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PM Address: Rugby World Cup 2011 Offices Opening

Rt Hon Helen Clark Prime Minister Address at Opening of Rugby World Cup 2011 Offices PSIS House Wellington 5.00 pm Tuesday 24 July 2007

It’s great to be here to celebrate this important milestone in New Zealand’s preparations to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

An enormous amount of work has been done already to secure our hosting rights and to prepare for what is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our country to the world.

In officially opening the new premises of Rugby World Cup New Zealand 2011 Ltd today, we are not only celebrating the achievements to date but also setting the stage for all that lies ahead.

In Dublin in late 2005, I was extremely proud to be part of the New Zealand the bid presentation to the International Rugby Board.

That successful bid was the result of many months of effort from very committed people with a passion for rugby and for New Zealand.

The contest to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup was particularly competitive. New Zealand’s success was a reflection of many factors, including the successful Government-Rugby Union partnership which underlined the bid.

That partnership continues now.

Our government and the New Zealand Rugby Union will make cash contributions towards the costs of $20 million and $10 million respectively.

Groups representing key government agencies have been established to co-ordinate government support for the tournament.

These groups will work with Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd on a number of issues, including infrastructure; significant business and tourism leveraging activities; and facilitating the entry of participants, spectators and equipment into New Zealand. We want to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2011 is a huge success and creates lasting benefits and value for New Zealand.

In 2011 it will be 24 years since New Zealand hosted the very first Rugby World Cup. In that time many things have changed. The Rugby World Cup is now the third largest sporting event in the world, after the Olympics and the Soccer World Cup.

The global television audience for the 2011 Cup is expected to be around 3.5 billion viewers. An estimated 60,000 visitors are expected to arrive in New Zealand for the event, generating an extra $408 million for the economy and extra tax revenue in excess of $90 million.

Hosting the event gives us a prime opportunity to profile and promote New Zealand as a great place to live, work, visit and do business in. That generates benefits for our country long after the last visitor for the Cup has left our shores.

New Zealand did a remarkable job hosting the first ever Rugby World Cup in 1987. The success of the tournament was truly sealed by the All Blacks’ famous 29-9 victory over France in the final at Eden Park.

The challenge before us now is to go into the 2011 World Cup as both holders and hosts – and every New Zealander’s hopes go with the All Blacks to Europe in a few weeks’ time.

Meanwhile, at home, Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd has assumed responsibility for the planning, preparations, and delivery of the 2011 event, on behalf of its two primary stakeholders, the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Government.

The organisation was established in June 2006, and is chaired by NZRU Chairman, Jock Hobbs.

Individual Board members represent both government and rugby interests, and collectively have a wide range of skills and experience to lend to this major undertaking.

In Martin Sneddon, Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd has secured a highly regarded chief executive. Martin has a well-proven track record in sports management and has been instrumental in building a highly effective team to take on the challenge of hosting this major event.

The 2011 Rugby World Cup will be a significant event for New Zealand, and the workload for Martin and his team will be both enormous and truly rewarding.

It is my pleasure now to declare the offices of Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd officially open.


ENDS

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