Banksie Bulletin: An international city needs international events

 

People often say to me “Banksie there are too many stadiums in Greater Auckland”. That is not the case. There are simply not enough events.

For Greater Auckland to become a world class, prosperous and economically vibrant city, we need a real focus on attracting international events to our region. We, must fill our stadiums, entice tourists and make our citizens feel proud of the place they call home.

Next year we’ll host the Rugby World Cup. The economic benefits that come from this one off 6 week event are huge. An estimated $267 million dollars will be spent in Greater Auckland alone.

But the most important benefit to our city will be long term. For 6 weeks of the tournament the world’s media will be camped among us and they will deliver our message to their people. If we make good hosts, they will visit in years to come.

Rugby World Cup has given us the opportunity to ensure we have world class facilities and stadiums. However, we can do more and I am committed to a Convention Centre.

I am also committed to bringing other major events to Greater Auckland. Events, such as the 2015 Cricket World Cup, World Masters Games in 2017, CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting), the Melbourne Motors Show to name a few.

In Auckland City we have a track record for delivering major showcases.

Our Council along with the Government recently won a bid to host a stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race. The bid cost $3 million dollars – we committed 50% each. This two week festival will be free to the public and beamed live around the world to an estimated 1.8 billion viewers in 200 countries. The last time the race stopped in Auckland in 2002, it delivered $26 million dollars to our economy. In 2012, it will be even bigger.

That’s how we make Greater Auckland a world class, prosperous and vibrant city. Big events – mean big local crowds, big tourist numbers and big dollars for our city and our businesses. It also means jobs, improved infrastructure, benefits to the environment, social and business development.

A united Council we will have a real opportunity to focus intensely on attracting more international eyes and dollars. If I am Mayor, the Economic Development, Tourism and Events Agency will have a considerable budget.

The rivalry to host major international events is more intense than ever before – 60 cities wanted to host the 2007 Americas Cup. Currently Greater Auckland’s funding dedicated to bids like this, doesn’t come close to our neighbours across the ditch.

Victoria, undoubtedly Australia’s most successful events state – led by Melbourne – has an annual budget of $96 million dollars. The Auckland region has just $12 million. This has to change.

Like Melbourne we won’t just concentrate on sports. We must become a city known for hosting exhibitions, arts and cultural. If we don’t have the infrastructure then we need to invest in it. A Super City needs super events. I am committed to bringing them.