Editorial: It's a party, not a river of cash

By ANTONY PHILLIPS - Editor


"Hopium" is how one economist describes expectations by some New Zealanders that the Rugby World Cup would deliver a widespread boost to our economy.

Shamubeel Eaqub of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research was yesterday reported as saying the GDP upswing would be minuscule, in fact at around 0.1 per cent it would be within the margin or error.

Anyone expecting the cash to start rolling out of the wallets of visiting rugby fans at an amount big enough to make a difference to our economy was truly living off "hopium".

We could see that was the case in Hawke's Bay quite early in the piece. Some local businesses - select wineries, bars and a handful of accommodation providers - will do well from the the Rugby World Cup of course. Over all, however, the Bay economy probably banks just as much from a Mission Concert weekend.

It was marvellous to see all the international visitors in Hawke's Bay for our two McLean Park games and it could hardly have escaped anyone's attention that a good many of them were independent travellers in campervans.

They had largely spent their money before they got here, on flights to New Zealand, hiring a campervan and tickets to the games. What they did spend in Hawke's Bay would have mostly been at the supermarket checkout and over the bar.

We are not alone in noticing this. In Auckland, the New Zealand Herald reports that patronage at most Auckland restaurants has dived through the cup period. Visitors are flocking to the public parties and the games but are avoiding restaurants and many bars. Worse, the locals are staying away too.

Back in Hawke's Bay, it has to be said that while no one made a fortune, we are all the richer for our Rugby World Cup visitors.

The atmosphere engendered by having teams from France, Canada and Japan plus all their vibrant supporters has been second to none. The Canada v Japan match at McLean Park rivalled a test between Wales and France I saw at Cardiff Arms Park for colour and spectacle. We locals lapped up the party.

And that, says Shamubeel Eaqub, is how we should view the Rugby World Cup. It's a party, he says, let's enjoy it!

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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