I’m over hosting the Games

August 3rd, 2014 at 10:58 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A New Zealand bid to host a future may not centre on one city.

That’s because our cities are probably not big enough to cope.

New Zealand Olympic Committee president Mike Stanley this week told the Sunday Star-Times he was ”absolutely sure” that the country would host another Games – for the fourth time in the event’s varied history since inception in 1930.

I’m not so sure.

A successful bid would take close to a decade between launching and hosting, Stanley said, making 2026 the earliest New Zealand could play host – 36 years after Auckland was our last host city.

I love watching the games, but I think hosting them just costs too much. The costs almost always blow out.

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46 Responses to “I’m over hosting the Games”

  1. mikenmild (11,792 comments) says:

    Probably the only way to host them economically would be to have a nominal host city but distribute the events across the country according to available facilities.

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  2. Steve Wrathall (285 comments) says:

    Agreed. These global sporting mega-events just provide the ultimate excuse for politicians to spend money like water. And opening ceremonies are always cringeworthy in the extreme

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  3. iMP (2,422 comments) says:

    By 2026 the Commonwealth Games may not be worth having. With so many international fixtures these days, it simply doesn’t have the pulling power. For example, I’ve not watched a single event or sport re Glasgow (I’m simply not interested enough; the Crusaders final was much more interesting). Let’s face it, Comm Games is a dim bronze medal to the Olympics, itself becoming gradually less relevant as it is corrupted by drug perceptions and inequality.

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  4. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    No fu*king way. A total waste of money.

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  5. georgebolwing (1,011 comments) says:

    What I would love to see, but know it will never happen, is for a promoter of NZ hosting the games (or anything else) to say, honestly, “This event will cost a lot, but its worth it for the fun/experience/honour/pride”.

    While it is difficult to determine the true counter-factual (some of the infrastructure would probably have been built anyway, but probably later), most studies that have look at the economics of hosting this events show that the host city/country ends up worse financially. The Sydney Olympics, for example, cost the people of NSW about $4,000 each net over ten years. If the premier had said “I have a deal for you: give me $400 a year for ten years, and I’ll throw you the biggest and best party you have ever seen”, then (a), that would have been honest and (b) would probably have been accepted by the majority of voters. but rather than do that, a succession of politicians, backed by dubious studies, tried to say that the Olympics would be a money spinner. My favourite was the study that ignored the capital cost of building the facilities on the grounds that they were going to be built anyway. As we saw from the half-empty stadium at the Super 15 final last night, Sydney, 14 years later, so desperately needed a 100,000 seat stadium.

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  6. adze (2,129 comments) says:

    I think the Winter Olympics might be one thing Queenstown could aspire to one day. But the Commonwealth games might not be relevant in future.

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  7. Harriet (5,145 comments) says:

    I couldn’t be bothered watching the Scotland games and I can’t be bothered driving 3hrs down the road to the Gold Coast for the next ones. They’re predictable for the most part and a poor cousin to the olympics.

    As far as future tourists go after holding a Commonwealth games, most people in the commonwealth who can afford to travel to NZ already know about the place. The games won’t make much of a differance. Scotland won’t get too much future tourism from having held them.

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  8. Manolo (14,084 comments) says:

    I’m with Colville: a complete waste of money.

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  9. SGA (1,144 comments) says:

    adze at 11:15 am

    I think the Winter Olympics might be one thing Queenstown could aspire to one day. But the Commonwealth games might not be relevant in future.

    Not sure about that. When you think about all the other events other than downhill skiing in a Winter olympics, it would seem to me out of the question for the foreseeable future.

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  10. mikenmild (11,792 comments) says:

    Wellington had a bid to host the 2006 Commonwealth Games. IIRC it was based on a distributed model – cycling in Wanganui for example – so that the cost of new facilities would be relatively modest. This could be a model for future hosting bids.

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  11. SGA (1,144 comments) says:

    I was out of the country when Auckland last hosted the games. Did it run greatly over budget? Were there any long-term benefits to the improvements in sports infrastructure? How much further development/improvement of those facilities would be required to get them “up to speed” again? No axe to grind, just curious.

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  12. Longknives (4,889 comments) says:

    ‘Straight’ Games are so last century…
    The future is in the ‘Rainbow Olympics’!

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  13. Gulag1917 (1,026 comments) says:

    Commonwealth Games would be a good thing for Christchurch. The Commonwealth of Nations is a good organisation lets support it in every way possible.

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  14. calendar girl (1,272 comments) says:

    You mean those Commonwealth Games that don’t involve the United States, Central & South America (other than the the Carribean), Russia and Eastern Europe, half of Africa, and most of Asia?

    It’s simpler to assess the worth and prestige of the event by which countries are not participants than by those that are.

