The New Zealand Agricultural Show has been cancelled for the second consecutive time.
The organisers have decided not to go ahead with event planned to begin in Canterbury on November 10 because of Covid-19 restrictions.
An estimated 100,000 people normally attend the show.
Board chair Stewart Mitchell said that while he welcomes the Government's vaccine certificate plans for major events, they will be too late to save this year's show.
Parts of the show will instead run online in a reduced format.
"We're hugely disappointed but we have no option, given that there's no indication when we will come out of Alert Level 2. We simply can't have large crowds accumulating and enjoying the Show as they normally do.
"We worked through a variety options to see if we could make it work, but with only 35 days to go, it's not viable," he said.
The show costs around $1 million to stage each year and requires a 12-month lead-in time.
"Much of the cost is committed in the lead in to the show at the start of October and we just can't take the risk in the hope of a drop to level 1. Hope is not a good strategy."
There will be a series of smaller events and competitions this year, but with no public attendance, Mitchell said.
"They will also further develop last year's highly successful online content which attracted 2.3 million views, allowing the show to still be seen and be relevant.
"We are also incredibly grateful to the Christchurch City Council for the safety net of their loan and we will still need to draw down a portion of that, to meet the significant financial loss that we will now incur this year."
The council approved a loan of up to $1million for the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association to help if the show does need to be cancelled.
Details of online events, running from November 10 – 12, will be finalised shortly and available here.
"We know this will be a huge let down for the 100,000 people who normally attend The Show and we promise to be back stronger and better than ever next year."
Listen to Jamie Mackay interview Stewart Mitchell on The Country below:
ChristchurchNZ CEO Joanna Norris said the New Zealand Agricultural Show is an important annual platform for businesses and the community.
"The Government's health-based approach to Covid-19 is essential and we absolutely support it. However, businesses and the major events sector need a clear outline of the pathway to lower alert levels in the South Island. Protecting the lives of New Zealanders is of primary importance, however sustaining safe community and economic activity in the South Island is also of huge importance," says Norris.
The three events that have traditionally made up NZ Cup & Show Week — the New Zealand Agricultural Show, Addington Cup Week and Riccarton Park Races — were expected to generate visitor spending of more than $4 million and 22,275 visitor nights.
It has been more than 300 days since the South Island had a Covid-19 community case and alert level 2 continues to severely impact business and the community, Norris said.
"Businesses need transparency around alert level decision-making for the South Island, providing more confidence and enabling informed decision making for businesses and events."
ChristchurchNZ supports the 90% For Canterbury campaign which is an initiative to surpass 90% vaccination for eligible Cantabrians by Labour Day.