Games bid proposed
The first steps are under way in a bid to bring the 2018 Commonwealth Games to Auckland.
Officers from local councils are undertaking preliminary work with key organisations in the region, before a $325,000 feasibility study, co-funded by central and local government, begins next month.
Events Knowledge Service, a consultant to the Commonwealth Games Federation, will use the information gathered to determine whether Auckland is capable of hosting the event, with a report due in September.
Auckland city mayor John Banks says he knows the benefits an event like the Commonwealth Games can bring, because he was Sports Minister in 1990 when the games were last held in Auckland.
“The international bonanza that year showcased the very best of Auckland and New Zealand with huge economic benefits.
“The 2018 games will be almost three times as big and will get three times as many economic benefits.”
Mr Banks says a redeveloped Eden Park could play a huge part, “potentially forming the centre of much of the games”.
But he says the Commonwealth Games are likely to be a significantly smaller event compared to the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
Waitakere city mayor Bob Harvey, who was involved in putting together the bid for the 1990 games, says the region is in a much better position to host the event now compared with two decades ago.
“We were very ill-equipped to host the games in 1990. We had to build all the infrastructure.
“Now it’s a different world and a different city. Auckland must host these games again.”
New Zealand chef-demission for the 2010 Delhi games Dave Currie says home advantage could benefit Kiwi athletes in a number of ways.
“When you’re in your home country, everything is familiar. There’s no surprises – athletes hate surprises.
“The culture is the same, the food is the same. The possibility of having mum and dad in the stand is fantastic.”
While athletes may have to continue to train overseas in preparation for the games, Mr Currie says it’s not unusual for extra money to be provided for competitors from the host country.
“Generally more funding is provided because a country wants to do well at its home games.
“That means more money for athletes to prepare than they might normally have.”
Mr Currie says it would be a “fantastic opportunity” for Auckland to host the games in 2018.
The 2014 games will be held in Glasgow in Scotland, with an announcement on the location of the 2018 games due in late 2011.
Auckland will decide whether to launch an official bid for the games next January.
Other prospective bidders include Abuja in Nigeria, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, Australia’s Gold Coast and Toronto in Canada.