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The Government should say no to more money for Team NZ

The Herald reports:

Team New Zealand’s plea for poverty is wearing thin with the Government.

With their bridging finance fast running out Grant Dalton yesterday reiterated the team’s dire financial position, warning without an immediate cash injection from the Government the syndicate would be “gone by the end of the month”.

“If we go, there ain’t no coming back. The start-up price of a team from scratch is so astronomical that it will never happen in this country.”

Sadly, I say if the team folds, then the team folds.

I recall the glory days of the America’s Cup. The excitement when Australia won it. The excitement when NZ challenged and lost, and lost again. And then that magical day when we won it and the country celebrated more than when the All Blacks win. And the successful defence also.

There can be both an economic and social benefit in having the Government assist syndicates to compete in major sporting contests. I’m not someone who says support in the past has been wrong.

But the glory days of the Cup are behind us. It doesn’t excite, inspire and unite as it once did. And most of all the latest rules from Oracle have screwed the scrum – it isn’t a fair contest.

Taxpayers have already put in $5 million. That is more than enough. If the syndicate can’t survive without more cash from taxpayers, then so be it. It would be sad, but the worry is that the more we put in, the the more we would feel obliged to keep putting in – throwing good money after bad.

But Team NZ’s rather precarious position has been met with a shrug from the Minister of Economic Development, Steven Joyce. While sympathetic to the team’s plight, Joyce believes if sponsors aren’t yet willing to take the risk, then neither should the taxpayer.


He indicated the Government would consider giving a further $2 million.

“My view is if the sponsors are going to join in then at least put some money on the table now so we all know there are committed commercial sponsors for an America’s Cup challenge,” he said.

“Taxpayers have already put $5 million on the table, we’re prepared to give more but this cannot be a government-funded challenge. This must be a private sector-funded challenge.”

Why not a loan, if it is bridging finance?

I suspect the new rules by Oracle will make it hard to get private sponsors. If so, then we won’t be there but we can cheer on Australia. If Australia win, then we can look to challenge them the time after in a fair ccontest.

What do you think? Should the government put another $2 million into Team NZ? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.

Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.

Comments and questions

Close the wallet Mr Joyce

Agree. Can't win against cheats with bottom-less wallets. The only race worth having is where all teams are provided with exactly identical boats. Now that would be a sport to watch and more countries would get involved.

Just say NO!

And what is truly comical, during the last cup, the majority of Americans had no clue it was even on or even what it was.

You miss the point CP.
Almost the ENTIRE population of NZ knows what is is, and watched the Match.
The AC is the most popular contest for New Zealanders. Bigger than ABs
Why let it slip?
Don't give in to the wowsers in this country, get back up on those foils, and bring the bloody Cup home

Survey doesn't back you up. 75% of respondees don't want it. If you and the rest of the 25% want it - then you pay for it.

Check out TV viewership figures . Highest ever ratio % of population of NZ watched the opening weekend's (Sat & Sun) AC34 races last Sept easily beating next best viewing event. Forget some recent 400 pax survey you quote, there is a profound , latent interest by Kiwis for the America' Cup.

1 million watched the cup race on one Sunday, 2 million watched the Rugby World Cup final. 1.7 million watched the opening game between NZ and France.

Good numbers for the America's Cup but not the higest ratio for a sporting event.

'...bring the .... cup home'. The America's Cup is not ours to claim. Besides, if we can't afford to provide proper health care and free education to those living within, then we certainly should not be squandering our precious resources on such an extravagance!

Couldn't agree more, the Richman's boat racing has done it's run for most kiwi's, when we have a health system screaming out for funding, NZ Superannuation under paying the previous hard working citizens, where they can't even turn on a heater in the Winter, no where enough Police to contain violence and crime, we certainly have problems in seeing many millions simply flushed down the "Dunny" for a few guys to play games, just let our Sailors so to call them, go off shore to ply their trades for others, just like Golfers/Tennis Player's/Basketballers/Car Drivers/Cricketer's/Athletes/Equestrian Riders... do I need to name more.
Plus to rub salt into our wounds, we have watched some of these Sailors make so much money out of us Taxpayers funding it just doesn't stack up somehow.
Remember people only 3 people own!!! Team NZ!!!!! AND ALL 3 ARE NOW EXTEREMEL WEALTHY!!!!!!

Agree no more money but your reasons are lame. Health is a bottomless pit, it doesn't mean we should fill it.

No comparison between a single golfer and a team.

Tell that to those needing simple operations and either being denied or put on endless waiting lists.

Message to Mr Dalton and others who choose to be, even in part,beneficiaries of the country's taxpayers - Bye bye

By golly it was mind-boggingly-compelling to watch those huge cats manoevoring in SF, but this new 'gun-to-the-head' tactic of Dalton is too much - given their lack of success.

The AC was never a country vs country challenge [Fay tried to make it that way] it has always been rich man vs rich man.

Taxpayers need to bow out here - different if we were winning, but we're not - and Coutts is right. Dalton has never won; he's always been 2nd.

Past his use-by date I am afraid, & he should have known that.

If there was a new lineup running the joint I might think otherwise.

"If Australia win we can look to challenge them the time after in a fair challenge".

Fair challenge?


Good to see your sense of humour is still intact David.

Grant Dalton should never have been reappointed to the team following his behaviour during the last challenge and his absence when the going got tough. Why did the media not expose him? It's all over - at least for now.

