Our Cup Runneth Over and Out

19Mar11

 “To the people of Christchurch our pledge to you is this: we are behind you, you are in our hearts and minds. And you will be central to Rugby World Cup in 2011.” Bernard Lapasset, IRB Chairman.

But not, any more, in our plans.  Not even Party Central. Adieu mon AMI.

The contrived photo* in the Press a few days ago of AMI Stadium, taken by a photographer crouched low over rubble on an adjacent non-Ami site to dramatise the damage to the stadium, wouldn’t have won many amis in high places in the Canterbury Rugby Union.

It provided visual ammunition for ill-informed English rugby journalists to raise the level of anxiety about Christchurch’s ability to stage its leg of the RWC well before the contents of engineering reports of serious damage to the stadium were made available to the IRB. 

In the interim before the inevitable decision I’m not sure why the Prime Minister was so keen to keep RWC hopes alive in Christchurch*. Most people here could see that the game had changed and there were new priorities in Christchurch. As with Pike River he probably just wanted to avoid being the bearer of bad news.

There’s plenty of that in the erstwhile Garden City. Ratepayers still have to pay for the cost overruns on AMI stadium, despite the assurances of an earlier Civic Administration to the contrary and the absence of any games in the foreseeable future which might come close to filling it.

As the pioneer Nuclear Free City perhaps Christchurch can now declare itself a Rugby Free city and take up the accommodation slack in those hotels and motels still open with rugby refugees from elsewhere in the country.

There’s still talk of big screens in public spaces but with the city doughnutted it won’t be Party Central in The Square but Party Peripheral in the burbs.

Apart from the obvious Heineken manoevre I could never understand why the Party Central concept ignored the hospitality infrastructure already existing in New Zealand cities in favour of temporary structures. However, Christchurch has lost so many watering holes-over a hundred bars and restaurants are presently out of action- that we might have to settle after all for temporary tippling tents with supersized screens. I just hope that, at least in Christchurch, Heineken pull their sponsorship neck in.

At least more locals will be able to go and watch the games live on TV in a big crowd atmosphere, compared with those who were contemplating stumping up and paying the eye-watering prices for AMI.

*BLINKS
http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/4769485/PM-quashes-bleak-World-Cup-report
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/4757624/Christchurch-earthquake-Key-hits-out-at-Rugby-World-Cup-critic
http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/rugby-world-cup/4773298/Christchurch-loses-Rugby-World-Cup-games 

 #Lyall Lukey 19 Mar 2011
http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz
http://lukeytraining.wordpress.com/ My other (bit more serious) blog

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One Response to “Our Cup Runneth Over and Out”

  1. Hi Lyall,

    I liked your linking of AMI with friends, with Adieu, mon AMI. However, you should have fired a shot at Bernard Lapasset’ smarmy comment. What utter nonsense. If he really felt for us, he would have been delighted to offer ten percent of the IRB’s gross (very gross) profit from this rugby tour to Christchurch, to help in the rebuilding etc.

    I invite you to look at my new website, which is still slightly in the process of sorting out, but works OK.

    Cheers,
    Richard


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