Some interesting information has come to light on the Ellerslie International Garden Show.

While Christchurch Mayor Sideshow Bob Parker was keen to exploit the event to boost his flagging popularity, he was rather less keen to reveal just how much the Christchurch City Council paid for the 'rights' to the garden show.

Indeed while Sideshow Bob has boasted of the success of the show, he won't reveal whether or not it ran at a loss. He has claimed 'commercial sensitivity'. Who is it 'sensitive' to exactly? Sideshow Bob doesn't say. We're guessing that this issue is only 'sensitive' to Sideshow Bob and his council supporters - and their chances of getting re-elected.

The rumour is that Sideshow Bob paid some $2 million for the so-called 'rights'. But Sideshow, usually not short of a few words, has been not been prepared to reveal what the Christchurch City Council paid for the former Auckland horticultural event.

However the Labour-leaning Christchurch 2021 have done some digging and unearthed some interesting information.

They have released documents that reveal that the Auckland City Council had considered paying the Ellerslie organisers, SMC Events Ltd, $450,000 to stage the show at Ellerslie for three years. But then Sideshow Bob arrived on the scene with a big seven figure cheque.

The Auckland City Council documents show that council staff thought that even $450,00 wasn't value for money. And they also noted that the event could easily be replaced if it did move elsewhere.

It also appears that SMC Events are looking to take two bites out of this particular apple. The contract includes a clause allowing to SMC to organise a similar biannual event in Auckland.

So what did Sideshow Bob and the Christchurch City Council buy exactly?

Not much.

It looks like Bob shelled out a whole wheelbarrow of money for some nebulous naming rights and some vague organisational assistance.

The Christchurch City Council could of just as easily organised its own garden show using its own resources - and saved a lot of money in the process.

This is especially the case now that the Christchurch City Council are planning to change the name of the garden show - so why bother to buy the rights to the Ellerslie show in the first place?


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