Government rejects Auckland Commonwealth Games support

BY COLIN ESPINER
Last updated 14:25 16/03/2010

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The Government has decided it will not provide taxpayer funding to help Auckland stage a bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Prime Minister John Key has just confirmed Cabinet has agreed the move would be too expensive and the returns not worth it for the Government.

Key said an economic analysis had shown running the event would result in a loss of $600 million for the taxpayer.

"The issue is what it costs to run the event. It's very, very expensive and we can't see the economic payback," Key told reporters a short time ago.

"The Government had considered the value from tourism spin-offs and a rise in the country's profile but decided the losses outweighed the gains.

"The economic loss was so great that we just couldn't justify it."

Key said the Government's support of the Rugby World Cup was different. "The Rugby World Cup has a big cost in terms of investing in stadiums but not in terms of the actual running of the event. The Commonwealth Games it was largely an operating loss for running the event."

The Government has been weighing Auckland's bid for the Games for months but has kept its decision close to its chest. Sports Minister Murray McCully was still refusing to confirm the Government's plans early this afternoon.

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- The Press

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