They went for bloody stupid.
But they gave themselves an out: if the bloody stupid bedpan isn't built on Bledisloe and Mallard bulldozes on regardless -- and let's face it, "bulldozing on regardless" is his most characteristic personality trait -- they can try and wash their hands of what they've done.
There's still two votes to go before a billion dollars is directed towards one stadium for two rugby games, but it's worth reflecting on the hangover afterwards for expensive stadiums built for prestige instead of with economic sense. They're currently reflecting on post-Olympic hangovers in London, in Greece and in Barcelona -- and air travellers are still paying for the Sydney hangover.
Is that going to be Auckland's fate in 2012, though without even the undeniable architectural delights those other cities have as compensation?
UPDATE: These are the twelve councillors that Auckland ratepayers need to remember at the next council elections: Scott Milne, Glenda Fryer, Leila Boyle, Graeme Mulholland, Richard Northey, Dick Hubbard, Doug Armstrong, Noelene Raffills, Vern Walsh, Linda Leighton, Toni Millar, Bill Christian.
UPDATE 2: Newstalk ZB's website will be streaming live the ARC's meeting for their own stadium vote later today. As the putative 'owners' of the Ports of Auckland, the ARC should be expected to guard the interests of New Zealand's largest port and our trade gateway to the world. But they are also politicians.
UPDATE 3: Vote expected by midday.
UPDATE 4: ARC seem to be heading towards a "No" on the bedpan. The presentation to them earlier this morning by Ports of Auckland and the lack of solid information on the bedpan both seem to have been highly influential.
UPDATE 5: ARC turns down bedpan unanimously, on a vote of 12-0. Notes Newstalk ZB:
Attention now turns to Helengrad: How does Mallard spin these two votes to sidestep the resounding "No" vote? What deals can he do? And does he have the numbers to get the necessary legislation voted through? Herald summary here.
In summing up just before the vote, ARC Chairman, Mike Lee says it all came down to a matter of costs, not just of building the stadium, but on Ports of Auckland and the environment.
He also counted the moral cost of over-riding the Resource Management Act, the precedent and moral dilemma that it would create for councillors. Mr Lee says those costs are just too great.
UPDATE 6: Mallard has announced a press conference in Auckland for 3:30 this afternoon. I note that Mother Hubbard has already said that she "didn't hear the word 'veto' used this morning" -- is that to be the spin? 12-0 against, but you don't count that because the word "veto" isn't used!
Could it now be possible to throw both false alternatives out, and to proceed with one of the more sensible options?
LINKS: Stadium choice: Two false alternatives - Not PC
The 2012 Olympic Games - One London
The day(s) after - Alexander Kitroeff, Greekworks.Com
Building another ghost town for the Olympics? - Patrick Hanlon, The Informer Online
[Hat tip Owen McShane]
Waterfront stadium: ARC 'no', city council 'yes', Mallard? - NZ Herald
RELATED: Stadium, Politics-NZ, Auckland