Open sells Queenstown to the golfing world
Prime Minister John Key says the New Zealand Open can be used to showcase New Zealand to the world.
The 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.
Speaking at a press conference in Auckland last week, Key said golf and sport tourism were important.
‘‘There’s no question the event is growing in stature and is going to attract more and more players from around the world. If we can show how beautiful Queenstown is . . .we can not only encourage people to come to Queenstown to play golf but just come to New Zealand.’’
Chairman of the open’s organising committee John Hart said securing broadcasting with Sky Television was great.
‘‘The key thing for us is to create not just a golf tournament. You have to get into people’s homes and create something special.’’
For the fifth consecutive year, the Government has increased the amount of taxpayer funding going to the event. 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.
Last year’s event received $900,000.
Hard fight: Queenstown boxer Richie Hadlow (in blue) avoids Leroy Hindley’s gloves before knocking him out to take the NZ Boxing Champs light welterweight title in Queenstown at the weekend.
Beautiful: The Hills, Arrowtown.