Economic Benifit of the RWC…?

by Jeremy Greenbrook-Held

Remember when the British and Irish Lion’s came to town? They closed Courtney Place, and we all had a party? It was awesome, and I hope next year’s Rugby World Cup will be somewhat similar (although now living in Auckland, I’ve come to the realization that no one does a party quite like the Capital).

I was somewhat intrigued by this frontpage article in Saturday’s Herald:

Home available for World Cup – for a cool $120,000

Orakei resident Danny Gelb plans to rent his 454 sq metre house out for $120,000 for the two months of the Rugby World Cup. I find it mind boggling that someone would have $120,000 to spend on a two-month holiday in New Zealand. I don’t think I know anyone that could realistically afford that, but then, Mr Gelb is obviously reasonably successful at whatever he does for a living (a google search would suggest he’s a commercial mediator), he probably knows this market pretty well, and I suspect is hardly pitching it towards the domestic punter (even if the Herald was giving him a prime weekend advertising spot). If he is able to pull this off, good on him I guess – I wish I was in a similar financial position.

But it made me wonder how much the economic benefit is going to be shared around the rest of New Zealand. The Herald puts the economic benefit of the Rugby World Cup at $1.15 billion, but how much of that is going to trickle down to the working class? Or those living outside of the major centres? I seem to remember pub owners on the main road between Auckland and Wellington setting themselves up to accommodate the influx of English camper vans that were going to visit them during the Lions tour – many of these pub owners where incredibly disappointing when the influx never happened. You have to wonder whether the World Cup will bring a similar result.

And for those lucky enough to secure the high-rents like Mr Gelb is hoping, how many of them are going to spend the aditional money in New Zealand, and thus helping to stimulate the economy? Not Mr Gelb – after paying for a host, chaufeer and a chef and filling the Merc with petrol, Gelb will be taking his wife and three children to Europe for two months.

It’s great that New Zealand is going to be hosting the Rugby World Cup. It is our national sport, and will bring  economic benifits. But let’s not get carried away about expectations, as reality may not be quite as rosey.

UPDATE: As an aside, I’ve just read David Farrar’s post about the threat of the Sevens coming to Auckland. God, Auckland would be brilliant for the Sevens… if they’d built the Waterfront Stadium. Holding the Sevens at Eden Park or Mt Smart would be a fizzer. Keep it in Wellington.