Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Rugby World Cup is a Trojan Horse!


We have constantly been given the impression that the hosting of the Rugby World cup is a prestigious gift, but I am increasingly discovering that this gift is more like a Trojan horse.

In the first place it is not a gift at all, it cost us a good deal in promotion and lobbying to gain the privilege in the first place, then we had to pay the IRB $150 million.

Once gaining the hosting rights logistical planning revealed that we lacked the necessary public transport infrastructure and stadiums that would meet international expectations.

The school terms had to be reconfigured at great inconvenience to schools and those sitting NCEA so that school busses could be used to cover the inadequacies of our public transport systems. By chance I happened to talk to someone involved with managing transport logistics and it was her opinion that we would barely manage to cope with this event and unless our transport infrastructure underwent huge improvements this would be the last event of this scale we could conceivably host.

Rate payers in Auckland and Dunedin will be fully aware of the costs they have had to shoulder to ensure that local stadiums were constructed in time for this year's event. Dunedin, due to its smaller population, has had to pay dearly ($200 million) for the status of having a suitable stadium and the construction went ahead despite huge protests from local ratepayers. Many initiatives that would have had a positive benefit to a greater number of local citizens were sidelined so that the stadium could be funded.

The opportunities for ordinary New Zealanders to watch a major game are also prohibitive, the cost of the cheapest seat in the Invercargill stadium to watch Scotland play Romania will be $77 and to watch Ireland play Italy in Dunedin the cheapest category D tickets cost $66 and most seats will be well over $100. The cheapest ticket to the quarter final at Eden Park will set you back almost $200 and final has already sold out, but I can imagine few average New Zealanders will be attending. If you are having to travel to attend a game, the cost of plane fares and accommodation are bordering on criminal.

Considering our median income is around $27,000 most New Zealanders will feel they have directly subsidized the hosting of this event for the benefit of those in the accommodation industry and wealthy sports fans. I'm sure if the All Blacks finally win the cup this time it will give the country a huge emotional boost and the financial hangover resulting from this expensive sporting celebration will be deemed worth it. Another loss, however, doesn't bare contemplating.

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