Australian Olympic officials were vehement Thursday that New Zealand is not being considered to jointly host venues with Southeast Queensland should Australia move forward and bid to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
On Wednesday Queensland’s tourism minister Kate Jones had let slip that the New Zealand possibility existed when discussing planning efforts with a group of journalists.
She said “At the moment we have a lot of that infrastructure, and the [International Olympic Committee’s (IOC)] willingness to allow us to host it over more locations, either in Queensland or indeed Australia, there’s been some talk about New Zealand…”
Realizing her sudden revelation, Jones went on to explain “we’re not seriously considering that, it’s just a suggestion.”
Australian Olympic Chief John Coates, who is also an IOC Vice President and architect of new Olympic site selection plans that give more flexibility for joint-hosting, quickly shot down any chances that New Zealand would be involved in the bid.
“It’s never been suggested and when you stop and think about it, the reason we’ve come to Queensland is the weather,” Coates said, according to the Brisbane Times.
“Are we going to go to the Arctic, are we?”
The 2032 Games will be proposed within a July and August window, according to Olympic rules, and New Zealand would be experiencing winter conditions with temperatures in some areas dipping to near freezing. Brisbane and Southeast Queensland typically experience much milder conditions during the period.
— Kate Jones (@katejonesqld) November 21, 2019
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also denied any possible New Zealand discussions, she said at a press conference “there is no entertaining at all of New Zealand at all being part of the Queensland Olympics bid.”
Coates did hint, however, that plans could change before the final bid is put together. He said “it may well be that we get to December when it goes to cabinet and there will be some things that will change in the six months before a final submission is made to the IOC.”
Coates has said in the past that a bid will only be forwarded if there was economic feasibility, and if the State has already committed to building needed transportation upgrades in the region ahead of 2032. Early feasibility plans called for the use of mostly existing venues, but a new main stadium will need to be constructed.
Organizers say a USD $1.8 billion (AUD $2.6 billion) investment from the IOC combined with existing venues from across Queensland will lead to a cost-neutral Games.
Normally the IOC would have taken bids for the 2032 Games in 2023, but earlier this year the IOC dismantled the rigid site selection process and removed the strict timelines. The new rules put in place an actual race for interested cities to put their plans in front of the IOC quickly, not knowing when newly formed IOC Future Host Commissions will eventually shake hands with the winning bid.
Currently considered the front runner, Australia was the first serious bid to leave the starting block when a delegation traveling to IOC headquarters in Lausanne met with President Thomas Bach earlier this year. Continued speed will give the Queensland bid a significant competitive advantage.
A potential joint bid between North and South Korea has made diplomatic overtures during the past year but the project seems to have stalled as tensions on the Korean Peninsula continue to create uncertainty.
Indonesia has also hinted at bidding for the Games using the Jakarta-Palembang 2018 Asian Games as a springboard, but a recent decision to move the Capital to Borneo could create friction to move forward.
India is considering launching a bid from one of its major cities while Germany is proposing a regional project across several municipalities.
If the Queensland bid gets cabinet approval next month, a bid could be filed with the IOC in the middle of next year. President Bach has already said that the IOC will not select a winner before 2021.