9 Mar 2009

Rugby World Cup charge dismays community leaders

2:56 pm on 9 March 2009

Community leaders in Auckland say ratepayers will not get a good deal from a one-off charge by the city council to help pay for hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Auckland City Council plans to charge each ratepayer $23 towards the more than $50 million it is contributing to the event.

Mayor John Banks says the one-off payment represents a good investment, as the Rugby World Cup will bring tens of thousands of visitors to Auckland.

Mr Banks says he understands not everyone will be happy, but the rate is for the collective good.

However, Avondale/Mt Roskill Residents Association convener Michael Wood says many private interests will make money from the event and should help with the funding. He says the council should be more rigorous in how it spends ratepayers' money on the Rugby World Cup.

Western Bays Community Board chairman Bruce Kilmester says the council is cutting back on core services, yet will spend millions on hosting what he describes as an extravagant sporting event.

A minority grouping of city councillors says the charge is unfair.

Councillor Cathy Casey says most ratepayers will not see the returns from their contributions, which she says will benefit rugby fans or those in business.

The charge is subject to public consultation before being formally set.