NewstalkZB reports the Prime Minister John Key as saying the $39 million lost hosting the Rugby World Cup was “worth it”.
“Yes, the country has spent quite a bit of money upgrading its stadia, but they’re long term assets and I think for the marketing of New Zealand and the promotion of New Zealand are well and truly worth it and I think New Zealanders have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s money well-spent,” he says.
I gather that John Key has told the NZ Rugby Board that the taxpayers would be willing to front up with two thirds of whatever the loss will be. Mr. Key didn’t ask me, and I wonder if he asked any other readers about this “willingness”.
I keep reading statements designed to justify this loss, but I’m having trouble finding anything concrete. Its all the kind of marketing double speak that usually makes me extremely mistrustful of what I’m being told. Stuff like this from Gareth Evans–
Hosting a major global event like the Rugby World Cup has the effect of focusing the attentions of the host nation. It creates a reason for internal reflection, which externally manifests itself in the creation of a long term development strategy, based around the event in question.
As far as hard figures go though, what’s out there? I hear that the cup was expected to generate revenue of $700 million. To whom exactly? Did it? Will it? Where’s the money?
I know the IRB have claimed a profit of around $200 million. Why then does the NZ taxpayer have to be willing to fund two thirds of the local IRB’s (the NZRB) losses?
Surely another $26 million from the IRB would be more reasonable than asking the taxpayer to fund it. My own perspective is that taxpayers should not be compelled to contribute to entrepreneurial events, but that’s just me. I’m weird I guess.
I get the feeling that all we’ve got for that $26 million that John Key and his buddies forked out for us, is a gold painted brick.