The mayor of Christchurch in New Zealand has offered to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games after Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews announcement his city’s inability to host the event due to budget blow out.
The 12-day tournament was expected to cost more than A$6 billion which is “more than twice the estimated economic benefit” it would bring to Victoria.
Phil Mauger, who said he was looking at hosting the games in 2034 is now jumping in following Victoria’s withdrawal.
‘You know that I’m a fan of doing it in 2034, but now that Victoria has said enough is enough, let’s see if we can jump in there.’
Asked how he would fund the games, Mauger said ‘I wouldn’t say we’ve got $6billion worth of stuff but we’ve got everything we need to do it if we share it around.’ Suggesting a joint hosting arrangement where rowing and cycling will be held in Cambridge or Invercargill and that some events could be shared with Australia with the two countries’ dual-host arrangement with the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The mayor also pointed to a $641million multi-purpose stadium being built in the city which he suggested would be completed by 2026.
However, the New Zealand Olympic Committee has shut down any suggestions Christchurch would replace Victoria as a host city.
NZOC chief executive Nicki Nicol, who flagged Christchurch as an option for the 2034 Games, confirmed New Zealand would not step up to the plate.
‘This unexpected announcement is unsettling for New Zealand team athletes who were working towards a Games close to home in just under three years,’ she said.
‘We are looking to the Commonwealth Games Federation as it begins a process to appoint a new host for 2026.’
Ms Nicol said she was ‘incredibly disappointed’ by the announcement.