Auckland's mayoralty contenders are divided over whether the Super City should bid to host the Commonwealth Games, after an Aussie sports administrator and former athlete called out New Zealand for not hosting the event in recent years.
The state of Victoria was this week named as host for the 2026 Games, with a plan to spread sports events beyond Melbourne and throughout the state.
David Culbert, from Commonwealth Games Australia, told Elliott Smith on Newstalk ZB this week the new hosting approach made it more feasible for New Zealand to host the event.
"The fact you haven't hosted the Commonwealth Games since 1990, that doesn't sit well with me," Culbert said.
We asked the mayoral hopefuls where they stood on hosting the Games.
Viv Beck: Yes
"While right now there are higher priorities for many Aucklanders, a bid could be used as a way to deliver on existing priorities, as well as gaining the more traditional benefits.
"There are significant benefits that can come from hosting large-scale international events. Of particular relevance for Auckland, it would create a catalyst for priority investment such as transport and affordable housing – both of which were achieved in the Gold Coast when they held the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
"Recent Commonweath Games have delivered significant GDP contributions (around $1B), plus enduring returns from tourism and exports.
"New Zealand and Auckland are well set up to host a range of sports and as a waterfront city, with a track record of delivering major events, Auckland is well placed to consider a bid. Use of existing and temporary facilities can help to keep the investment costs down. By 2030, some of our current investment will be complete – the City Rail Link and the International Convention Centre, plus a wide range of quality accommodation.
"An assessment would need to be undertaken in partnership with the government but overall, it is worth considering a joint bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games."
Leo Molloy: Yes
"I would be inspired by Jeff Kennett [the former Premier of Victoria], who pinched Formula 1 away from Adelaide. You can reactivate a state or an area by bringing in big events, so this would be a great opportunity.
"My background is in hospitality and events, so I would see this event as an opportunity Auckland should embrace. We would need to fund it, that's the tough part.
"This would be an opportunity for Auckland to get a world-class stadium – so let's do it. If we're talking about the 2030 Commonwealth Games, then you'd say to Ports of Auckland that's enough time for them to move out and we can develop the area with a stadium."
Craig Lord: No
"The issue is the financial difficulty we're about to experience. Basically, Auckland is broke. So, it would depend on who's paying for the Commonwealth Games, and what sort of return on investment you'd get. It would be tough to justify the sort of investment required.
"My gut instinct says no, because so many places that host Commonwealth or Olympic Games end up struggling to make the event pay its way. I'm a sports lover, and would love to see it happen – so the financials are my only reason for saying 'no'."
Wayne Brown: No
"I'm standing on a platform to fix infrastructure and stop the council wasting money and to be more businesslike. So, hosting the Commonwealth Games isn't something that would remotely be a priority.
"Most Aucklanders are in financial distress, and we've got to finish what we've got going before we start anything new. There are too many things to fix – we've got the City Rail Link, the eastern and western busways, and central government has given us a lightrail project that makes no sense.
"I'd be more interested in bringing individual sports events here."
Efeso Collins: Maybe
"I'd only support hosting the Commonwealth Games if the central government could show how it would work fiscally and I was confident the event wouldn't displace or disrupt communities as has happened elsewhere.
"I think a regional hub for hosting has some real attraction, but it would require significant infrastructure investment into facilities and transport, and that would mean central government stepping up, with real risks of pushing people out of housing and clogging up our transport routes. In my view making public transport free, and being more hands-on about housing our people, is more of a game-changer to make Auckland a city we can all be proud of."