Multi-million dollar boost for Queenstown’s Winter Games NZ

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Winter Games New Zealand has been given a $2.75 million cash boost by the Government.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced the funding on Friday, enabling to two-yearly event to keep growing.

Joyce says $1.5m from the Major Events Fund would go to the 2015 Winter Games, plus another $1.25m for the 2017 event.

WGNZ chief executive Arthur Klap is delighted to receive support from the Government, which will allow the games to develop into new markets.

Klap says he will work with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to grow the games into key markets, specifically Asia.

WGNZ 2017 will be a key qualifying event for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea.

“What we have achieved in just three events in terms of our standing on the world stage is nothing short of remarkable,” Klap says.

“Having the confidence of Government backing for the 2015 and 2017 events will allow us to build on this and continue to present New Zealand at the forefront of winter sports with all the associated economic benefits, not just for the host region of the Southern Lakes but also New Zealand as a whole.”

A post-event analysis by MBIE shows in 2013 the event generated $7,084,146 in net economic benefit for New Zealand.

Joyce says: “This event generates excellent international exposure for New Zealand, showcasing some of our most spectacular scenery.

“The games also deliver a significant economic boost for the country, as many of the athletes choose to stay for an extended period of time to train in New Zealand in the lead-up to their event.

“Further investment through the Major Events Development Fund will ensure this event continues to achieve success, while building a platform to become independent of Government support in the future.”

Joyce says no other programme combines as many winter sports in one event at a World Cup or Continental Cup level and it is also the only elite winter snow sport competition in which able bodied and adaptive athletes competed alongside each other.

Seventeen athletes who competed in the 2013 Winter Games went on to win medals at this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics, including five gold medals.

“Winter Games New Zealand is a home-grown event that is consistent with the Government’s strategy of investing in events that deliver economic results and successfully showcase New Zealand internationally as a desirable visitor and major events destination.”

– Otago Daily Times