School's reprieve over Rugby World Cup rules

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 12:16 30/06/2011
Westown School
ROBERT CHARLES/Taranaki Daily News

BUDGET: Westown School pupils Brooke Sorensen, 10, left, Arawhetu Waipoua-Bryers, 9 and Teina Ngaia, 10. Principal Diane Carr looks on.

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A Taranaki primary school will be allowed to run its traditional sports field carpark during Rugby World Cup matches after all.

A Ministry of Economic Development spokesman says the ministry will not use World Cup advertising laws to stop schools raising money through charging for car parking.

Yesterday, New Plymouth Rugby World Cup venue manager Jenny Mills said the Westown Primary School's car parking operation would not be allowed under the Major Events Management Act and would be reported to the ministry.

But James Funnell, for the MED, says discretion would be used and school fundraisers were ok as long as they were not used as a commercial marketing opportunity.

For decades Westown Primary School has charged rugby spectators a small fee to park on its field when matches are held at Yarrow Stadium across the road.

But they had put plans to run the carpark during New Plymouth's three World Cup matches this year on hold, because it was against the regulations.

Today Funnell said it appeared there had been a misunderstanding.

''The two or three enforcement officers who will be in New Plymouth will be looking for deliberate commercial ambush marketing attempts,'' he said.

''We're interested in stopping companies trying to make a free buck by directly associating themselves with Rugby World Cup 2011 when they have no right to do so.

''We're not going to be in town to tell local schools they cannot charge money for letting people park in their grounds.''

It's good news for Westown, which had budgeted to raise $9000 through the carparks during the World Cup before abandoning its plans.

Mills said the rules were designed to protect the tournament and its sponsors and applied to everybody.

''It stops people making a profit by getting on the bandwagon,'' she said.

And, with the under 21 FIFA World Cup coming to New Zealand in 2015, it was a way to ensure New Plymouth was allocated more games, she said.

''There will be a magnifying glass on each of the regions to see who's doing what.''

The New Plymouth District Council had invited numerous organisations, including Westown School, to attend seminars on the do's and don'ts of World Cup trading, she said.

''We have put out various programmes to get that information out.''

Anyone unsure about the rules should visit the Rugby World Cup 2011 website and click on the Major Events Management Act rules or contact the council or Venture Taranaki, she said.

Funnell did say the transport management plans in place around each world cup match in New Plymouth would be considerably different from during normal matches however, and not all roads around the stadium would be open to public vehicles.

He said that it was important local businesses understood that clean zone restrictions (which apply on the day before, and the day of each match in New Plymouth) would have no impact on existing businesses continuing with their normal advertising and promotion activities, as long as they did not try to associate themselves with the World Cup.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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