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America's Cup spend slated

Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014
Tom Shiels
CULTURAL COLLABORATION: Scotsman Tom Shiels has released a series of electronic books, which take in both Scottish and Maori culture.

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Angry Scots are calling out Auckland's major events group after the demise of their own cultural festival.

Tom Shiels, of Birkdale, says he is gobsmacked at $220,113 being spent on last year's America's Cup in San Francisco.

Mr Shiels, president of the now defunct Scottish Cultural Festival, says the sum could have kept the event going for 10 years.

The Auckland Domain-based festival has been canned for good, he says.

Mr Shiels is stumped at how much can be spent on an overseas event rather than in Auckland.

Scottish Cultural Festival organisers sought $13,000 from Auckland Council for the 2014 event.

Diwali, Chinese Lantern Festival and Pride parade all get funds from council, he says.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, known as ATEED, spent $220,113 on last year's Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup in San Francisco.

This saw 18 people travel to the United States and costs were within the organisation's authority, chief executive Brett O'Riley says.

Rachael Carroll, general manager of the organisation's destination and marketing group, says the group is not funded to support regional and local events.

"ATEED's investment in the America's Cup was based on an economic growth and business attraction and investment programme of work, and was not an event sponsorship."

"Major events can play a key role in helping cities achieve their long-term economic and social aspirations."

The organisation's 2013/14 major events portfolio includes 35 events, she says.

"The highly successful 2012/2013 major events season, brought in a return on investment of $39.1 million and generated 290,000 visitor nights."

ATEED does not comment publicly on individual applications.

The Scots just want "the same consideration", Mr Shiels says.

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- North Shore Times

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