Events sector warns New Zealand will miss out on major attractions without urgent action

The events sector is warning that without some urgent action, New Zealand will be unable to attract big events altogether.

High costs and international competition have made booking crowd-pleasing spectacles increasingly tough.

Auckland's Mayor Wayne Brown was firing on all cylinders this week as he unveiled Moana Auckland, the city's newest mega event.

"It's built around the advantage we have over every other city, which is a wonderful harbour," he said.

Starting in late February next year, and running for 30 days, the Moana Auckland Ocean Festival will include everything from Round the Bays to manu competitions and boat expos.

"It's a great thing to look forward to, and it's a great thing to celebrate something positive. Particularly at a time when we are facing some rather difficult financial circumstances," Brown said.

But it's those financial circumstances that are causing major anxiety in the events sector.

"The climate's been tough," head of major events at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Chris Simpson said.

Taylor Swift, for example, is holding seven concerts in Australia and none in New Zealand. Simpson said international competition is proving hard to overcome.

"Post COVID-19 our Australian neighbours have put a lot of money into major events and it's got extremely competitive to win those big one-off events," Simpson said.

And they have to. The Events Association says if we want music acts and sports competitions there has to be more investment.

"Some artists have tripled their prices, tripled their fees. And we also know some sporting properties and sporting teams have doubled their fees because they know the global cities will pay for the content," NZ Events Association general manager Elaine Linnell said.

With high costs, and other countries willing to fork out the cash, iTICKET said it's a perfect storm.

"It does make it more difficult to produce events," iTICKET CEO Reece Preston said.

"The cost is a big pressure and that has to be then passed onto customers ultimately so it is a balancing act."

It's adding to warnings that without long-term funding and investment, New Zealand can wave goodbye to major events.

"We love the Rugby World Cups, the FIFAs - but we also need to understand they take 10 years to get into New Zealand. So ensuring that sustainable funding is there, it needs to happen," Linnell said.

"We're a small country, we've got an amazing international reputation for hosting world-class events but that's not going to help us get events now. It's all about money, unfortunately," Simpson added.

So until more funding comes their way, the mayor's hoping his city's next big event will keep the city's event sector afloat.