24 Apr 2024

Senior A&P figures hopeful of salvaging this year's NZ Agricultural Show

4:25 pm on 24 April 2024
Christchurch Agriculture Show

The New Zealand Agricultural Show has been held in Christchurch for 160 years. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Some senior figures within the Canterbury A&P Association remain hopeful the New Zealand Agricultural Show will still go ahead this year.

Last week, organisers announced the 2024 event was cancelled as it was not financially viable.

Christchurch City Council unveiled details of a $5 million dollar bailout deal with the association on Wednesday.

However, the deal was already under way when the association announced the cancellation.

RNZ understands there were tensions within the board and some of the association's general committee remained hopeful of salvaging this year's show.

Opinions were divided over whether the association could support and afford a professional board into the future.

The organisation's current structure has been in place since about 1990, but the association's general committee president Bryce Murray last week told RNZ it was no longer affordable.

There had been rumours of board members resigning at July's general meeting, but RNZ understands it was set to come to a head before that.

Christchurch city councillor Sam MacDonald openly floated the possibility of changes to the board while speaking to Morning Report on Wednesday.

In 2015, the Canterbury A&P Association took out a 100-year lease on a five-hectare parcel of council land that formed part of the wider Agricultural Park. That land was now surplus to requirements for the association.

The council also established a one million dollar loan to the association in 2021 after it had to cancel 2020's show due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2021 New Zealand Agricultural Show was also cancelled and the full loan drawn down.

Under the deal, the association would surrender the remaining 91 years of its lease on the council land and receive $1 million in compensation from the council as a result. That would then be used by the association to pay back the $1 million loan to the council.

Additionally, $4 million would be placed into a protected investment trust to ensure the future of the New Zealand Agricultural Show.