General view of the pre-game Anzac ceremony.  NRL Rugby League match - Warriors v Titans, played on Saturday 25 April 2015 at Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand.  Copyright Photo:  Bruce Lim / www.photosport.co.nz

Council urged to defer stadium vote

On the eve of the Auckland Council’s round of 10-year budget meetings, Vodafone Warriors chairman Bill Wavish and managing director Jim Doyle have jointly appealed to all council members to defer a vote on the city’s controversial stadium strategy.

All councillors have been sent a letter in which Wavish and Doyle implore them to postpone any decision on the strategy proposed by Regional Facilities Auckland to clear the way for a full review.

The Auckland Council is due to begin three days of budget meetings tomorrow which will impact on the city’s 10-year plan including a much-debated shake-up of the region’s stadiums.

Doyle today repeated voting for the strategy would have dire consequences for the Vodafone Warriors and the city in general.

“We have made it clear through our own submission to the council in March and also in our letter sent to all councillors that the proposal to move us out of Mount Smart Stadium makes no sense at all,” he said.

Doyle and Wavish have recommended to all councillors that any vote regarding the stadium strategy should be deferred.

“The RFA has a new CEO, I’m also new to my role and neither of us has been involved in the plans for the RFA’s proposed use of the stadiums,” said Doyle.

“The Vodafone Warriors therefore suggest this isn’t the time to be going ahead with a major strategy on which there has been such limited consultation.

“Indeed we believe it would be prudent to put the proposal to one side and for all parties involved (Auckland Council, RFA, ATEED, Vodafone Warriors, speedway, rugby union and cricket) to reconvene and reconsider the best possible use of the city’s stadiums.

“If the matter of our long-term future at Mount Smart isn’t resolved satisfactorily we would have no option but to consider venues outside Auckland.

“We will not be forced to leave Mount Smart at any point during our current lease which expires at the end of 2018. Furthermore, if the proposed RFA stadium strategy is supported, then we will actively encourage the incoming council to overturn the ill-conceived strategy prior to our lease expiring.”

Doyle urged councillors to hold off voting on the stadium strategy to ensure the way is opened for further discussion on what best serves Auckland’s needs.