Is New Zealand a Serious Option for the Commonwealth Games?

In some quarters it has been muted that New Zealand could be a serious contender to hold the Commonwealth Games in 2026. Auckland silenced doubters in 1990 that they could cope with holding an event of such magnitude, as it turned out to be a great success.

But nearly three decades later is it time for New Zealand to be awarded this prestigious honor once again? In 2022 the games will be held in Birmingham for the very first time, and the rights for the subsequent games of 2026 and 2030 will be up for grabs.

So far countries such as Papau New Guinea and Australia have thrown their names into the ring for 2026 along with New Zealand, so who has the best chance? In Australia there also seems a dog fight among different states to hold the event, so competition is fierce.

How Could New Zealand Cope?

Against serious competition how could New Zealand cope and be a serious contender? The popular response to this question is that both Auckland and Hamilton would jointly host the games, making use of as many existing venues as possible.

One of the biggest drawbacks to New Zealand hosting major sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games has been the lack of world-class sporting venues in the country. But if New Zealand does manage to persuade the Commonwealth Selection Committee to chose the country then a grand new all-purpose stadium / venue will have to be built.

A stadium that could host rugby, cricket, concerts and other sorts of events, would be a legacy for the nation if New Zealand is successful in their bid. But if this is not economically feasible then perhaps a refurbishment of Mount Smart Stadium might be acceptable. Either option would be at a high cost, but it is a cost that must be financed if New Zealand is to be seriously considered.

The Athletes Village

Another great expense of holding the Commonwealth Games is where the athletes stay. In Auckland’s case the accommodation does not really exist, so a new purpose-built Athletes Village would have to be constructed. This again would cost considerable amounts of money, but the benefits would be that after the event this accommodation could solve the housing crisis in Auckland, and provide accommodation for over five thousand people.

If designed and constructed right the village would have nearly a thousand swish apartments, which would be ideal for first-time buyers. So, the question whether is New Zealand is capable of delivering a successful Commonwealth Games, should really be, can it afford not to?

How to Make the Games Successful

There are a number of core events that are compulsory in any Commonwealth Games, then after that the host nation can get creative in the choice of the other sporting options. New Zealand has to insist on events that their athletes exceed in, such as sailing, rowing and canoeing as the nation would have to have medal winners if they were to be considered as a truly great Commonwealth Games host.

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