Co-hosting the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup will cost Whangārei more than $3 million.

Whangārei District Council has agreed to spend an unbudgeted $3.382 million should New Zealand's bid to host the tournament be successful.

There is also an additional $580,000 capital expenditure it is considering.

The figures were revealed as part of a failed notice of motion filed by Councillor Stu Bell at a full Whangārei District Council meeting.


Cr Bell wanted council staff to prepare a report for the next meeting which detailed the projects in the first three years of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan that can and can't be removed to fund the unbudgeted $3.382 million and the additional $580,000.

He also requested a communications strategy to inform the wider public about the changes made to the LTP to offset the $3.382 million and additional $580,000.

"What is the implications of this over the next three years and how are we going to manage this?" He said.

Cr Anna Murphy asked if debt funding was an option, to which the reply from corporate general manager Alan Adcock was yes.

Whangārei District Council has agreed to spend more than $3 million if New Zealand's bid for the Women's Rugby World Cup is successful. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Whangārei District Council has agreed to spend more than $3 million if New Zealand's bid for the Women's Rugby World Cup is successful. Photo/Michael Cunningham

Cr Gavin Benney thought it was a really good recommendation, but it was a fraction early as come November the work by staff could all have been a waste of time.

"From what I understand, we're a 50/50 chance to get this thing or not. It seems a bit early to put this on staff."

It was a feeling shared by other councillors, including the mayor whose recommendation that if NZ were to be successful, staff will prepare a report for the December meeting detailing funding options to meet hosting requirements, was passed.

New Zealand and Australia are in a head to head battle to be named hosts of the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup. The host will be chosen by World Rugby on November 14.

Mayor Sheryl Mai said at this early stage it is difficult to provide a qualified economic impact assessment for the district.

However as a comparative, the council is able to use results from the Evaluation Report of the Lions Series 2017.

The Whangārei match was a sell out crowd of 19,000, about 1208 international visitors and 6600 domestic tourists attended the game - equivalent to 16,162 additional guest nights.

She said together with the spend from the Lions group of 90 personnel who stayed one night, the impact from tourism contributed $5.7 million to the Whangārei economy.

Including expenditure relating to hosting and leverage activities, the overall economic contribution of the series to Whangārei's GDP was $6.2 million.

Sensitivity testing on expenditure on accommodation, food and beverages and groceries suggests a range for the total contribution to Whangārei's GDP of $5.9m to $6.4m.

"For the Women's Rugby World Cup 2021 it is probable that Whangārei would be allocated a triple header of group play and quarter-finals; this would mean that we would be host city for up to six teams, each with 40 personnel over a two week period."

"Having 240 players and management alone being accommodated in Whangārei would have a significantly greater economic impact than the DHL Lions team of 90 members."

Mai said the potential benefits to the district are much wider than simply economic.

"Hosting this event allows us to showcase Northland's culture, arts, innovation, landscapes, heritage, hospitality and way of life to international visitors plus the international audience through broadcast and visiting media."