Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Waterfront air show denied public cash

The Ardmore show is expected to rival the popular Warbirds over Wanaka. Photo / Supplied
The Ardmore show is expected to rival the popular Warbirds over Wanaka. Photo / Supplied

An international air show to rival Warbirds over Wanaka is planned for Auckland - but organisers cannot secure public funding to hold a free show over the waterfront.

Organiser Peter Newport says the New Zealand International Air Show, featuring modern and vintage racing and displays, will take place at Ardmore Airport at Auckland Anniversary Weekend next January.

Cockpit action would be filmed and shown on large television screens on the ground, said Mr Newport, who provides this technical expertise to air shows around the world.

The air show will also double as an expo to showcase New Zealand's aviation industry to the world.

Mr Newport said the Auckland event would be bigger than the hugely popular Wanaka air show and feature technology, speed, noise, excitement and adrenalin.

Details of the attractions and ticket prices will be announced on October 1.

But Mr Newport, who has corporate backing for the Ardmore event at Ardmore, has been turned down by Auckland Council's events body after asking it for money to fund a free public event over the waterfront on the Saturday and Sunday of the Anniversary Weekend.

He said a free air show over the waterfront could attract up to 200,000 people and stem the estimated $50 million loss of economic activity caused by people leaving the city over the holiday weekend.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development turned down the air show because other events provided a greater return under the criteria for major events sponsorship, said Ateed's acting manager of major events, Jennah Wootten.

She said the air show was one of 86 events seeking $19 million in February from a limited budget of $2.25 million.

It was an "unproven idea" that was likely to attract Aucklanders instead of domestic and overseas visitors who met the criteria for economic growth, visitor nights and international exposure, she said.

Ms Wootten said the return of the V8 supercars to Pukekohe received $2.1 million a year from Ateed because of the estimated return the event would generate - $7 million a year in economic benefit and 50,000 visitor nights.

Aviation Industry Association chief executive Irene King said the air show and expo was a great opportunity to showcase the New Zealand aviation industry to the world.

- NZ Herald

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