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  15. CrazyIvan (90 comments) says:

    SGA – the 1990 games resulted in things such as the swimming centre in West Auckland and an upgraded Mt Smart (until the rugby field was extended for the Warriors) – and even then a lot of the seating at Mt Smart was temporary. With the lack of a national athletics stadium I think the Commonwealth Games are out of reach for the foreseeable future. Even something such as the World Track and Field Championships would be out of our league. We can’t even afford another Rugby World Cup

    There are plenty of second tier events. NZF have taken that approach with hosting three age-grade football world cups and talking about a bid for the Women’s World Cup (all with minimal government funding support). Maybe things such as world cycling championships in Cambridge, basketball champs etc

    The only way to host events such as the Commonwealth Games is if the costs can be lowered. Interestingly, at $1.2bn Glasgow has cost only a quarter of Delhi. Glasgow’s done it by using existing facilities (Celtic Park, Ibrox, Hampden Park), rather than build new ones and a lot of their costs are on security.

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  16. flipper (4,240 comments) says:

    A cheap version of the Olympics.

    But both the CGs and the Olympics are run mainly for the benefit of a small, self-perpetuating oligarchy – the “official” poobahs. The athletes are always a secondary consideration. The bidding war alone costs millions, if a bidder is serious, and that is before all the new venue costs.

    Still the CH CH games did provide Philip with an opportunity to resume nocturnal excursions while the “cat” was not watching! :-)

    Definitely, NO.

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  17. Gulag1917 (1,026 comments) says:

    The Commonwealth Games also is good preparation for the Olympics.

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  18. adze (2,129 comments) says:

    @SGA

    Not sure about that. When you think about all the other events other than downhill skiing in a Winter olympics, it would seem to me out of the question for the foreseeable future.

    That’s why I said “aspire to one day” – I’m thinking 30-40 years in the future.
    The Winter Olympics is a huge event in its own right, and yes, a lot of infrastructure is required to host it. But Queenstown is growing, and not all events have to be held in that city – Christchurch could have the skating rink events, for example.
    But to afford an event on that scale, our economy would have to be much stronger than it is at present.

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  19. Harriet (5,145 comments) says:

    You’re right on both points gulag. But then the games don’t need to be in NZ to be of aid to the Commonwealth.

    It would probably be better for NZ to give some of their aid to poor commonwealth countries via them hosting the games. Not all of them of course as some countries are too far behind currently or have serious domestic matters.

    I can’t remember the Carribean ever holding the games. Better destination than Wellington and Scotland!

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  20. spanish_tudor (84 comments) says:

    Harriet – 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica.

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  21. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    If we want to participate in them then we need to man up and take our turn at hosing them.

    Realistically, it’s Nz, ‘straya, canada and the brits that need to take the slack here, rest of the commonwealth is too poor.

    Once every 40 years isn’t a major drama. Stick it in Wellington or Chch this time round

    Glasgow is costing about $800m, but they get a pile of real estate and sporting facilities out of it.

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  22. Ross Nixon (559 comments) says:

    If we, and other ‘Commonwealth’ countries become republics; will we still be eligible to participate?

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  23. Simon (764 comments) says:

    No lets woman up and get someone who hasnt hosted to man up.

    “straya, canada and the brits that need to take the slack here” White mans burden. What a fucking clown.

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  24. Harriet (5,145 comments) says:

    Ross Nixon .

    “…if we become a rebublic will we still be at the games…”

    Yes.

    South Africa is a Republic and still within the Commonwealth and are in Scotland.

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  25. mikenmild (11,792 comments) says:

    There are lots of republics in the Commonwealth.

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  26. spanish_tudor (84 comments) says:

    “…the rest of the Commonwealth is too poor.” Really?

    I think Brunei, Singapore and South Africa could afford to host one, and Malaysia hosted the CG not so long ago.

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  27. Keeping Stock (10,443 comments) says:

    Glasgow has redefined the Commonwealth Games. It has cut down significantly on costs by using existing stadia and facilities, such as Hampden Park , which has been a fantastic venue for the track and field. The rugby sevens were played at Ibrox Park, home of Glasgow Rangers.

    If New Zealand could host a Commonwealth Games with minimum investment in new facilities, I’d be happy to see that happen.

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  28. Scott (1,821 comments) says:

    Love the Commonwealth games,those who say poor cousin to the Olympics are absolutely wrong and need to get a clue,imp shame on you!!!
    We are a little country of 4 million and to compete against the likes of Kenya in middle distance and Jamaica in sprints is great for our athletes. Also it has a lot of heritage and has provided some of our greatest sporting moments- Dick Taylor in the Christchurch games comes to mind. It celebrates out heritage and we should support it and one day host it again.

    Those canny Scottish people did it well, upgrade and use existing facilities and keep the costs down and no white elephants afterwards. All in all a great event.

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  29. gump (1,664 comments) says:

    @SGA

    The Manukau velodrome was constructed for the 1990 Commonwealth Games.

    Twenty four years later it is still the only velodrome in Auckland.

    So yes – there are legacy benefits from the infrastructure spending required to host these events.

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  30. Nukuleka (350 comments) says:

    There’s the usual litany of cynical sad little moaning posts here from the even sadder ‘I have no lifers’ who make extravagant statements about how they haven’t actually watched the current Glasgow Commonwealth Games and then bitch on about how unimportant they are in comparison with the Olympics etc.

