"It is vital that the new Auckland Council focuses on priorities and does not allow itself to be sidetracked with airs of grandeur" says North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams.
Suggestions that Auckland should consider staging the Olympic Games are not supported by Mayor Williams.
"I was involved in the discussions for a possible bid for the Commonweatlth Games and at $600 million this was seen by the government and by the Auckland region as being unaffordable given the priorities Auckland and New Zealand had for more important infrastructure" says Mayor Williams.
"Instead the Government chose quite sensibly to concentrate on centres of sporting excellence, which I support, and as a result we have been able to proceed with strategic facility developments at the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health on the North Shore, a National Ocean Water Sports Centre at Takapuna and other high performance centres at Lake Karapiro and QE2 park in Christchurch."
"This is where we as a small country need to be concentrating, not on plans for an Olympic Games that would cost many billions of dollars, a cost that a country of less than 5 million people simply could not afford. The London Games 2012 are estimated to be costing in excess of 9 Billion Pounds. (see refs below) That sort of venture is just pointless given our size and resources" says Mayor Williams.
"We can host many wonderful international sporting events as a result of these new centres of excellence, such as yachting regattas off Takapuna Beach, an international swim meet at the new pool complex at the Millennium, world triathlons, or the world rowing champs at Karapiro later this year. These are affordable, an Olympic Games is not."
"The new Auckland Council must focus on priorities and they very much are transport infrastructure including another harbour crossing, development of the waterfront, a cruise ship terminal, and ongoing improvements to town centres and local neighbourhoods across the region."
"We must not get sidetracked by pie in the sky ideas of grandeur such as hosting the Olympic Games when Auckland will have heavy demand on all available finances to deliver what is needed for the people of the Auckland region" the Mayor concluded.
London Olympics 2012 references: