Auckland’s 2018 Commonwealth Bid Threatened

The New Zealand Herald reports Auckland’s prospects of bidding to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games are under threat because of cost cutting by the government.

According to the Herald, Gerry Brownlee, Minister for Economic Development, has withdrawn $500,000 earmarked by the previous government for a study into whether Auckland could stage the even.

The Ministry of Economic Development’s industry and regional development deputy secretary Mark Steel said in a letter to the New Zealand Olympic Committee that the money promised by Labour had been conditional on city councils agreeing to put in money. Steel said in the letter, “after due consideration, and now that it is clear most cities that were initially approached will not be participating, the minister has indicated he is not convinced that the case has been established for allocating government resources”.

Alex Swney, chief executive of the central Auckland business group Head of the City, said if the study was canned Auckland would miss a tourism opportunity. “We’ve got the Rugby World Cup in 2011, to have the Commonwealth Games to look forward to in (another) seven years would have been absolutely spectacular. You don’t get a Commonwealth Games without doing the first steps, and this was the first steps”.

Although Auckland held the 1990 Commonwealth Games not all civic leaders back a 2018 bid, reports the Herald.

Swney said it did not bode well for Auckland that councils couldn’t agree to pitch in “with what at the end of the day is a bit of chump change” to make a decent effort.