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Mallard's Head Should Also Roll Over World Cup

Mallard's Head Should Also Roll Over World Cup

Wednesday 24 Jul 2002

Sir Thomas Eichelbaum's report shows that Labour and Trevor Mallard should also carry the can for the loss of the World Cup, ACT leader Richard Prebble says.

"Co-hosting the World Cup would have brought $100 million of economic benefit to New Zealand, yet the government could not find $5 million to underwrite the NZRFU's bid until it was too late," Mr Prebble said.

"This government has spent $50 million on Maori TV and $140 million on the arts, including $22 million on a new film production fund and $6.5 million towards a new Christchurch art gallery - yet all they needed was $5 million to underwrite the World Cup and we would have had it.

"The last National government as far back as 1997 committed to financially backing the World Cup. But in October last year the Sports Minister, Mr Mallard, turned down an approach from the NZRFU for financial assistance, and this was conveyed to Vernon Pugh.

"Sir Thomas Eichelbaum's report states that Mr Pugh replied: `The financial benefits of the RWC to any country are huge and only the most impecunious or negative agency would not do everything in its power to secure such an event'.

"Five months after the request for funding - when it was too late - the government agreed to underwrite any loss to the NZRFU up to $5 million.

"Looking back at the report's revelations, Mr Mallard's head should have been on the block back in April. Instead, he went on to make comments about putting Heinekens in uncomfortable places - which might have cost us any chance of hosting the World Cup for years.

"ACT, which is the most fiscally responsible party in Parliament, says $5 million for the World Cup would have been good use of taxpayers' money," Mr Prebble said.

ENDS

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