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Are we allowed to have any fun in this city?

November 23, 2004

Are we allowed to have any fun in this city of ours?

Today's decision to can the proposed V8 race is another example of perfect process and lousy outcomes.

We seem besotted by attempts to stifle any endeavour to make our city an exciting place to visit.

International events are the cornerstone to international tourism. Gone are the days when tourists flock to this corner of the South Pacific to see boiling mud pools.

Nowadays they come for events and then see the boiling mud pools. One has to ask the question whether or not the RMA is the yard stick by which events should be judged - as it stands it is an acronym for Raising Major Aggravations.

Aucklanders don't have to look far to see how other cities value events as a cornerstone to their economic growth. Wellington is the undoubted events capital of New Zealand. We often talk about not competing with the rest of NZ and see our competition as being across the Tasman ... well we are sorry to report that we are aren't even in the same park if that's the comparison we seek.

We are a million miles off the pace. We have a pitifully funded and fractured tourism structure. Auckland has less than half a million dollars allocated to what effectively amounts to local events. We have no events identification or attraction funding. On the odd occasion that we fluke an event we then sting them with huge compliance costs.

In the wider scheme of things we need to ask ourselves how if, as a region we can't work together to get a car race organised between us, what hope can we have for an integrated regional response to much greater problems such as traffic gridlock.

We should never have been applying for a resource consent without the support of Transit and the North Shore City Council. We all know that as soon as one ends up in a court of law, the result will be risk averse and super cautious - one sure way to make sure anything vaguely progressive doesn't happen.

If any good can come from today's ruling it might serve as a kick in the rear end for the seven cities of the Auckland region as they prepare their next year's budgets. It may help them start working together with some serious coordinated funding measures to get Auckland into the events business. Events are proven to grow an economy. And wouldn't it be great to have some fun along the way - imagine that!!

ENDS

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