Auckland Council's events arm says promotion opportunities well worth cost of 11 personnel in San Francisco

Auckland ratepayers paid some of the costs for 3 News presenter Hilary Barry to attend the America's Cup as part of a $220,114 spend-up in San Francisco by the council's tourism and economic arm.

A total of 11 staff from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) and seven other people were covered by the bill, including Barry, opera singer Pene Pati and several businessmen.

A spokeswoman for MediaWorks, Rachel Lorimer, said as part of Barry's news coverage of the Cup, the network let her MC an event for Ateed. In lieu of the usual fee, Ateed helped with her travel expenses.

Ms Lorimer said the financial details of the agreement were commercially sensitive but small in comparison to the network's total cost of covering the Cup.


She said 3 News filmed at the Auckland event where Barry was the MC, interviewing Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall for a story.

Ateed chief executive Brett O'Riley said the three months of the Cup were an unprecedented opportunity to promote exports and investment in California, one of Ateed's three key markets. (The others are China and Australia.) As part of an agreement with Team New Zealand, Ateed had hosting opportunities on race days and held a big Auckland Event on September 9, where Barry was MC and Pene Pati performed.

Mr O'Riley said Ateed got great value from the expenditure, which generated a lot of interest in Auckland, including Wynyard Quarter's innovation precinct and education opportunities.

The 12-week programme, he said, was done frugally and came in well under the $450,000 budget. Staff flew economy class, except on occasions where there was no other choice but to fly premium economy.

Project director Bruce Gadd - the only person in San Francisco for the full 12 weeks - had stayed in rented accommodation to save money.

Mr O'Riley was at the Cup for 16 days and Ateed board chairman David McConnell received an economy return airfare towards the cost of his travel.

America's Cup costs

• Travel/accommodation: $99,520
• Events and hostings: $54,703
• Project management: $24,656
• Promotion: $15,048
• Meals and miscellaneous: $6,437
• Costs still to be billed: $19,750
• Total cost: $220,114
Who travelled to San Francisco: Ateed chief executive Brett O'Riley and 10 other staff: Bruce Gadd, Darryn Grant, Suzanne McKinnon, Patrick McVeigh, David Caselli, Grant Jenkins, Pam Ford, Steffan Panoho, Anna Hayward, Jennifer Clamp.