Auckland wouldnt have hosted the Americas Cup based on the latest reports: Council boss

An Auckland Council boss says the city wouldn’t have hosted the America’s Cup had it known the outcome beforehand and that it would be rocked by a global pandemic.

Auckland Unlimited chief executive Nick Hill told Newstalk ZB said Covid-19 had economically impacted the economy and society and the America’s Cup was not immune to that.

“We all want to go back to a world where we can do things that increase the benefits to the economy and so on and major events in the future will continue to do that and this is an important event.”

Going forward, Hill thinks the hesitancy of hosting major events won’t necessarily be due to the ramifications of the America’s Cup and the significant deficit, but more because of the challenges of tourism and travel more generally.

“I think like everything with each event you learn what you might do better, but I’m pretty confident we will continue to do major events.”

Hill said the dreamy images of Auckland’s harbour were “worth an enormous amount” because they stayed with people and affected how they thought about a place.

His comments come after an official cost-benefit report released yesterday revealed the New Zealand economy was left $293 million worse off from hosting the 36th America’s Cup.

It was one of three government-commissioned reports released yesterday afternoon that found a number of factors, including Covid-19, a lack of challenging syndicates and overly high public investment resulted in “significant deficits” for Auckland and New Zealand.

Auckland’s economy was left with a financial deficit of $146m following the event – a financial return of 72 cents back for every dollar put in.

However that return for Auckland rises to 85 cents for every dollar spent when “unpriced social, cultural or environmental effects” are taken into account. It also brings the cost to 79 cents in the dollar to New Zealand – a loss of $156m.

Auckland Council’s spend on the event was $92m higher than had previously been made public due to bringing forward spending on already planned works. The council is defending the spend saying bringing the work forward will result in future savings of $67m.

Council had previously stated its investment in the event was $113m – but today those costs were revealed to be $215.2m.

Another report – The 36th America’s Cup Impact Evaluation, which was independently conducted by Fresh Info – identified two main broad drivers that led to a benefit-cost ratio of 0.48 for New Zealand, meaning a loss of $292.7m.

The first driver was lower than projected levels of expenditure by foreign entities and visitors, as well as having three challengers rather than the projected eight. The second driver was the higher than projected public investment in the event.

However, the America’s Cup Events (ACE) report painted a more positive economic picture.

The report said the event fostered an “extensive positive international profile” that “delivered an unrivalled showcasing of Auckland and New Zealand”.

The ACE report cited there had been 860,000 visits to the Cup Village between December and March.

ACE spent a total of $45m including $26m on administration, $3.7m on TV production, $2.4m on the Race Village, $1.1m on social media, $629,000 on website costs, and $7m on “challenger or record event costs”.

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