Gold Coast Commonwealth Games ready to impress

Beaches, theme parks and schoolies week is what the Gold Coast is renowned for.

But come Wednesday it will officially become the host of the 21st Commonwealth Games.

It‘ll be the fifth time Australia has hosted the event.

It‘s 28 years since New Zealand last hosted the Games in Auckland in 1990 – but what chance is there of them every coming back here.

The 1990 Commonwealth Games was just the third time New Zealand had hosted the Games – the first being in Auckland in 1950 and the second in Christhchurch in 1974.

New Zealand middle distance legend John Walker competing in the 1500m at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland. Photo: Supplied

But the prospect of New Zealand hosting the event for a fourth time appears remote.

The head of the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, is Kereyn Smith.

The secretary-general of the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association Kereyn Smith. Photo: Photosport

She is also the vice president of the Commonwealth Games Federation which allocates the Games and concedes there needs to be a groundswell of support to make it happen.

“It‘s not there in terms of a burning committment or ambition to pursue this …however I think the opportunity for the discussion is open and if New Zeland wants to host – rather than just being about the Games (we need to look at) how could we do a major event like that to can be a galvanising force for improving physical activity, attracting and retaining volunteers, it needs to be for a bigger picture outcome,” said Smith.

A 2010 feasibility study by Sport New Zealand estimated hosting the 2018 Games would cost between $500 and $600 million dollars.

Gold Coast‘s Games will cost $2 billion.

Hosting the Games is seen as a coming of age for Gold Coast as it seeks to move out of the shadow of Brisbane.

“It‘s all part of a long term planning exercise around diversity. (The Gold Coast) is always seen as a great tourism spot, but it also has a great climate and is a great place for companies to move to so that has been the emphasis for a lot of what we have done,” said the chief executive of the Gold Coast Organising Committee Mark Peters.

“We did use the corney phrase of ‘coming of age‘ during our bid process but it‘s certainly a city of the future and has so many things going for it and that attraction of more business is a key element of that,” he said.

If the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games association were hoping a new government might lead to a change of mind about hosting a Games then the new minister of sport Grant Robertson will take some persuading.

“I don‘t think it needs to be seen that the Commonwealth Games is the only pinnacle event for us. There are a lot of global events New Zealand could host,” said Mr Robertson.

Minister of Sport Grant Robertson. Photo: Photosport

“New Zealand has a track record of doing well (hosting) under-20 World Cups and we could be hosting a Women‘s World Cup (rugby or football) or co hosting an event like that…so there is real opportunity for us to look at those big iconic events build on what we did well with the Rugby and Cricket World Cups,” he said.

“It doesn‘t rule out the Commonwealth Games but I think we need to work out what we do best.”

So the Commonwealth Games aren‘t on the Government‘s radar which means while New Zealand is sending its biggest ever team of athletes – 251 all up – to the Gold Coast Games, the prospect of any of those athletes getting to compete at a Games on home soil seems high unlikely.

-RNZ