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World Cup could still happen in Christchurch - Key

There is still a chance the Rugby World Cup will go ahead in Christchurch, Prime Minister John Key says.

Questions have been raised about whether the city will be able to host the event, given predictions that it may take months to get essential services up and running following last week's 6.3-magnitude quake.

"There's a series of different boxes that will need to be ticked before we can say yes or no," Mr Key said.

"My strong preference is to hold the Cup in Christchurch if we can because I think it sends a very strong international message that Christchurch is going through a rebuilding phase, and equally, if we don't, sadly the message is it's not."

Mr Key said the primary concern was ensuring the city's stadium was in the right condition to host games.

"That work is happening. If it doesn't pass that standard then obviously the cup has to be moved, if it does then we can work through the other logistical issues."

Finding accommodation for visiting rugby fans was among those issues.

Cruise ships
"We've already made inquiries about cruise ships and that's entirely possible, and that's not a bad place to stay if you're the Barmy Army.

"Even if it costs a bit more, we might be prepared to accommodate that cost if it means holding the cup in Christchurch."

Mr Key said he expected the final decision to be made in months, not weeks.

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Comments and questions
15

Bravo sir!

This is going to be a very contentious comment, obviously beyond purely the World Cup. I am going to propose a radical re-built approach, I hope as a nation we can discuss this. NZ has a chance to totally rethink its economic direction.
Christchurch gets a limited rebuilt to become a provincial service centre, similar in scope to Hamilton. Additional resource, that would have gone into Chch, goes into making Auckland the sole true commercial centre in NZ.
Why? We are a small country, two economic centres are a legacy from an age without tech, comms, easy travel. Centralise core economic functions in one place makes a lot of sense.

I agree entirely that this is the chance for New Zealand to rethink its economic direction. This is a chance for a complete rebuild. As an Aucklander, I see Christchurch as being a city of entrepreneurs; how often does an idea tried and proven in Christchurch find its way North (particularly in retail). Christchurch is also strong on design and IT. Now is the chance to showcase Canterbury's talent for adventure and taste. Now is also (and I don't mean this to be contradictory) to invite international talent to NZ. Look at Te Papa; Frank Gehry was ready as I understand with a proposal on the table, instead we picked a Kiwi architect who lost his taste for big projects after he completed it. Christchurch is open minded enough and apolitical enough to become NZ's design centre. I think they would do a wonderful job.

Focusing on Auckland could give us a seriously competitive Asian/Pacific centre, rather than one 2nd and 4th tier city. This disaster can give us one 1st tier competitive city.

"We are a small country, two economic centres are a legacy from an age without tech, comms, easy travel. Centralise core economic functions in one place makes a lot of sense."

That's funny. I would have thought tech, comms and easy travel make a good argument for decentralisation rather than centralisation.

Quite right. GregP

True we are a small country - made up of TWO main islands. Christchurch serves the South Island, Auckland serves North Island.

Makes good economic sense to avoid over centralisation of everything in my book. Especially when the next volcano pops up in Auckland.

It always annoys me when people put up extremely provocative messages and then lack the courage to put their names to it.

It is not suprising that a few Aucklanders see ChCh's disaster as an opportunity to grow their own empire, but I suspect that you are in the minority 'Anonymous'.

There are so many issues with your idea I do not know where to start, but I'll try.

Firstly, the capital value of Christchurch would be well over $100b dollars. People will not just walk away from that and frankly it would be economically disastrous.

Secondly, you clearly are watching too much TV. ChCh is not a write off. Most people I know are largely unaffected. My house is just a few hundred metres from the epicentre and it only needs minor repairs. Don't believe everything you see on the tele.

Thirdly and most importantly, while there may be a few thousand people who have decided they have had enough, the vast majority are staying because they love ChCh. We are not going anywhere.

Calm down anonymous, this is not an opportunity for Auckland, this is a disaster for Christchurch, please remember that.

Cut the South Island free. Let them look after themselves. Ngai Tahu and the rest can have it>

You can't leave it months to announce whether the games will be in Christchurch or elsewhere. It is a big event and plans need to be made by those attending.

As an Aucklander, I have no difficulty with the concept that Christchurch be rebuilt. However I would be suggesting that it be rebuilt on the basis that people want to live there, and not just for the sake of rebuilding, which could produce oversupply if the population does not remain.

Get real?

I'm confused. Is the World Cup in NZ later this year going to be cricket? Because a) thats in India and b) the Barmy Army follow cricket and are nothing to do with rugby.
Why's Key talking about the England cricket supporters?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barmy_Army

OMG - No wonder the whole of NZ hates Auckland and Aucklanders.

The South Island produces all of NZ's main exports - More meat, dairy, timber and the tourists don't come to go to our 2 star casino. Without the South Island, Auckland would be nothing.

Get Real!!

Christchurch is a main part of NZ's economy it needs to be rebuilt. Christchurch could become a massive eletronics hub and leverage the polar airport operations.

You can keep your benefit dependents, traffic and all the other things South Island tax payers subsidies for you.

If the Cup should be moved, it should be to to Dunedin.

The Chch patriots are right, rebuild the city as the SI gateway, service the core GDP businessess but once again I advocate for not rebuilding it as a generic commercial centre. It isn't required. Use the rebuilt costs to make one 1st class city. NZ has been falling behind the rest of the world for so long this is an opportunity to turn around our morinund path. Rebuild Chch as a service localised service centre. We are a country of 4.5m people. We don't need two centres.