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Auckland in the race for Global Challenge stopover


24 July 2003

Auckland in the race for Global Challenge stopover

Auckland City Council tonight decided to bid to host the New Zealand stopover of the world’s toughest yacht race, the Global Challenge.

The event, scheduled for the summer of 2004 - 2005, is a challenge for crews of 12 identical 72 footers to sail around the world against the prevailing winds.

It is expected that the 42-day stopover in January and February 2005 in Auckland will have an economic impact of about $6.5m and generate employment equivalent to 177 fulltime jobs for a year. It is expected to especially create opportunities in the hospitality and retail industries.

Councillor Scott Milne, chairperson of the Recreation and Events Committee, describes it as “a yachting event like no other, with a real focus on people and social interaction between crews and spectators alike.

“If we win this event it will provide an ideal opportunity for Auckland to once again show we’re the best host city in the world. Over 42 days Aucklanders will be able to get right in amongst the action because the stopover’s a major maintenance and refit one. The Challenge entrants embrace local participation. It’ll fit us like a glove.

“Auckland City is particularly keen to keep the momentum of the America’s Cup going and build on the vibrancy at the viaduct harbour,” he said. “This race is one of dozens of events that Auckland City is trying to evolve to ensure the marine precinct is a hub of activity every day.”

Ratepayers alone had so far invested $54 million at the viaduct, making it one of the world’s finest international yacht racing facilities. The city also knew how to turn on the world’s best welcomes for international yacht racers and their sponsors.

Auckland will compete with Wellington and Tauranga for the stopover.

The council will partner with Tourism Auckland and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in the bid process. The stopover port is expected to be announced in late September this year.

The city’s decision to bid was debated in confidential session tonight. Councillor Milne said bid details would be kept confidential in the meantime to enhance its chances of succeeding.

A successful bid would commit the city to unbudgeted expenditure of $280,000 in the financial year ending June 2004, and further expenditure beyond that. Bid documents were not received in time for inclusion in the current year’s budget process, but the 2004-2005 expenditure would be included if the bid succeeds.

“I think all Aucklanders, but especially those at the viaduct, will welcome the news that we’re out fighting for an event which will not only allow us to once again be great international yachting event hosts, but also generate significant income and jobs,” Councillor Milne said.


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