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International rugby officials’ visit welcomed

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Minister for the Rugby World Cup

18 February 2008 Media Statement
Minister welcomes international rugby officials’ visit

A week long visit by Board members and executives of the International Rugby Board, Rugby World Cup Limited, and the Organising Committee for the 2007 Rugby World Cup is an important element of New Zealand’s planning for the 2011 tournament, Rugby World Cup Minister Clayton Cosgrove said today.

The visitors include Bernard Lapasset, Chair of the International Rugby Board (IRB) and Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) and President of the French Rugby Federation; IRB Chief Executive and RWCL Managing Director Mike Miller; and Etienne Thobois, head of the 2007 Rugby World Cup Organising Committee, who will debrief the New Zealand tournament organisers, Rugby New Zealand 2011, and government agencies on the 2007 event in France.

Mr Cosgrove says the visit marks a new milestone in planning for Rugby World Cups, as this is the first time one tournament host has ever formally debriefed the next.

“The visit of the RWCL and 2007 organising committee is an important part of planning for the 2011 event. It is a great opportunity for government and rugby organisers, as partners in the 2011 event, to learn from France’s experience of running a highly successful tournament,” Mr Cosgrove said.

Among the topics for discussion will be logistics and venue management, use of public live broadcasting sites and community engagement. The visit is also an opportunity to brief RWCL on the government’s work programme which has so far included underwriting the redevelopment of Eden Park up to $190 million, amending the school holiday dates for 2011 and enacting the Major Events Management Act, to prevent ambush marketing.

“France turned the 2007 Rugby World Cup into a real festival, involving communities and volunteers throughout the country. We want to hear how that was achieved and also to hear what the French hosts see as the great successes and the key lessons,” Mr Cosgrove said.

“Our goal is make Rugby World Cup 2011 a uniquely New Zealand event and a New Zealand-wide event – building on the reputation we have as a sporting nation, as a tourist destination, and as a unique culture.”

“I am keen to see it become an event that means something to all New Zealanders: a festival that celebrates the best in all of us, our arts, our culture, our businesses and our communities; and at the centre of it all, the game of rugby," Mr Cosgrove said.

Mr Cosgrove said there were many international examples where host cities and countries have seized the opportunities presented by a major event to achieve wider objectives – such as promoting themselves to the world, boosting the economy and building a sense of community and national pride.

“The 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics and the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France are three such examples. We can learn from these events, but we shouldn’t try to copy them,” Mr Cosgrove said. "Rugby World Cup 2011 will be like no other - a truly fantastic Kiwi event."

--

Background: Rugby World Cup 2011
The joint government-New Zealand Rugby Union company Rugby New Zealand (RNZ) 2011, headed by its Chief Executive Martin Snedden, is responsible for the successful delivery of the tournament.
A government steering group is in charge of issues such as security, customs and immigration and is also coordinating planning around trade and tourism activities.
Tourism NZ has set up a "virtual rugby club" fronted by Tana Umaga. This is a viral marketing campaign aimed at building interest in New Zealand's hosting of Rugby World Cup 2011.
Local government coordinated working groups have been established in regions throughout New Zealand aimed at maximising the potential benefits from hosting the Rugby World Cup. RNZ 2011 has been running a series of workshops aimed at engaging the regions and keeping them informed on tournament planning.
An Eden Park Redevelopment Board with government-appointed representatives has been established to oversee the redevelopment of Eden Park in Auckland. The government has agreed to help fund the upgrade up to a maximum contribution of $190 million.

Facts and figures: the Rugby World Cup
It is the third largest sporting event in the world (after the Olympics and FIFA World Cup), in terms of television audience.
Expected worldwide audience is in excess of three billion.
Around 66,000 international visitors are expected, along with 2,500 international media, and 2,500 VIP or corporate guests.
It has been estimated that Rugby World Cup 2011 will inject over $500 million into the New Zealand economy.


ENDS

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