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Government Committed To Maximising Events' Benefit

25 January 2001 Media Statement

"The Government has worked hard to address Southern Traverse concerns while celebrating the fact that the International Eco-Challenge event will be held in New Zealand this year", said Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton. Jim Anderton today released Industry New Zealand papers supporting the Eco-Challenge event as well as correspondence and dealings with local operator Southern Traverse.

One key document in the paper released is a letter sent by Jim Anderton in December 2000 to the organisers of the Southern Traverse.

In the letter Jim Anderton answers Southern Traverse concerns, pointing out that there are already other international events that compete with them, that there is ample tourist and sponsorship capacity to support both, and that both events only cater for a small number of New Zealand teams. Jim Anderton's letter finished with an offer to Southern Traverse, "As I indicated, we would be happy to receive a request for sponsorship from Southern Traverse which will be assessed on the same basis of economic contribution to the country as that applied to Eco-Challenge."

"The information released shows that the Government has done everything reasonable we can to maximise economic benefit to New Zealand from these two events," said Jim Anderton.
"We want more economic activity and maximum international exposure from events. New Zealand deserves nothing less. Even Treasury acknowledged there would be substantial economic return to New Zealand," said Jim Anderton.

Other papers released include:
 Eco-Challenge information on their media coverage;
 the sponsorship letter of agreement with Eco-Challenge showing a cash payment to the organisation of $220,000, in exchange for significant international exposure for New Zealand;
 Cabinet papers on the sponsorship;
 Emails and other correspondence.

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