Ironman: Talks over iwi fee for use of lake

By Rebecca Malcolm

Details of a deal which could see Ironman organisers pay Ngati Tuwharetoa to use Lake Taupo for the swim leg of the international event are being kept under wraps as negotiations continue.

Neither Tuwharetoa nor Ironman will publicly comment after speculation that the iwi wants to charge organisers about $57,000 for use of the lake.

It is understood the charge is to be applied to this year's event which is to be held in just over a week and was sprung on organisers a few weeks ago.

The charge works out to be about $40 for each of the 1430 competitors.

He said despite attempts he hasn't been able to talk to either side and is left knowing as little as anyone else about the proposed charge.

"The Ironman people won't talk, Tuwharetoa won't talk.

"As far as I'm aware they still want that amount which they're legally entitled to," he said.

"I would certainly like to be involved. The role of mayor is to look after the district and I would hate to lose Ironman."

Mr Cooper said Ironman was the premium event in the town's events calendar and the town received huge economic benefits from it - impacting on everyone from those who clean motel rooms to those providing coffee and food for competitors and spectators.

He said there was also a major benefit from the huge television exposure the event received.

Ironman organisers have said Taupo will not lose Ironman as a result of the charge and they were not looking to move the event to another venue.

The Taupo District Council and Ironman New Zealand have a contract which will see the event stay in Taupo until at least 2016.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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