Auckland Council has spent $225,000 of ratepayers' money on New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) through its tourism arm ATEED, despite the event being largely closed to the public.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development released the figure this morning after coming under pressure to reveal how much had been spent on sponsorship of the event.
ATEED chief executive Brett O'Riley said the money came from its Major Events Strategy 2012/2013 fund of $2.2million.
He said money was allocated to events according to the regional return on investment, visitor nights in Auckland, how the event would enhance Auckland's liveability, and the level of international exposure.
A NZFW spokesman said ATEED's contribution represented less than 10 per cent of the events total operating costs.
O'Riley said details of the sponsorship had been kept under wraps until now "to allow New Zealand Fashion Week to undertake commercial negotiations with sponsors and partners".
Councillor Cameron Brewer applauded ATEED and NZFW for their transparency in releasing the figure and said the amount seemed like value for money for rate payers.
"This is was not about being anti-fashion week, it was about the need for transparency. The amount, I don't think is overwhelming or eye watering.''
Brewer said as well as financial returns NZFW brought vibrancy and a "buzz" to Auckland.
ATEED's economic research has forecast the event will bring $694,935 of new money into the Auckland economy and generate more than 6000 domestic and international visitor nights.
"Auckland City Council's 2009 evaluation of the event showed that there was an indirect spend of over $7m, with local and international buyers purchasing from designers after the event period."
O'Riley said all 22 events that got ATEED funding for the 2012/13 year would be evaluated at the end of June next year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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