Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The RWC; a bridge too far for Christchurch

We've just arrived home after our first round of golf since taking ill a couple of months ago. Listening to the radio whilst in the shower (sorry if that evokes unfortunate mental pictures!), we heard the sad but inevitable news that there will be no Rugby World Cup matches in Christchurch this year. The Beehive website reports:

Rugby World Cup Minister, Murray McCully, says the government and other stakeholders have agreed the Christchurch Rugby World Cup matches will be moved out of the city due to unacceptable risks associated with maintaining the current programme.

“Today’s decision is made with regret and clearly is a blow to the people of Canterbury, who rightly pride themselves on being the home of New Zealand’s pre-eminent Super Rugby and NPC teams.”

“But we simply have to acknowledge that collective uncertainties associated with the planned hosting of games in Christchurch are overwhelming,” said Mr McCully.

We reckon that this is another sad day for Christchurch, despite the increasing inevitability of today's decision. Rugby World Cup matches, had they been able to be played in Christchurch would have provided the city with an important economic fillip, and they would have been a boost to the morale of the good folk of Christchurch.

But the reports about the condition of AMI Stadium and of hotels in the city have been increasingly gloomy over the last few days. The playing surface of AMI Stadium would have had to be ripped up and relaid, such is the level of the liquefaction damage. There has clearly been some structural damage to the Hadlee and Deans stands, and the streets around the stadium are an absolute mess.

It would have taken an intensive effort to fix all these things to enable RWC matches to be played. Even then, it may have been a bridge too far. And as we suggested last week, insurance issues have been a significant factor - read on:

The Minister says while the stadium structures can be fixed they can only be fixed in time if normal procurement processes are by-passed, placing insurance cover at risk. There is also a risk further testing will reveal other problems causing additional delays.

“Complete replacement of the turf at AMI Stadium is required. We have been advised that would be a tightly managed six month long project to replace it and that the turf was uninsured. The Rugby World Cup games commence in six months from last Wednesday. Any further damage to drainage under the turf places that timetable at risk,” said Mr McCully.

“Even if all of these difficulties were overcome, there is no guarantee that insurance arrangements, including public liability insurance, will be available on acceptable terms, especially if aftershocks continue,” he said.

The issue of public liability is an important one. Our business was involved in a trade display recently, and before our booking space could be confirmed, we had to show evidence of public liability insurance cover of $2m. Our display was low-risk; the worst that might happen would be someone getting a paper cut from a brochure; however the organisation running the event was taking a very conservative stance.

AMI Stadium is only a few kilometers from the epicentre of the February 22nd earthquake. It is not hard to imagine that insurers would be very wary of extending cover, and that the cost of premiums would be stratospheric.

Against this background, the decision has been taken today to move the seven matches scheduled for Christchurch. This will be a blow, and already Bob Parker has talked of taking it hard. The Herald quotes him thus:

"We're facing a long hard winter here in this city of ours. We were looking forward to a spring that would be brightened by having the Rugby World Cup here in our city.

"From my heart I will probably always find this decision hard to accept... and hard to agree with at some level.

"But this is bigger than Christchurch. It is about our country."

We share Bob Parker's profound sense of disappointment at today's decision, but we also recognise that at a pragmatic level, it was the only decision which could be taken. All we can hope for now is that the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup, and parade it triumphantly threough Christchurch at some date after the final.


robertguyton said...

They looked terribly down-at-mouth didn't they - McCully, Parker et al.
Brownlee looked like he'd had too much msg on his Chinese.

Anonymous said...

This post above, by robert guyton is a new low for him.

Totally disgraceful. Totally.

I have a friend in Japan, near the place of major impact. I found his post purely tasteless and highly offensive.

If Blogs could be reported to the broadcasting standards authority i would be lodging a complaint.

Anonymous said...

Turning such a tragedy in to a political muck raking post attacking John Key is disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

That is ROberts post i am talking about...not yours INV2

Inventory2 said...

I appreciate that Anon, and agree wholeheartedly. Mr Guyton has attacked John Key on another Keeping Stock thread this evening, to which I have just responded; he would not have known about the situation I have appraised him of, but his loathing of John Key is, to use his own words in that comment "petty, petty, petty!".

