Friday, January 28, 2011

No Piss-Up In Dunedin

At last, some common sense prevails!
Dunedin City Council has said "no" to a Party Central venue for Rugby World Cup fans, after crunching the numbers and finding it was already facing a $400,000 loss on running the matches in its new stadium.
Building a white elephant?
The city's gone into huge debt - against the will of many ratepayers - to build a stadium in time for the *yawn* 2011 Rugby World Cup [The total cost of the stadium including land purchases is NZ$198.3 million - Wikipedia]. Now it's discovered that running the Cup will cost the stadium operator (owned by the ratepayers) another $400,000. The city won't make a red cent out of it - so why incur a further $300,000 on a central city piss-up point for fans?
Well done! It's high time the brakes were put on expenditure to fuel this RWC hysteria. I'm sure the ratepayers of Dunedin will very much appreciate their council drawing the line. And from my memories of Dunedin, there're plenty of watering holes in that fair city to keep fans lubricated anyway.
But I suspect many places around the country are not fully aware of all the costs, all the social impact coming their way. Neither, may I suggest, are a lot of citizens - eg: think about how difficult it'll suddenly be, to book a flight to visit Auntie Mable. And consider the massively-inflated motel and rental car prices you'll have to pay (even if you're not remotely interested in the bloody RWC)!
There's been lotsa talk about how this *yawn* prestigious event will make everyone heaps of dosh. But just where will these vast returns come from?
To illustrate, just look at Africa's 2010 FIFA World Cup. The govt spent $4.81 billion on it, the event attracted 310,000 tourists and $532.94 million in foreign spending. But that was a third short of the 450,000 visitors forecast. And their average spend was only 10% of what the govt spent on the tournament. Consulting firm KPMG surveyed 100 of its top clients and found just 22% felt they had gained benefit from the World Cup.
Now, these stats come directly from the Rugby New Zealand 2011 Fact Sheet:
Hosting RWC 2011 will generate more than $1.15 billion in total economic activity, and pump more than half a billion dollars into NZ economy.
RWC 2011 will add $507 million to NZ’s gross domestic product (GDP), 23% more than original forecasts prepared at the time of the bid to host the Cup.
RWC 2011 will also provide NZ Govt an additional $112 million in tax revenue.
Auckland, as host of RWC 2011 Final, stands to gain around $240 million in additional GDP and $262 million of total direct additional expenditure.
But of course, against these extremely upbeat numbers, we can't forget that our govt's on record as saying the RWC will blow-out to the tune of $40 million!
Hmmm, I'll be very interested to see the final bank statement...

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