Hamilton warning over V8s

JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 13:00 06/07/2012

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Councillors embroiled in Hamilton's V8 Supercars saga have sounded warnings to their Auckland counterparts after they voted to host the race at Pukekohe next year.

Auckland Council yesterday voted to bring the V8 Supercars race back to Pukekohe raceway for the first time since 2007, at a cost of $10.5m to ratepayers over five years.

The event cost Hamilton ratepayers about $40m over the same period.

Government funding of $2.2m helped Auckland secure the race, with the money going towards a $6.6m upgrade of Pukekohe Park Raceway.

Hamilton councillor Roger Hennebry said, in the wake of Hamilton's V8s fallout, Auckland was taking a gamble on the event. "History proves that car racing is a risky business," he said.

"It's dependent on weather and turnout and it's a gamble. It's probably a gamble I took on behalf of the council about six or seven years ago that, in hindsight, I wouldn't have done now."

Mr Hennebry said he was "disgusted" that Government was contributing money to the race when it rejected any funding requests from Hamilton City Council.

"Government is sending mixed messages because they're telling us to stick to core business and, on the other hand, they're actually giving a dollop of money to upgrade a race track, to again gamble on ratepayers' money."

When councillor Dave Macpherson heard of the proposed cost to Auckland ratepayers he quipped: "I think I hear a Tui ad coming on.

"I think any Hamilton councillor would be saying don't, whatever you do, assume that the costs that you have now are going to be what end up as the costs. Those figures seem quite similar to ones we were originally told. I'll eat my hat if they don't have considerable extra costs."

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- Waikato Times

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