July 24 - Auckland officials have begun undertaking preliminary work on a bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, before a NZ$325,000 (£125,367) feasibility study, co-funded by central and local Government, begins next month.



Events Knowledge Service, a consultant to the Commonwealth Games Federation, will use the information gathered to determine whether Auckland is capable of hosting the event, with a report due in September.



Auckland Mayor John Banks says he knows the benefits an event like the Commonwealth Games can bring, because he was Sports Minister in 1990 when the Games were last held in Auckland.


He said: "The international bonanza that year showcased the very best of Auckland and New Zealand with huge economic benefits.


"The 2018 Games will be almost three times as big and will get three times as many economic benefits."


Banks claimed a redeveloped Eden Park could play a huge part, "potentially forming the centre of much of the Games".


Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey, who was involved in putting together the bid for the 1990 Games, said the region is in a much better position to host the event now compared with two decades ago.


He said: "We were very ill-equipped to host the Games in 1990.


"We had to build all the infrastructure.


"Now it’s a different world and a different city.


"Auckland must host these Games again."


The 2014 Games will be held in Glasgow, with an announcement on the location of the 2018 games due in late 2011.


Auckland will decide whether to launch an official bid for the Games next January.


Other prospective bidders are expected to include Abuja in Nigeria, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, Australia’s Gold Coast and Nairobi in Kenya.