Today’s (24 September) Christchurch City Council meeting agreed to make public its purchase price of the Ellerslie International Flower Show.
The decision followed a recommendation earlier this month from the Chief Ombudsman that the Council should disclose the amount it paid for Ellerslie.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said Council had agreed to release the figure because the Ombudsman found the quantum of funding was significantly greater than for other events.
“This does not mean however that Council will in the future automatically release the amount of grants made to events or purchases of other events. Each case will be treated on its merits,”he said.
The Council paid $3 million to purchase the Ellerslie International Flower Show, which was independently valued in July this year by Ernst & Young at $3.114 million.
“In purchasing Ellerslie, Christchurch bought a profitable event that adds significant value to the city’s Garden City image and an international brand that will enable Christchurch to develop Ellerslie into one of the world’s premier garden shows. Ellerslie made a profit of $224,000 this year.
“It is important to remember the $3 million was a one-off cost to the city, the event’s on-going management costs are part of the Show’s annual operational budget.”
He said there was no on-going annual Council grant for Ellerslie.
“We own Ellerslie and it attracts sponsorship, visitor numbers and other revenue which ensures the Show makes a profit and the Council can keep reinvesting in the Show to develop it in to one of the top five garden shows in the world without any further funding from ratepayers.”
The $3 million purchase price for Ellerslie was based on the cost of providing 10 years financial support for an iconic event.
Ellerslie is recognised as the second iconic event for Christchurch, the first is NZ Cup and Show Week which the city funds annually to the tune of $360,000.
“When you consider the annual cost of NZ Cup and Show Week and the city’s on-going investment in other festivals, the amount paid for Ellerslie was comparable and a good long-term investment for the city.”
Mr Parker said in just one year Ellerslie had generated more than $19.7 million for the local economy; attracted a record-breaking audience of almost 80,000 visitors; strengthened and added significant value to the Garden City brand; and been recognised as having the quality of show gardens and horticultural exhibits equal to London’s Chelsea Flower Show.
“This is a phenomenal achievement and one the city should be celebrating.
“We are well on our way to achieving our long-term goal of creating a garden show which is equal to the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.”