This just in from stuff.co.nz - Wellington has enjoyed a substantial economic windfall from the Rugby World Cup. 268,000 bums on seats for the eight RWC games in the capital, 92,000 international visitors and a 'conservative' economic impact of $94 million. The mayor describes the result as a three-way win, with economic impacts exceeding expectations, and visitors and locals happy with the experience. At the risk of sounding like a killjoy (and like a broken record) what matters not is what the gross impact is but the net impact. Sure, some businesses did exceptionally well, but others suffered - that's basically the same story as in Auckland (although they are yet to release details of their economic wins). This fresh report cannot tell us whether there has been a net impact. What we really need to know is how regular business was affected during the RWC period.
The mayor castigates those who lost out, claiming they suffered from "inflated expectations" in the face of lower consumer spending. Should we wonder why? Oh yes, perhaps that had something to do with the "economic benefits" being trumpeted all over the country as being a boom for everyone concerned? That is, of course, an exaggeration but many believed that everyone in the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors were going to do well from the event.
Personally, I'd wait a while for other statistics to reveal themselves before declaring the Rugby World Cup Wellington as an economic windfall. We mightn't see the true regional net impact until much later in the year.