It was right that the announcement of NZ’s bid to host the 2034 Commonwealth Games was tentative and light on details. That suggests they anticipated critique of the idea as a waste of time and money – and they got it.
Given the potential for controversy, a low-profile announcement was a good approach:
- It gives time to test the proposal in principle rather than a finalised form. It’s much easier to gradually develop the concept and build public comfort piece by piece.
- It stress-tests the conviction of organisers and their ability to handle criticism.
If the New Zealand Olympic Committee has doubts about winning public support for New Zealand to host a good event, testing-the-waters is by far the best approach. If criticism becomes intolerable, they have room to figure out if they’re up to meeting the challenge or to modify the idea. If they decide to bail on the bid, embarrassment and reputational harm is minimised.
The NZOC will eventually need to confirm its plans. At that point, their caution will need reasons to change to confidence. We’d recommend holding off such an announcement until they have led or triggered more discussion in public. People will be more familiar with main components of a bid, and the pros and cons will have been well aired. The public will be ready to hear the bids details and costs, the unique proposition, and the upside for New Zealand.