Anonymous said...

@anon "If Blogs could be reported to the broadcasting standards authority i would be lodging a complaint"

That would have happened 1,0000000000000 times on every political blog you could think of so you are a silly billy to be so uppity about a post you namby pamby tiddle diddler.

Read some Mikhail Lhaws and then complain about his print material if you want to cry to the regulators you big defender of the right to say what you want you.

Anonymous said...

He is claiming it as "satire", but if he thinks that making a joke out of something as horrific and devastating as wwhat is happening in Japan then he is total scum in my opinion.

robertguyton said...

It's fun to come over here and play amongst the easily riled, like Anonymous (real name? Who can really know?).
I've guided her through her anguish and mis-comprehension on my own site, but she's still overly frothy. I patiently explained that my post is an amusing one (matter of opinion of course, but remember, it's my site, not Inv2's) and not about Japan at all, but about John Key's $5 million Hawaiian holiday home and its vulnerability to nuclear fall-out.
If you, Anonymous, are too delicate to read my satirical posts, stay here with Inv2, where you are safe.

Inventory2 said...

Satire it may be Rob, but when you start to make catty little comment about $5m baches, you open yourself to accusations of envy.

Anonymous said...


Considering that you mention the NUCLEAR issue, WHICH IS LINKED TO JAPAN you wanker, it clearly is linked to japan.

The fact that you are using a tragic situation to attack John Key (as you constantly rambl on about....and you claim that INV2 is obssesd with Goff....i think you are obsessed with Key) is pathetic and scum like.

Trying to cover your tracks by claiming it has nothing to do with the NUCLEAR SITAUTION IN JAPAN is lame.

Suz said...

Anon @ 7.14

Under a thread here yesterday, "An Amazing Photograph", a joke was made, applauded by two people, and Inv responded,"Whilst this is a dreadful human tragedy, there's still room for a little lightness".

Did that one not bother you?

robertguyton said...

"catty little comment about $5m baches"
I challenge you to quote the comment that you found 'catty'.

Anonymous said...

suz i did not see that one because i only frequent this blog every couple of days.

robertguyton said...

"I watched 3 News tonight and after 15 minutes of rugby world cup crap we finally get five minutes on Fukushima."

(Quote from another blog)
You know, I noticed that too!
Rugby, nuclear meltdown in the Pacific,
Rugby World Cup, radiation disaster,
Christchurch loses rugby games, Japan's nuclear horror ... it's so difficult to get one's priorities right, isn't it...

robertguyton said...

Mallard calls Key a 'chicken' for not fronting the Christchurch news in the House (or anywhere else).
Says he's hiding under his desk!
Tee hee!

Inventory2 said...

@ Rob (8.03pm) - this one:

Suggestions that Gerry Brownlee be installed in the $5 million 'bach'

ha said...

key was too busy apologising for Roberts insensitive comments to front.

Inventory2 said...

Meanwhile, let's get back to the topic in hand ...

gravedodger said...

couldn't agree Iv2 back to the really important stuff, what was the score at golf today

Mighty said...

I had expected the news, in fact thought it was probably the right thing to do, so I'm surprised how sad I am about losing the games, (must be some new kind of delayed trauma that will form the basis for someone's PHD next year). But my main worry is that you pig islanders won't provide the right emotional quotient in the stadium to get us through the quarters to the semis!

Tinman said...

Yet another thread buggered by a nutter.

The decision to steal from Christchurch's tourism industry will do more damage to the city than the 'quake itself.

Blaming the cancellation on the paddock as McCully was reported as doing last night is pure bullshit.

This is rugby for christs sake, not lawn bowls or croquet.

I have no doubt the real reason is that the lounge where the IRB gin-swillers would have got their free food and booze was damaged and the Pom rugby team are too bloody gutless to repay the favour NZ rugby teams did Pomland by touring there when every second car in London blew up every five minutes.

A gutless, disgraceful decision that leaves me hoping the WWE trophy is won by France who then dump the bloody thing.