4 Aug 2010

$1.8m party to open Rugby World Cup

10:52 pm on 4 August 2010

Auckland City Council plans to spend $1.8 million on a waterfront opening party for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The council says the event will ensure everyone can celebrate the opening of the tournament, regardless of whether they can afford to buy tickets for the games.

It recently advertised for event organisers to submit proposals for the festival, which will be held on the day of the opening match on 9 September.

Events group manager Rachael Dacy says it will be a marketing opportunity to showcase Auckland to international viewers.

Funding for the festival will come from the approximately $60 million the council has allocated for World Cup spending.

Most Auckland City Councillors appear to be happy with the amount being spent on the opening party, but one insists it is a waste of money.

Cathy Casey says there will already be a wonderful atmosphere at the waterfront to watch the game on big screens without the need for extra spending.

Ms Casey says that should be enough to fulfil the council's obligations.

Another councillor, Glenda Fryer, says while there needs to be a party of some sort at the waterfront, it is not appropriate to spend so much money on just one event.

Ms Fryer says there should be multiple opening parties, with the party budget split between communities for people who do not want to come into the city to celebrate.