Masters Games are go - but halt could cost $160k

New Zealand Masters Games marketing events assistant Ben Anngow shows off medals produced for...
New Zealand Masters Games marketing events assistant Ben Anngow shows off medals produced for next year’s event which have been minted without dates. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
The 2022 Dunedin Masters Games have received a green light for now, but ratepayers may be on the hook for $160,000 should the light turn red later.

At Tuesday’s Dunedin City Council meeting, councillors voted to approve the games going ahead, with an understanding that the council would likely need to underwrite the games in the case of cancellation if the region entered a Red setting under the new Covid-19 traffic light system.

In response to Mayor Aaron Hawkins asking what the likely price tag would be for such a cancellation, games manager Vicki Kestila said the worst-case scenario would be the council underwriting about $160,000.

Cr Andrew Whiley, who sits on the board of the Masters Games, said a lot of work was being done to hold back on spending money until the latest possible moment, to minimise costs should cancellation be necessary.

Other items that had been produced already saw a more novel approach to prevent them, becoming obsolete.

"For example, the medals this year will not have 2022 printed on them, nor will any merchandise items or anything like that.

"So should the games not proceed in 2022, a lot of things can be carried across to 2024."

Mr Hawkins said the dateless medals presented "a fine economic development opportunity for the local engraving businesses who can then go back and add the year to all the medals that people accumulate".

The vote for the games to proceed came after a report was tabled showing 89.26% of budgeted revenue for the event had been confirmed.

Under the games’ agreement with the council, had they failed to achieve 85%, there would have been a requirement to either scale down expenditure, gain council approval to underwrite the loss, or cancel the games.

The report also revealed 846 participant entries were received by November 1, which was 141 entries fewer than the same date in 2019.

It said reluctance to register was being driven by the impacts of Covid-19 and related restrictions.

The Dunedin iteration of the Masters Games happens every two years, and is set to take place from February 5-13 next year.


A better option would be to cancel the game's now and save the rate payers the money.

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter