At a packed public meeting yesterday in Christchurch, New Zealand First announced a policy to prepare a bid to hold the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch and key locations of the South Island.

Within the last two weeks Victoria pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in 2026, as did Alberta for the 2030 games – both sighting costs.

With the Christchurch Stadium nearing completion, as well as existing arenas and sporting infrastructure around the South Island including the velodrome in Invercargill, and the rowing facilities in Twizel - there is more than enough existing infrastructure for an appropriately streamlined event.

The critical feature of this proposal is to duplicate the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games which were run at a profit – for the first and last time.  It won’t be a cost, but a benefit, with the investment of infrastructure lasting for decades.

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger, with a proven business background, agrees it can be done particularly if we enlist the financial support of the 56-member Commonwealth. 

Christchurch has held the Commonwealth Games successfully in 1974 – which shows with a ‘can-do’ attitude and ambition, it can be done again.

We have a chance to show the Commonwealth and the rest of the world that we have the ambition and innovation to get our economy going again, open up our tourism and our country to the world, and to save the future of the Commonwealth Games.

If New Zealand is ever going to get back to being a world leader, then we have to start planning and thinking with a certain degree of positivity and ambition – not with the squabbling and pessimism we are seeing from too many current politicians.