Last year’s New Zealand Agricultural Show was cancelled months before it was scheduled to happen.
. . . Agricultural Show president Chris Herbert explained the cancellation was necessary as preparing for a major event in November that “may or may not be able to proceed” could result in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars that may not be recouped. . .
It was one of many events that were cancelled last year owing to Covid-19 induced uncertainty.
This week’s lockdown has prompted more including Napier’s annual Art Deco festival.
Until there is a lot more certainty that cancellations are unlikely, event organisers will be very, very wary.
It’s not just the organisations holding events that miss out from events that don’t happen, it’s all the businesses that supply, service and support them and others like those in the hospitality and retail sector that would benefit from more visitors.
But organisers have to be prudent when so much money has to be spent before the events that wouldn’t be recouped if they had to be cancelled.
What’s needed is underwriting to cover the costs of planning and organising events if lockdowns lead to them being cancelled and it should come from the government.
I’m not suggesting public funds are thrown at anyone who wants to organise an event, but long-established ones like festivals and A&P shows should qualify for underwriting.
Without that insurance no-one can blame any organisation that decides that planning an event isn’t worth the risk when there’s so much uncertainty over whether it could go ahead.