New Zealand's Foreign Minister has warned that next year's Rugby World Cup could be the last the country will be able to afford.
The running costs for the tournament are spiralling for the island nation, and Murray McCully told the Associated Press that the cost prohibitive nature of staging the event mean that the land of the long white cloud is unlikely to bid for the tournament alone again.
"I think New Zealand is approaching this event on the basis that this may be the last time our small country of four million people can afford to host a rugby World Cup, so we're giving it everything we can," he told The Associated Press after a reception to promote the tournament Friday.
In addition to paying a fee for hosting rights, McCully, who is also the World Cup minister, said the government is spending hundreds of millions on building and upgrading stadia. He predicted the tournament will run a loss of just under US$28.2 million.
The government is hoping to make up for the losses next year through an increase in tourism and McCully is also hoping to manage expectations of a home win with the All Blacks searching for their first triumph since 1987.
"We try to be very careful not to see the hosting of the event as just a chance to get hometown advantage so the All Blacks can win," McCully said.
"We're going to have a huge party in New Zealand. We want everyone to go away feeling that they've been thoroughly entertained, that they've had a great time, that they've made some useful connections ... and yeah, it would be the icing on the cake if the All Blacks won."