn't generating enough visitor nights and economic benefit to make it into our major portfolio,” says Ms Wooten.
So Auckland petrol heads will have to rely on the Aussie supercars instead to get their V8 fix.