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NZOC Takes First Step In Bid For Commonwealth Games

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
NZOC Takes First Step In Bid For Commonwealth Games

3 July 2009 - The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) will commission an Advance Support Programme to assess Auckland's capability of hosting the Commonwealth Games after central government confirmed its intention to co-fund the investigation today.

The NZOC's decision marks the first stage in looking into the feasibility, costs and benefits of hosting the 2018 event in Auckland and funding for the study will be shared between central and local government.

The investigation will be carried out by Events Knowledge Service (EKS), a subsidiary company of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

The study will identify gaps, strengths and weaknesses in the Auckland region's ability to host the Commonwealth Games.

NZOC Secretary General Barry Maister says this first step is critical. "The Commonwealth Games Federation will work with us to assess the viability of a bid. The project will be conducted with the support of central and local government and is just the first in a series of steps towards a prospective bid."

A decision to bid or not will be made by January 2010.

The investigation into Auckland's Commonwealth Games bid is coordinated by the New Zealand Olympic Committee together with New Zealand Major Events (NZME) , SPARC and the Auckland councils. The cost of $325,000 is to be shared among the Auckland Councils, SPARC and NZME. The NZOC appointed working group will be joined by the Auckland Mayors, the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) Chair and Minister McCully at a meeting today in Auckland as preparations commence for the arrival of members of EKS next month. Mr Maister is delighted to have strong support for the Commonwealth Games evaluation from both central and local government.

"The Commonwealth Games is a significant sporting opportunity for our athletes and is unique in its ability to inspire friendship and camaraderie between a diverse group of nations that share a common history. Supporting an investigation into New Zealand's ability to host a games is a step towards bringing this spirit directly into our own communities."

SPARC CEO Peter Miskimmin said the feasibility study would provide rigorous information about the costs and benefits of holding the games.

"Hosting a Commonwealth Games would provide substantial benefits for sport in New Zealand, and potentially major positive legacies in terms of infrastructure, volunteer base and participation. "

The Auckland input into the prospective bid is sponsored by the Auckland Regional Council and led by its economic development unit, AucklandPlus.

AucklandPlus Chairman Michael Barnett believes the feasibility study will provide an important legacy for Auckland even if the bid for the Games does not proceed.

"The councils of Auckland are supporting the Advance Support Programme as not only will it provide clear direction around our ability to host a Commonwealth Games, but also Auckland's ability to host any mega-event," he said. "This piece of work is important in its own right."

Mr Barnett says mega events such as the Commonwealth Games have the potential to provide the hosts with exceptional economic and wider benefits.

Representatives of EKS are expected in New Zealand in July with a final feasibility report completed by September. A cost benefit analysis will follow before a decision to bid or not is made by early 2010.

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