NZ Agricultural Show cancelled

The popular show was to be held from November 13 to 15 at Canterbury Agricultural Park. Photo:...
The popular show was to be held from November 13 to 15 at Canterbury Agricultural Park. Photo: Star News
Financial worries have forced the organisers of the New Zealand Agricultural Show in Christchurch to postpone the event this year - but livestock judging and competitions will still be held.

The popular show was to be held from November 13 to 15 at Canterbury Agricultural Park.

Canterbury Agricultural & Pastoral Association board chair Stewart Mitchell said the decision to scrap the 2024 show and "rethink our strategic direction" was disappointing.

He said “several challenging years” - including the Covid-19 pandemic - have had an impact on the show and its business model.

“The decision to postpone the 2024 show was a very disappointing one to make, but after several challenging years it gives us an opportunity to completely rethink our strategic direction.

“The association’s ongoing business model is under review to reflect the environment we now operate in, a challenge common to most businesses throughout New Zealand currently."

Earlier this month, it was revealed Christchurch City Council has been looking at a multimillion-dollar investment into the Canterbury A&P Association through a trust.

The city council was considering breaking the association’s 100-year lease at 141 Wigram Rd.

The Press reported as much as $5 million could be on the line, and association members were told the council may invest $4m in the association and forgive an existing $1m loan.

Mitchell said the board had signalled it wanted a review of the governance model in the constitution, started last year, to be completed. 

He said it is also close to concluding a commercial transaction with the city council.

The transaction will see land the A&P Association hold a 100-year lease on be transferred to the council for public use.

It comes after warnings about the show’s financial position.

Mitchell said: "Twelve months of costs and three days of revenue is not a great business model by anyone’s analysis".

“After meeting with the show’s general committee to look at the numbers, we needed to make the hard choice about whether it would be financially viable to go ahead with the show in November this year,” Mitchell said.

“Unfortunately, after reviewing the latest financial position and projections, and considering the general committee’s deliberations, the board concluded it would be unwise to proceed with a full-scale public show for 2024.

“After two Covid years and a recent financial loss in 2023, the association’s financial reserves are limited, and with highly variable income streams, we are unable to sustain the risk of another loss in 2024.

"Rising wage and compliance costs have been another contributing factor and have significantly impacted the bottom line in recent years.

“Finally, given the prevailing economic conditions are likely to adversely affect the show’s three main income streams of sponsorship, exhibitors and gate revenue, the risk of proceeding and incurring potential losses, without any significant reserves, was too great.

“With this postponement for 2024, we’re now working with the general committee on consolidating revenue and reserves through this period and are planning for the return of a new and exciting show in 2025."

President of the general committee of the Canterbury Agricultural & Pastoral Association Bryce Murray said: “We know this will be sad news for the more than 100,000 people who normally attend the show and all our exhibitors.

"The show has been running in Christchurch since 1863 and while this is frustrating, we promise to be back stronger and better than ever next year.

“We still plan to continue with the stock judging and competition events this year, as we did during the ‘No Show’ Covid years of 2020 and 2021."