Wednesday, 17 April 2024 08:58

NZ Agricultural Show postponed

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
While the show is postponed, organisers say livestock judging and competitions will still be held. While the show is postponed, organisers say livestock judging and competitions will still be held.

The long-running New Zealand Agricultural Show won’t take place this year as cash-strapped organisers mull the event’s future.

The three-day show, normally held in November, drew about 100,000 people. However, show board chair Stewart Mitchell points out that 12 months of costs and three days of revenue is not a great business model by anyone’s analysis. The show recorded a loss last year.

While the show is postponed, organisers say livestock judging and competitions will still be held.

“The decision to postpone the 2024 Show was a very disappointing one to make, but after several challenging years it gives us an opportunity to completely rethink our strategic direction,” Mitchell says.

“The Association’s ongoing business model is under review to reflect the environment we now operate in, a challenge common to most businesses throughout New Zealand currently.

“After meeting with the Show’s general committee to look at the numbers, we needed to make the hard choice about whether it would be financially viable to go ahead with the Show in November this year,” Mitchell says.

“Unfortunately, after reviewing the latest financial position and projections, and considering the general committee’s deliberations, the Board concluded it would be unwise to proceed with a full-scale public show for 2024.”

After two Covid years and a financial loss in 2023, the association’s financial reserves are limited.

Mitchell notes that with highly variable income streams, they are unable to sustain the risk of another loss in 2024. Rising wage and compliance costs have been another contributing factor and have significantly impacted the bottom line in recent years.

“Finally, given the prevailing economic conditions are likely to adversely affect the show’s three main income streams of sponsorship, exhibitors and gate revenue, the risk of proceeding and incurring potential losses, without any significant reserves, was too great,” he says.

“With this postponement for 2024, we’re now working with the general committee on consolidating revenue and reserves through this period and are planning for the return of a new and exciting Show in 2025,” says Mitchell.

Canterbury Agricultural & Pastoral Association general committee president Bryce Murray says the decision not to hold the show this year is sad news for the more than 100,000 people who normally attend the show and exhibitors.

“The show has been running in Christchurch since 1863 and while this is frustrating, we promise to be back stronger and better than ever next year.

“We still plan to continue with the stock judging and competition events this year, as we did during the ‘No Show’ Covid years of 2020 and 2021,” says Murray.

Mitchell says the board has signalled its wish for the review of the governance model in the Constitution, started in 2023 to continue to completion. It is also close to concluding a commercial transaction with the Christchurch City Council. The transaction will see land the A&P Association hold a 100-year lease on, be transferred to the council for public use.

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