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Rally of NZ For Canterbury?

Canterbury gravel roads might thunder one day to the sound of cars competing in the Rally of New Zealand which has traditionally been held in the North Island.

The Christchurch City Council has been asked if it is interested in hosting the world-renowned rally in 2001.

The council’s strategy and resources committee was told yesterday that organisers of the rally and Major Events New Zealand had put the event out for tender.

The rally has been based in Manukau City for about 15 years and the group has approached four regions to see if they are interested in hosting the event for a three to five-year term from 2001.

The council’s leisure unit manager, Alistair Graham, said it was New Zealand’s only annually hosted world-championship event,

A report to the committee stated that the rally generated a national value-added impact of more than $27 million and total expenditure associated with this year’s rally was $12.1 million, and of that $5.4 million was international expenditure by teams, media, and international spectators.

Nearly 90 teams competed this year with 100 officials and 1000 volunteers. More than 200 media representatives were accredited or which 148 were international.
The report stated that the rally tender was for a cash cost of $350,000 a year, associated support of about $150,000, a total of $500,000 a year.

The committee chairman, Cr David Close, said he was concerned about the costs involved. Mr Graham said Manukau City Council’s sponsorship for the event had run out.

“According to Tourism New Zealand the event is too important to lose. Christchurch could run some stages with others on gravel roads in Canterbury,” he said.

He said partnership opportunities had to be explored and the committee decided to get a preliminary report to see if the matter was worth pursuing.

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