Thursday, April 28, 2011

RWC: The True Cost

I've said it all along - the *yawn* Rugby World Cup 2011 will cost us big time.
But, not being an economist, I could not have calculated such a huge deficit as was proposed in the Herald! "NZ will spend more than $1.2 billion on investments... but the RWC will make only $700 million in direct economic returns." That's - a - HALF-BILLION-DOLLAR - loss!!!
RWC Minister and all-round womble Muddling McCully said it in a nutshell (though he didn't actually intend to): "The important thing is to understand the scale... it's way bigger than anything we've ever done before." And that's true - have we ever before held any event with such a budgeted loss? This is the same minister who told us triumphantly (in Aug.2009) that RWC was only going to lose $40million and that was "small beer"! OK, Muzz, so now the entire brewery's gone down the gurgler!
Major upgrades of stadiums, ports and airports; the $12m inflatable rugby ball; signage and transport improvements; manpower costs; the "Cloud" piss-up venue on Queens Wharf... and the spending continues unabated with places like Hamilton being legally forced to spend $410k on upgrading its stadium lights. Jeez...
NZ Institute of Economic Research principal economist Shamubeel Eaqub: "The RWC was never that big. People got really excited because it's something to hang your hat on. People have blown this event out of proportion."
Naturally, fighting 'til the final whistle, RWC CEO Martin Snedden says this is all bollocks! He disputes the way the report analyses several costs and income streams, including ticket revenue and cost of upgrading stadiums and infrastructure: ''If this is intended to be a serious piece of economic analysis then it's incredibly flawed.'' But then, he would say that, wouldn't he? That's what he's paid to say.
Even now, long before the RWC has kicked off, Australia is thinking of bidding for RWC 2027! But they're saying their efforts will show the world how great NZ's 2011 RWC could have been. Ouch!

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