Auckland Unlimited CEO Nick Hill says no one could have predicted that the event would be affected by the global pandemic. Photo / Brett Phibbs
An Auckland Council boss says the city would not have hosted the America’s Cup if it had known the outcome in advance and it would be rocked by a global pandemic.
Auckland Unlimited CEO Nick Hill told Newstalk ZB that Covid-19 had an economic impact on the economy and society and the America’s Cup was not immune to it.
“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 big events in the future will continue to do that and this is an important event.”
Going forward, Hill believes the reluctance to host major events is not necessarily due to the impact of the America’s Cup and the significant shortage, but more to the challenges of tourism and travel in general.
“I think with every event you learn what you could do better, but I’m pretty sure we’ll keep doing big events.”
Hill said the dreamy images of Auckland’s harbor were “worth an enormous amount” because they stayed with people and influenced how they felt about a place.
America’s Cup minister Stuart Nash told Newstalk ZB the country ended with a fantastic event with global coverage, despite being held in the midst of the global pandemic that no one could have predicted.
“Had we known we were going to have a global pandemic we wouldn’t have invested – but the result was we won the cup, we held a fantastic event, we got global coverage and Auckland’s waterfront is world class.”
Nash said that even if Team New Zealand decided to accept the country’s hosting offer, it still had to be approved by the Cabinet and Auckland Council.
The comments come after an official cost-benefit report released yesterday revealed New Zealand’s economy was $293 million worse off hosting the 36th America’s Cup.
It was one of three government-commissioned reports released yesterday afternoon that found that a number of factors, including Covid-19, a lack of challenging syndicates and overly high government investment, resulted in “significant deficits” for Auckland and New Zealand.
Auckland’s economy was left with a financial deficit of $146 million after the event – a financial return of 72 cents for every dollar invested.
But that return for Auckland rises to 85 cents for every dollar spent when “unpriced social, cultural or environmental impacts” are taken into account. It also brings the cost to 79 dollar cents for New Zealand – a loss of $156 million.
Auckland Council’s spending on the event was $92 million higher than previously disclosed due to bringing forward spending on already planned works. The council defends the expenditure, saying moving the work forward will result in future savings of $67 million.
The Council had previously stated that the investment in the event was $113 million, but it was revealed today that the cost was $215.2 million.
Another report – the 36th America’s Cup Impact Evaluation, conducted independently by Fresh Info – identified two key broad drivers leading to a benefit-cost ratio of 0.48 for New Zealand, representing a loss of $292.7 million. .
The first driver was lower than expected spending from foreign entities and visitors, and also had three challengers instead of the expected eight. The second cause was the higher-than-expected public investment in the event.
However, the America’s Cup Events (ACE) report painted a more positive economic picture.
The report said the event promoted an “extensive positive international profile” that “delivered an unparalleled presentation of Auckland and New Zealand”.
According to the ACE report, there had been 860,000 visits to the Cup Village between December and March.
ACE spent a total of $45 million, including $26 million on administration, $3.7 million on TV production, $2.4 million on Race Village, $1.1 million on social media, $629,000 on website costs and $7 million in “challenge costs or record costs for events”.