Auckland Moving Ahead On 2018 Commonwealth Games Bid

The New Zealand Herald reports Auckland’s bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games is moving ahead.

Former Commonwealth secretary general Sir Don McKinnon will be promoting the bid overseas, the city’s mayors are behind the idea, and Brisbane has offered to drop its bid for the 2018 games.

Auckland mayor John Banks said the process had “moved well beyond” a standoff between central and local government over funding. They are now sharing the $325,000 cost of a feasibility study. The report is due next month and there will be a firm decision on a bid expected by February.

Banks said until then Sir Don McKinnon would be “working the phones” to gauge support among Commonwealth members overseas.

The New Zealand Herald reports hosting the 2011 Rugby Work Cup has given Auckland a head-start on preparations, and an upgraded Eden Park would be a likely focus point, said New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary Barry Maister.

The minimum capacity for a games opening ceremony is 40,000 and Eden Park can accommodate 47,000, which will be increased to 50,000 after the World Cup.

Banks was concerned about the lack of cycling and swimming facilities. The cost of bringing existing venues up to scratch was not known.

New Zealand has hosted the games twice, at Christchurch in 1974 and Auckland in 1990.

There have been discussions about Auckland hosting the 2018 game for more than two years.