Schools terms moved to suit rugby
By MARTIN KAY - The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 25 July 2007

School holidays will be moved to make room for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final - but children hoping for a few extra days off are out of luck.

Instead, the first and second terms will be made longer and the fourth term shorter to avoid any changes to the number of days at school.

The Government confirmed the move yesterday as it revealed the final will be held at Labour weekend, on October 22 or 23.

Rugby World Cup Minister Trevor Mallard said the actual day would depend on the International Rugby Board, which would also decide the semifinal venues.

The Government had arranged the primary and secondary school holidays around the final to ease congestion in Auckland - which is expected to face an influx of 50,000 foreign fans - and to free up buses, he said.

"It's really important that we don't gridlock Auckland during the final fortnight of the World Cup. Having schools in - having school buses not available - would lead to gridlock, and this makes a big difference."

Mr Mallard said holding the final at Labour weekend would enhance the festival atmosphere, especially if the All Blacks end a 20-year World Cup drought in France late this year.

"I'm sure it's going to be one of the best weekends New Zealand's had - especially if we could win and be defending it, there'd be a hell of a party."

It was unlikely lengthening the first and second school terms would be much of a problem for parents as they were already shorter than when there were just three, he said.

The Government is yet to consider changes to daylight savings - which from this year will begin on the last Sunday in September under permanent extensions - to avoid clocks going forward midway through the tournament.

The move - signalled in April - would mainly benefit northern hemisphere television audiences.

The Government has already passed laws banning streakers, pitch invasions and "ambush marketing" - where rivals to official sponsors seek to sell products or get exposure - during the tournament.

The school terms announcement came as Prime Minister Helen Clark opened the offices of Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd, a joint venture between the Government and the Rugby Union to prepare for the cup.

The company, based in central Wellington, has received $20 million from the Government and $10 million from the rugby union.

From here .