Michael Barnett calls for change of approach to attract major events back to New Zealand

  • 13/11/2023

Former Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett has called for a change of approach for attracting big events to New Zealand, saying the current model is "dumb".  

The Events Association has warned if we want music acts and sports competitions there has to be more investment, saying that without long-term funding and investment, New Zealand could wave goodbye to major events.  

New Zealand has had a string of big events recently like the Women's FIFA World Cup, the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2022 and a Billy Joel concert.  

But the events calendar is looking a bit sparse and there are already concerns after big pop acts like Taylor Swift and Coldplay announced gigs in 2024 for Australia but had no plans to play in New Zealand. 

Barnett, who was appearing on AM's daily panel on Monday morning, said the current regional model is "dumb" and a new approach is needed.  

"Competition is a great thing, but when you've got Auckland competing against Wellington, against Canterbury, against Otago, in a small economy, that's dumb," he told AM.  

"We need to have a national strategy. We need to pool their resources instead of having resources in Auckland and in Wellington and so on. So to me, we're going about it the wrong way."  

Councillor Josephine Bartley, who appeared alongside Barnett on the panel, had a left-field idea to attract Taylor Swift to New Zealand.  

"To bring Tay-Tay (Taylor Swift) back, we've got other things that will attract international acts here. Her and Travis [Kelce] could go up the Moana for a romantic walk," she suggested.  

"They will have peace and quiet here because we're not crazy with our groupie stuff." 

Watch the full interview with Michael Barnett and Josephine Bartley in the video above.