Why are we funding a golf tournament?

Stuff reports:

The New Zealand Open has been given a major boost, with next year’s national golf championship securing increased government funding and live television coverage.

For the first time the New Zealand Open will be broadcast live in New Zealand and to overseas territories, including Australia and Japan.

And for the fifth straight year, the government has increased the amount of taxpayer funding going to the event.

At a press conference in Auckland today, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced a major events development fund investment of $700,000 a year for the 2015 and 2016 events and a one-off cash boost of $250,000 – to be matched by event promoter Sir Michael Hill – to ensure live broadcasting continues.

I don’t think we should be funding a golf tournament. I know the argument is that it is an investment in tourism, but that means we assume that golf tournament would not have occurred and been televised without taxpayer funding – and I doubt that is the case. It is just easier for organisers to hit up taxpayers rather than find additional sponsors.

On twitter several people made good arguments for it as a tourism investment, but I’d like to see hard figures about actual increased visits, rather than just awareness.

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