23 Oct 2016

Govt told to reject funding request for Parker's fight

3:45 pm on 23 October 2016

The government shouldn't help Joseph Parker's bid for the world boxing title in Auckland in December, Labour says.

Joseph Parker.

Joseph Parker. Photo: Photosport

Parker's promoter Dean Lonergan has asked the government to help pay the bill for hosting the event.

Lonergan is reported as saying the bout may need seven-figure contributions from sponsors and the government if the fight for the WBO world heavyweight title was to go ahead.

The government said the application was being assessed and it didn't yet have a view on it.

But Labour's sports spokesperson, Trevor Mallard, said he couldn't see any reason for approving it.

"There may be something in the application, which I haven't seen, that means that it is worthwhile and would make a big difference for New Zealand, but I can't think of what it might be."

Mr Mallard said the application was surprising and unusual, and the Major Events Development Fund was not designed to be a straight subsidy for promoters.

"Normally applications are made for something which is an extended event, or something where a lot of extra people come to New Zealand for quite a period of time, and a boxing match certainly doesn't come into that category."

Asked if he thought it was a worthy application, Mr Mallard said he would need to see the details.

"One gets the idea that the fight's going to happen anyway ... it's not designed just to be a straight subsidy for promoters."

"The only reason for helping prop it up would be if there was an enormous economic impact for New Zealand... that happens with sporting events that are not just sort of one-off, one day events. That's why, for example, Rugby World Cup got a little bit of support, whereas a one-off test match wouldn't. So it's the extended nature of it which is important."