New Zealand

High hopes for Auckland event funding boost

 A $19 million cash injection aims to support major events in Auckland and Northland, providing a lifeline to regional tourism. 

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the news was a welcome shot in the arm for the events sector, which had been severely impacted by border closures as part of the country’s COVID-19 response.

While the closure of our borders was essential to tackle the COVID-19 health crisis, it has cost Auckland’s visitor economy and events sector probably hundreds of millions in lost revenue, putting pressure on jobs and businesses. 

“This new funding from the government will make a real difference for the sector, boost economic recovery, and help to bring back some of the vibrancy and excitement we’ve all missed over the last six months due to the necessary virus restrictions.” 

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Chief Executive Nick Hill said the news will serve to re-enforce the role of events in the economic recovery for both regions. 

He said: “This is fantastic news. And the partnership with Northland is fitting as we already have a strong working relationship, anchored in an existing Memorandum of Understanding agreement that reflects our shared goals of supporting both regions’ visitor economies.  

We continue to work on a range of joint projects, including the delivery of Rugby World Cup 2021 as well as domestic marketing and international students’ activities. We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with Northland.

ATEED’s events portfolio in the coming months includes the delivery of a regional Auckland Diwali Festival, Elemental AKL and the 36th America’s Cup.  

Mr Hill added: “Auckland’s 2020 events portfolio was estimated to generate nearly $38million for the region’s economy but to date, we estimate to lose $23-million as a result of cancelled events. Today’s news provides a massive boost for a sector that has demonstrated real resilience and agility during this time.” 

Northland Inc CEO Murray Reade said: “This is more great news for Northland, a region that has so much unrealised potential when it comes to the impact events can have on the local economy and benefit to communities.

“Our active MOU with ATEED has provided a solid base for partnership activity with the team there and we look forward to the ability to strengthen this further with work focussed on stimulating travel between regions through event activity.” 

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