Sunday, 20 April 2008


me, my cowbell & my sore throat got home last night after a good night out. i did enjoy the game, especially because we won, and pretty comfortably. i had to rely on the crowd's reactions to figure out what was happening a lot of the time, and the second half was pretty boring, but there you go. the only negative aspect of the game were the cheerleaders. like the "grid girls" - who got another front page piece in the waikato times for no news reason at all - i hate to see the women relegated to the sidelines in skimpy gear. i just think they're worth way more than that. how about having a women's rugby match before the main match, and at least promote women's sports just a little? now that would be at least a partial celebration of female achievement.

the v8s have been going on all day. they had practice rounds yesterday that drove us all crazy at work with the constant noise. i wouldn't have believed cars could make so much noise if i hadn't had to listen to it.

this event was supposed to have brought bucketloads of money into the city. the coverage in the local paper has been extensive to the point of nauseous. there have been front page stories for weeks, and today's paper has hardly got any other news in the first section. i feel like my subscription has been put towards free advertising for the event that should have been paid for by the organisers.

the city council is not behind in this regard. aside from the millions of ratepayer dollars that have gone into hosting the event, the council latest paper (the city news) is pretty much devoted to the v8's; so my ratepayer money is also being spent on advertising that also should have been paid for by the organisers.

the pay-off was supposed to be in the form of economic benefits to hamilton. city businesses have been repeatedly encouraged to stock up for the crowds of shoppers that were to have hit the city. except they seem to have never arrived. the times reported that the restaurants and bars were pretty empty last night, and business has been slower than usual over the last week.

one shopkeeper i spoke to, who supplies to several restaurants as well as running their own retail outlet, says that businesses have been pretty disappointed. at 5pm tonight, this retailer had received no more than the normal level of business for a saturday. driving through town at 6.30, most restaurants seemed to be pretty empty. maybe things will pick up later in the evening; i certainly hope so.

some people will have made money though. one of them is montana catering, the official caterers for the event. who are apparently contracting out to auckland firms (at least according to a letter-writer to the waikato times), which means part of the economic benefit is going out of hamilton. the interesting thing about this company is that one of it's owners was involved in the election campaign for hamilton mayor bob simcock. and also the campaign of the previous mayor, michael redman, who now happens to be the CEO for hamilton city council and earning thrice the salary.

in the last election, mr simcock raised the full $50,000 he was allowed to spend on his campaign. he spent much more by far than any of the other candidates. he has not revealed who donated to his campaign and maintains he doesn't know. he says the money was handled by his campaign team, who didn't pass the information on to him.

it just doesn't seem right that one of his campaign team gets a lucrative contract from this event. michael redman definitely played a large part in getting this event to hamilton. are his mates profiting while many other businesses in the city miss out?

it would be nice to have some further investigations once it's over. how much money was actually made, and who were the ones that made it? were they the same people who contributed to the simcock campaign? i don't really expect any answers to be forthcoming any time soon. but i hope people keep asking the questions and demanding answers. given that we have to put up with this event for several years, it's only right that we get the full story.

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