Monday, August 10, 2009

$40m "Small Beer" Blowout?

Colin 'Pinetree' Meads
This is the first and possibly only time rugby will feature in this blog...
NZers have grown up with rugby legends like Colin "Pinetree" Meads, Jonah Lomu, Sean Fitzpatrick, John Kirwin, Buck Shelford and latterly Richie McCaw: these and others have inspired thousands of kiwi kids.
Rugby's called "New Zealand's Game", but it's actually not our most popular sport. Sorry - it ranks 21st. on SPARC's 2007/2008 'Sport Participation Levels' survey, embarrassingly far below netball, fishing, swimming and even gardening. Public interest in rugby's at a 16-year low too, according to recent polls. Ok, enough background...
Personally I've never understood the game, the rules, the whole mentality – slamming bodily into opponents, fisticuffs on the 22, scrums, hookers, first 5s...and let's not even start on the escalating parental verbal abuse on school match sidelines!
What I do understand/abhor is wholesale wastage of public money.
Last weekend I read the *yawn* 2011 Rugby World Cup is blowing out to the tune of $40 million! "The cup – underwritten by the taxpayer and NZ Rugby Union – was originally forecast to lose only $30m." ONLY $30m???
Minister for the Rugby World Cup Muddling McCully says, "The upside for NZ in terms of its brand value and exposure to the world is enormous, so the projected losses are small beer by comparison.”
Hang on, aren't these things supposed to make money? If this thing goes belly-up, the NZ taxpayers (the very ones who're losing interest in rugby!) underwrite two-thirds of it: that's nearly $27m!!!
Small beer, my arse!

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