    The Glasgow Games have been a huge success and have been conducted in a wonderful spirit by the host nation who have given terrific support to all sports and all athletes from wherever they come from in the Commonwealth. And they have been achieved at nothing like the expense of mammoth events such as the Olympics. Trust the canny Scots!

    These Games have been a ‘real’ event, run overwhelmingly by volunteers and citizens who have wanted to welcome athletes, visitors and tv audiences to their city in a spirit of generosity- a generosity not evident in the plonking old moaners who inhabit so much of the space on this blog.

    How about just a tiny weeny teeny little bit of optimism and enthusiasm instead of the relentless negativity that dominate the lives of so many Kiwibloggers.

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  31. Dazzaman (1,146 comments) says:

    Can any Americas Cup sailing junkets first ay? Either hosting or sending a “New Zealand” team……

    Rather the Comm. Games over that exclusive bullshit any day.

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  32. backster (2,185 comments) says:

    Well Auckland wants a railway, Wellington refuses to build access to its airport, Christchurch is broke and Dunedin not much better.looks like its between Palmerston and Wanganui as to who will be the hosts.

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  33. tvb (4,519 comments) says:

    alternate between London and Sydney who have existing facilities. They achieve very little in terms of sports competition.

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  34. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (895 comments) says:

    2026….damn…. Labour would have finally returned to power in that year’s election….

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  35. gravedodger (1,573 comments) says:

    The originals promoting CHC for 74 were going to do it budget with existing infrastructure apart from a “Tartan” track first suggested to be laid in Lancaster Park.

    Then the Late Sir Ron Guthrey tried to take a few square meters of Hagley Park to improve city access to the Airport and the proletariat peasants of the Peoples republic gave him the arse card and elected a proven spender of OPMs Neville Pickering.

    One of his first moves was to make a family on the sandhills of Burwood rich and built QE2 stadium for athletics and swimming, now reverted to a wasteland growing weeds.

    Good on Glasgow bringing sanity to the idiocy that hosting games has spawned but I think using existing infrastructure with an odd addition when needed is a way forward but it is more a festival of the Commonwealth than a mini Olympics so IMHO it is worthwhile but not to have an accompanying crippling debt burden for captive and powerless ratepayer victims.

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  36. calendar girl (1,272 comments) says:

    “Nz, ‘straya, canada and the brits that need to take the slack here, rest of the commonwealth is too poor.”

    White man’s imperial myopia, I’m afraid. The wealth and economic growth of India mean nothing to one who can espouse such a narrow view of the world.

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  37. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    In my opinion India comes with security concerns we can do without and they’ve recently hosted.

    Realistically they’re not going to go again.

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  38. doggone7 (833 comments) says:

    backster

    Not to forget Whangarei, Gisborne or Invercargill!

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  39. calendar girl (1,272 comments) says:

    “In my opinion India comes with security concerns we can do without and they’ve recently hosted.”

    You’re diverting attention now from what you claimed earlier. I was referring only to your ignorant (or perhaps arrogant?) view that India and others are “too poor” to stage a Commonwealth Games.

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  40. band4u (20 comments) says:

    Hamiltons Mayor has expressed interest in co-hosting the Commonweath Games. Given that the city has a debt of roughly $415mill depending which figures you believe and we projected rate rises of 3.8% each year for the next 4 or so years, I think there will be a riot if she thinks ratepayers will cough up. …especially after the V8 debarcle that cost our ratepayers dearly.

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  41. deadrightkev (538 comments) says:

    Taxpayers and ratepayers cannot afford to subsidise the CG and they would have to front. Auckland is already drowning in debt.

    I do not agree with high performance and disabled athletes competing at the same venue at the same time, this is more PC crap and I found it cringeworthy.

    There is only so much money to go around and it costs as much to develop a disabled athlete and comp so its going to get prohibitively costly. The disabled athletes should have their own competition in my opinion.

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  42. Gulag1917 (1,026 comments) says:

    Bidding for the Winter Olympics should at the least be tried.

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  43. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,754 comments) says:

    Many sheep must be sold for New Zealand to dine at the top table.

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  44. eszett (2,432 comments) says:

    Longknives (4,490 comments) says:
    August 3rd, 2014 at 11:56 am
    ‘Straight’ Games are so last century…
    The future is in the ‘Rainbow Olympics’!

    What makes you think the Commonwealth Games are ‘straight’?

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  45. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    Oh the Commonwealth Games is on?

    Meh.

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  46. V (751 comments) says:

    The C. Games was alright in an era when sportsmen and women didn’t meet each other all that often. But nowadays most of these athletes compete against each other in World Champs and all sorts of other yearly events.
    I fail to see how you can justify the expense of all the infrastructure for what is becoming less of an important fixture. Many of the big names don’t even go, or certainly don’t do all the events as they would at an Olympics.
    The economics just kills it.

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