Banks’ olympic-sized madness

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, July 1st, 2010 - 34 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, john banks, local body elections - Tags:

The Olympics is by far the most expensive sporting event on Earth. Hosting them can be economically crippling:

Sprinklers still keep the grass at Greece’s Olympic softball stadium green. But four years after the 2004 Games, it sits unused in the middle of a vast, empty parking lot, patrolled by police vehicles…. Many of the venues are still vacant four years later, promised parks never materialized, and new transportation infrastructure has caused problems like flooding and increased traffic, says Mr. Efthimiou. Citizens question the event’s $15 billion price tag most of it paid for by the state.

Greece spent NZD$25 billion (6% of its GDP) on the Olympics. It had to borrow that money. All that debt helped in no small measure to push Greek government debt to its disastrous heights.

“The Games cost too much money, and they destroy the environment,” [Tokyo] Assemblywoman Yoshiko Fukushi told The Associated Press. “Maybe there was meaning back in 1964 (when Tokyo last hosted the Games), when the economic effects were positive.”

Now, desperate to gain some traction in his failing campaign, John Banks has floated the idea of Auckland hosting the Games in 2020. Current minimum estimates for the cost are $18 billion, that’s 10% of our GDP. It’s just too expensive. Hell, Auckland had to withdraw its bid for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 because it couldn’t afford the infrastructure. The Olympics is a black-hole for money that this country cannot afford. That Banks would suggest this nonsense shows how all at sea his campaign is.

34 comments on “Banks’ olympic-sized madness”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Its just a new story to push his lies about the credit card that never was off the newspaper.
    His ‘public ‘media team are doing well, but of course his under hand team of Bhatman and Whale have been busy as well

  2. Lew 2

    Scott Yorke nails this. And that’s just the financial problems. Let’s see how the country copes with next year’s Rugby World Cup, which (generously) might be a tenth of the size of an Olympic games, and will need the resources and infrastructure of the entire country.


    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      For the RWC they have a ‘marketing stasi’ just to enforce the sponsors rights.
      At least the Olympics arent as totalitarian, as of course its the television audience who they are aiming for

  3. G8 3

    Len Browns comment in the Herald today was spot on – something along the line of “flight of fantacy”….then making reference to Banks as the mayor who couldn’t even build a swimming pool in Otahuhu. Go Len you actually understand community and will not just look after the CBD

  4. It would only cost about one year of Auckland’s GDP to run …

  5. G8 5


    Banks will have Quax in charge of raising the funds for the Olympics because ever cent counts eh Dick especially when it’s for your own pocket!

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Don’t think you’ll get too many arguments from righties on this one. The idea is nuts.

  7. wyndham 7


    Spot on ghost. Sounds like pure Michelle Boag to me. Get the bad news out of sight beneath this load of nonsense. It works too !!

    • Boag is that crazy that it is certainly possible that she is the creator of this idea.

      The politics are silly however. Banks should have taken the damage caused by his hypocritical attack on Len for his credit card use. Instead of that he comes up with this.

      Now not only is he hyprocritical and a trougher but he also supports crazy ideas.

      I hope that no one offers that man a monorail

      • uke 7.1.1

        “I hope that no one offers that man a monorail.”

        Hmmm… maybe it would be a way to get Banks supporting public transport though? Instead of trains, monorails (but not like the stupid Sydney one).

        • Lanthanide

          Someone should write to Banks with a genuine-sounding proposition for a monorail, and see if he bites…

  8. Olwyn 8

    We have a small population, and it goes almost without saying that the Olympic games would be beyond our scope. However, looking at South African Complaints about the World Cup, where a guy was stopped from selling some World Cup key rings of his own design, and Tokyo’s and Athens’s thoughts about the Olympics, it looks to me as if big international sporting events are yet another human endeavor slowly being suffocated by modern capitalism. We seem to be heading toward the point where no one will be rich enough to host these events.

    • Lew 8.1

      Olwyn, this sort of argument is made at some length and detail here, if you’re interested.


    • prism 8.2

      Olwyn Thinking about hosting world events like the Olympics, I remember a man I think was Ted Turner previous head of CNN. He was wealthy and bankrolled world events for a while called the friendship games. Does someone know about them? I think they ceased some time ago.

  9. prism 9

    ‘ Citizens question the event’s $15 billion price tag most of it paid for by the state.’

    Sounds like Dunedin ratepayers’ beef about the new Carisbrook on a larger scale.

    • Yeah, seventy five times the scale …

    • marsman 9.2

      And the huge Stadium they want to build in Whangarei for the Rugby World Cup. It will be far too large for any future events. Basically it’s Corporate Welfare with the Corporation calling all the shots.

  10. ianmac 10

    I suspect that the Olympic idea is indeed a deflection strategy as GWWalks says. The right are so good at this. They have a team of planners with ready made “bones” to toss out whenever required to deflect.
    Olympics v Dick Quax hypocrisy? MMM Lets go with Olympics. Mr Findlayson declaration v ANZAC rejection?

  11. Maui 11

    I was in Sydney during the preparation for and staging of the 2K Olympiad. In short, I’d agree with all the posters above.

    I met people from half a dozen countries seeking funding to build ‘the Olympic statue’ .. whatever that is. The only one I saw built was a symbolic abstract piece to commemorate the contribution of Sydney’s Greek community ..

    Stadium Australia, then Telstra Stadium, went bankrupt and is now ANZ Stadium. The underground railway to the airport was built by a private company which went bankrupt after the games and was taken over by the NSW government .. which now has its own fiscal worries.

    There are many stories like that, and that was in a time of boom and optimism. To propose that today, you would need your head read.

    The Rugby ‘World Cup’ will also have its share of surprises.

  12. Ron 12

    This is a “jumping the shark” moment isn’t it.

  13. tc 13

    I can imagine the conversation:
    Boag: look banksie we need you to put this out there to cover up your latest f’up
    Banksie: Do I get piklets and cream tomorrow?
    Boag: yes
    Banksie: Well I’ll do it then… I get to wear that mayoral bling also ?
    Boag: Whatever just remember it’s the olympics not the fifa wcup you want
    Banksie: what was the middle bit again?

  14. tsmithfield 14

    Actually, perhaps Banks is expecting that Len Brown will pay for it all on his credit card. 🙂

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    Now all we have to do is realise that the same is true for hosting the Rugby World Cup. Massive expense for little or no gain and more likely to take the economy backwards.

    • Just ask Hamilton Rate Payers and residents about the costs and inconvenience for the V8 debacle. Incidentally this was also the idea of another, has been, National member.

  16. Mossaman 16

    Banks is really clutching at straws with this one.

  17. roger nome 17

    But the main-trunk line’s still from the 50s,

    and thinking big was never thrifty.

    Still, come watch this albino pacaderm fly,

    Banks and contractors soon ally.

    Fascism’s crutch was corporate welfare,

    free-market fanatics for cutting healthcare.

    Now Farrar and Slater run distraction,

    ‘Cos tubby’s in the trough, and priniples are nowhere.

  18. Tui 18

    Banks has been clutching at straws ever since Len Brown overtook him in the polls.

    What’s next, David ?

  19. pohutukawa kid 19

    Tui – a fishing contest for red herrings

  20. parnellboy 20

    I see Len was miles ahead on the Campbell Live text poll tonight. 45% Brown, 17% John Banks, 38% neither. Not bad result given the couple of weeks of mud that’s been chucked at him.

  21. Campbell 21

    This would explain why the Olympic Movement recently spent 5 days on the parliamentary precinct. Clearly the government is treating it with some seriousness.

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