NZ Agricultural Show Cancelled

The 158th New Zealand Agricultural Show has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to COVID-19.

Some smaller events and competitions will go ahead, but no public will be able to attend. Some online activities will also be available to keep people engaged with The Show.

Details of online events, from November 10 to November 12, will be finalised soon and available at online.theshow.co.nz.

Stewart Mitchell, Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association's (CAPA) board chairwoman, said they were extremely disappointed but had no option, as no one knows when the South Island would shift to level 1. She said they considered every possible option, but it was not viable with 35 days to go.

The organisers of The Show and ChristchurchNZ asked the Government if the event could be a trial for a COVID-19 vaccine certificate programme but were unable to get approval within the timeframe.

The Show costs around $1 million to put on each year, and requires a 12-month lead-up, said Mitchell, and most of the cost is committed to at the start of October.

In August, Christchurch City Council agreed to provide CAPA with a loan of up to $1 million if The Show was cancelled because of the pandemic. Mitchell said the board was grateful to the council and would need to draw a portion of it to meet the financial costs it had incurred this year.

ChristchurchNZ chief executive Joanna Norris said the cancellation of The Show would impact both the urban and rural economies as the city would miss out on the spending of the average 100,000 attendees. The rural businesses who trade at The Show would also lose a major retail opportunity, she added.

In the coming weeks, several other event organisers will be considering the feasibility of their events.

Norris said they fully supported the Government's approach to COVID-19, but businesses needed a clear outline of alert levels for the future of the South Island.

Protecting New Zealander's was the priority, but sustaining a community and economy was also important, she continued. It has been over 300 days since the South Island had a COVID-19 community case, and Alert Level 2 continues to damage businesses and the community.