9 Oct 2008

Council approves $33m funding for Rugby World Cup

4:47 pm on 9 October 2008

Auckland City Council has approved $33.8 million in funding for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, despite looking to slash services elsewhere.

Councillors were warned on Tuesday that world market turmoil would mean some difficult and unpopular spending decisions would have to be made.

However, the council's arts, culture and recreation committee on Thursday confirmed the allocation, which includes just over $10 million for discretionary items.

These include $1 million for themed installations and wraps on city buildings, a $5 million for a large public celebration in support of the event and and $320,000 to host politicians and VIPs.

Committee chair Greg Moyle believes New Zealand could be undersold to tourists and viewers without the extra spending.

Auckland City mayor John Banks says there are still hurdles before the $33 million package for the World Cup can be officially handed over.

Mr Banks says criticism over the funding for non-essential items is coming from a political corner of the council that also wanted double-digit rate increases.

He says the Rugby World Cup package still needs the approval of the full council and is also subject to public consultation.