Redman, Simcock rubbish race report

RESIGNATION: Michael Redman.
RESIGNATION: Michael Redman.

Former mayor Michael Redman says he has been made a scapegoat for Hamilton's failed V8 street race.

Mr Redman turned up yesterday to hear councillors' first public debate on the findings, and described the audit report to media as riddled with "errors and inaccuracies" and said its authors ignored his contribution.

"The report I was provided with, which cost city ratepayers over $100,000, contains multiple factual errors and incorrect attributions. I reject outright any suggestion management operated without council's knowledge and have provided evidence that that was not the case. The report was initially completed without any input from me, and the authors have largely ignored my detailed and comprehensive feedback," said Mr Redman.

"The ratepayers of Hamilton deserve better. The councillors involved now have to reconcile their knowledge of what happened with these findings. They have a moral obligation to ratepayers to correct the record."

Former mayor Bob Simcock said the report was "shameful" and councillors blaming staff were "gutless".

After its first year, he said the story of the V8 event was simple: "The recession hit, revenues fell, losses built up, the operators went broke, and the new operators couldn't drive sufficient sales to achieve success."

Auditors also criticised councillors' decision in April last year to transfer the rights from the initial promoters to V8 Supercars without knowing the event's costs. "Mr Simcock advised us that he did not consider that information on total costs was necessary for council to make its decision. We disagree. Council should have insisted on manage-ment providing all this information."

But Mr Simcock said many of the auditors' conclusions were wrong, and they had found a scapegoat for blame.

"By placing an unjustified level of blame on staff, and on Michael Redman in particular, the review has achieved council's shameful goal. While I agree with a number of the recommendations the review has made around process, there is nothing in [it] that would have led to a different outcome for the event," he said.

"For more than four years every significant decision relating to the event was supported by the unanimous vote of 13 councillors. At the time, and given the information that was available to council, councillors made reasonable decisions. If with the knowledge of hindsight, the community believes we got it wrong, we all share that responsibility. Councillors who blame their decisions on staff are gutless and unfit for public office."

Waikato Times