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Christchurch to host Ellerslie International Flower Show

19 November 2007

Christchurch will host the country’s most prestigious garden event, the Ellerslie International Flower Show, from next year.

Christchurch City Council this morning unanimously approved the purchase of the Ellerslie International Flower Show after its owners accepted Christchurch’s bid for the event.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said that the outcome was superb for the city. "Christchurch is the Garden City. The Ellerslie International Flower Show is the very best in the country with international links. This prestigious event is such a good fit for our city and will boost Christchurch’s Garden City image even further," he said.

Ellerslie International Flower Show currently attracts 65,000 people over five days. It has been held in the Auckland region since its inception in 1994 and is worth more than $14 million a year to the local economy. Mr Parker said that given attendances at Christchurch’s other main events and the passion for gardening in the city, Council is confident it can achieve a similar high level of attendance.

Council’s visitor and events strategies both support strengthening the Garden City image. The Events strategy supports developing two icon events which reflect Banks Peninsula and Christchurch lifestyles. Ellerslie International Flower Show and New Zealand Cup and Show Week are the two icon events.

"Christchurch is an event city. Obviously we have been and will continue to look at opportunities to bring the very best festivals and events to our city. It is no secret that we bid for the World Netball Championships and also to the International Paralympic Committee. That’s the business we’re in," Mr Parker said.

Mr Parker said for reasons of commercial and competitive sensitivity the purchase price would remain confidential. This was normal practice, for example Hamilton City Council did not disclose how much it paid for next year’s V8 supercar race and Wellington City Council had kept the cost of bringing world soccer star David Beckham to its city confidential.

"Our bid was initially to host the garden show and pay an annual fee to do so, but then the opportunity arose to purchase the garden show outright and so secure its long term future from 2008," he said.

"What I can say is that this cost will not impact on rates. Funding will come from our budget surplus in the 2006/07 financial year."

Mr Parker will meet the event’s current major sponsors tomorrow. Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism, the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and the Garden City Trust endorsed the Council’s bid.

Christchurch International Airport Ltd's CEO, Rene Bakx, says that the airport company wholeheartedly endorses the decision of the Ellerslie International Flower Show management to locate the show in Christchurch. "This event provides Canterbury and the South Island with an opportunity to showcase our breathtaking natural landscape and our world class tourism offerings.

Today's decision demonstrates that our City Council recognise the tourism growth potential and immense possibilities of this iconic event, and we are pleased to commit our support in a sponsorship capacity.

"The dedication of the show's directors and the enthusiasm and passion of the people of the South Island with the backing of the City Council will ensure that the event will continue to grow and to attract an increasing number of both domestic and international visitors".

Ellerslie International Flower Show Spokesman David Mee said he was delighted that the flower show had found a new home in Christchurch. The current Ellerslie management team will be retained long term to continue to manage this wonderful event and are excited about the prospects of the move.

"We were quite overwhelmed by the interest and enthusiasm of those cities who wished to host the event, but in the end decided that Christchurch would be the best long term home for the show. The vision, passion and enthusiasm from the Christchurch City Council was compelling and we believe that the Ellerslie International Flower Show is in safe hands in the ‘Garden City."

"It was an extremely tough decision and it is with sadness that we will be leaving the Auckland Botanic Gardens and the Manukau City region. Both the Manukau City Council and the Auckland Regional Council have been great supporters of the show for a number of years."

"We also would like to acknowledge and thank all those who have supported the event for many years in the region, particularly the horticultural and landscape industry and the public who have attended."

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