Thursday, February 16, 2006

Finding another sucker

It looks like the V8 streetrace people have found another sucker: Hamilton. And so now the ratepayers of Hamilton will have to fork out $7 million to provide an opportunity for a fly-by-night international company to suck money out of the locals. Not to mention having their lives made hell for weeks as they are trapped in their homes by construction work and (eventually) speeding cars. The most tragic bit is that they want the racetrack to be "capable of hosting up to 200,000 spectators" - more people than actually live in Hamilton. Where do they think they're going to come from? Mars? The only events that get anything like that number of people in New Zealand are film premieres; certainly car racing is nowhere near that popular. It sounds more than a little like the local council was taken away with the dream of "putting Hamilton on the map", and didn't pay too much attention to the reality. Couldn't they just build a giant fibreglass vegetable like everywhere else...?

I've said it before in other posts on this subject, and I'll say it again now: if hoons want to race their cars, then they should be paying the local council for the privilege - not expecting local ratepayers to fork out to subsidize their sport.


Frankton's mostly an industrial area, rather than city centre or residential - the people who work there seem quite keen. (It's not as if Hammy has a particular traffic problem anyway).

Interesting that a year ago it had to be a major city centre - now they've settled for a backstreets venue in a secondary town. Racing around scrap yards and meatworks hardly has the glamour of Monaco harbour - but then hotted up Holdens are hardly Formula One either.

I'd agree the race organisers ought to pay the full costs - but then 7mil isn't very much in road building terms.

Posted by Rich : 2/16/2006 12:01:00 PM

What a miserable sod you are to think that just because you dislike motorracing that everyone else should as well!

1. AVESCO is not a fly-by-night operation. You are just showing your dislike of commerce by saying that they will "suck money out of the locals".

2. Motorracing is actually a very popular spectator sport in NZ, had you ever been to a race meet you would be surprised at the crowds that gather

3. Hamilton will get significant economic benefit as well as international publicity - thats a great thing for them. And no, the big influx of visitors won't come from Mars, they'll probably come from Auckland - after all its only a 1hr15min car trip from the centre of Auckland to Hamilton.

4. "If hoons want to race their cars, then they should be paying the local council for the privilege - not expecting local ratepayers to fork out to subsidize their sport." I trust you will be consistent in the application of this philosophy and demand that all councils plus central government cease all handouts to groups that advocate some kind of social or economic benefit to society, whether its sport, or welfare, or the arts.

All I learned from your post is that you hate car-racing.

Posted by Aaron Bhatnagar : 2/16/2006 12:16:00 PM

Rich: which means it disrupts local businesses rather than people taking their kids to school. I'm not sure they'd be happy with that. OTOH, the Herald's other piece cites several as being happy; I guess it'll all wash out in the RMA process - and then be relitigated in local body elections in 2007.

Aaron: I could neatly reverse that allegation. What a miserable sod you are to expect the ratepayers of Hamilton to bankroll your preferred hobby!

As for motor-racing being a popular spectator sport, I've been to a number of events in NZ, and they certainly didn't attract the sorts of crowds they seem to be expecting here.

Again, I can't help but think that a giant fibreglass vegetable would have been cheaper.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/16/2006 12:23:00 PM

Its not my preferred hobby. But I do think that such media friendly sports are an excellent idea for councils to advocate as they bring in commercial benefits for tourist and service related businesses. Its also an impetus for infrastructure upgrades to ensure the event runs smoothly.

While 200,000 people sounds high to me, If they have a business plan that thinks they can do it, then all power to them.

And again, I would be curious to know whether you are consistent in the application of your advice and cut off funding for the arts, other sports and events/organisations that seek ratepayer/taxpayer funds.

Posted by Aaron Bhatnagar : 2/16/2006 12:33:00 PM

Aaron, you beat me to it :-)

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 2/16/2006 12:54:00 PM

While inconvenience to immediate neighbors is always going to affect any street-race, or indeed many similar large scale public events....

That wasnt the major problem for either an Auckland or to a lesser degree, Wellington street race... It was the effect on the rest of the traffic that would have to be closed off..... And as Hamilton a) doesnt have the traffic volumes, and b) isnt water-bound, so by-passing routes are easy to come by... will have far less impact on the rest of the city...

As much as I would have loved to see an Auckland street race, its proposed location was always a show-stopper... Good luck to them I say...


Posted by Anonymous : 2/16/2006 03:09:00 PM

After the financial disaster of the stadium, (did it ever go to tender? I believe not. Did it have massive cost overruns? I believe it did.), the council wants to subsidise another for-profit sport? What a bunch of suckers. At least the stadium, for all its ballooning costs, leaves the city with a lasting amenity... *sigh* This kind of thing makes me glad I don't live there any more.

Posted by stephen : 2/16/2006 04:48:00 PM

1: Attendance figures for racing are always cumulative, so it's really 67k per day as a potential max.

2: AVESCO will be paying a lot of money to put this race on, in addition to what the council spends, it's worth it to the competition to maintian exposure for all the sponsors in NZ.

3: The Hamilton CC is a democratic body and they get to do as they please (within the law) with their funds, idiots or not they will be dealt with for the consequences by voters.

Also, yes V8's suck, but until someone builds a proper track it's the best international motorsport exposure NZ's going to get.
I can only hope Hamilton does a professional job of hosting it and gets some return on that, assuming it gets any further than the other concepts.

Posted by tussock : 2/16/2006 04:55:00 PM