The Auckland waterfront would still be a collection of derelict eyesore buildings but for the America's Cup.

The tax take from business activities generated from the Cup is easily equal if not more than the government's contribution.

The public's involvement and enthusiasm with the last Cup race showed New Zealanders will always get behind a winning team - lifting the morale and spirits of the country as a whole.

The taxpayers' contribution to the America's Cup is well spent.

If you want to see wasteful and useless spending - try Maori TV. I still cannot get why the other channels still have Maori programs when there is a dedicated channel. Clear evidence it is a waste of money with no taxpayers' benefit.

Well you try applying for a knee replacement, after wearing it out producing those Tax Payer dollars!! only to be told sorry we don't have the funds for that right now, so away I go to absorb another 18 months of excruciating pain at times, before I get reassessed again, but I have to sit here with a leg that I can hardly walk on, and watch Sailors get massive amounts of money to play on their boats.
If you take all of those millions that have disappeared into a few boat races and translate that into repairs for the Tax payers the result would be astonishing!!
Mr Justice for all, can your Granny afford to turn on her heater when it gets really cold?? there are many thousands of elderly that cannot, due to their NZ Super payments not stretching that far!! it is an astonishing world that we live in.

Money going to the America's Cup is but a drop in the government spending. Compare that with the $120m for Maori TV or $10m for the wasteful referendum on asset sales.

Fact is that you cannot get a knee replacement because the health system is bloated with inefficiencies and previous governments have mis allocated spending - try interest free student loans and the billion dollar bailout of South Canterbury Finance.

Focus your attention on the right areas.

Good points. And, with the races during the morning rush hour in Auckland, congestion reportedly melted away - saving probably $11 million in lost productivity for vehicles on Auckland's motorway system across the 11 working day races last September.

And the council is pursuing Chinese 'investors' to sell it to.

Definitely no more taxpayer money should be put into an America's Cup bid by New Zealand.
The event is and always has been a rich man's sport that benefits a very small segment of our economy.
If we face facts and remove all the jingoism our team chocked in the last effort;where the opposition used the free day to rethink and improve their strategy our team sat on their hands and did nothing!
We have many more far more worthy options on which to spend our meager resources.
paleo martin

Seriously, TNZ have had more than a fair suck of the sav when it comes to taxpayer funding.
San Francisco wised-up: that the cost to city far outweighed the financial benefits; it just wasn't worth it to them.
With regard to the last regatta, the NZ supporters' contingent together with the folk at the San Francisco Yacht Club made up the spectators; the rest of the crowd were your normal visitors on the pier. Remember, the American TV network had to be paid to televise the event, live. As a global sporting spectacle, the AC doesn't just fly beneath the radar, it doesn't even register the faintest of blips

No idea what's inspired this anti campaign, but Team NZ is the equal best in the world at this game, and the benefits to NZ trade and tourism were huge. Stay the course - this is chump change in the scheme of things.

Lance, show me the money.

And a study from a NZ economic consultancy does not count as "the money" - these studies are all biased, using inappropriate methods and unfair assumptions. All this to produce a report that pleases those who pay for it - in this case the ones who want to claim that there were benefits to trade and tourism.

100% agree who would trust that report. Bit like the report that said ForBarr Stadium would pay for itself.

The other question what could the money have been spent on to help trade and tourism. Was this the best value for money.

From memory a $3 return for every $1 does not sound that good when compared with other development programs I have seen.

Was there a report that said Dunedin's stadium would pay for itself? That's news to me if there was. I thought it was a bunch of enthusiastic councillors, who chose to ignore all advice and the concerns of the majority of ratepayers, who decided it would pay its way.

I understand there was one done for the supporters. Apparently quoted by them and never made public. Could replace ForBarr with Eden Park if you like. Fact is these reports can get any results you like.

Lance, the 'anti campaign' comes from the astounding turnaround & eventual choking in SF, and if you remember, with little explanation.

Spittall's caustic commentary is on the spot.

That you call 'equal best' which is 2nd, says it all.

... and Grant Dalton. This guy performed badly on many fronts and his reappointment had tarnished the brand badly. Him fronting is a big turnoff for many.

Agree call it equal best shows a lack of reality. What happens when the All Blacks are second best. They change things. Not Team NZ. It is a closed club with no accountability.

Dalton said you could not expect sponsors to put money up without knowing the venue but wants the government to. Does that mean he does not consider the government a sponsor but a bucket of cash to use. The Government is a sponsor and should be treated as one.

What inspired the anti-campaign was Larry Ellison's camp refusing to say where the next Cup will be, and outlining rules that skew the competition in Oracle's favour to a laughable degree (2 boats to the challengers' 1 etc etc)

What a lot of miserable comments and envious at that - a rich mans game indeed
It is a sport that NX make a lot of money from against which the government funding pales into obscurity
If you need a knee replacement get private insurance and have it done immediately - no return for the taxpayer from that !

I've never ever been able to afford private health insurance, it is just beyond the income band of a tradesman!! I always put any spare funds into retirement savings as it was drilled into me many years ago that to own and continue living in your own home in retirement, you would need $15 to 20,000 p/a over and above NZ Super per year?? am about to find out, but that aside if we continue to pour money into Sail Boat Racing, well all other Sporting Codes are going to feel really aggrieved are they not???!!!
Answer me this, why is NZ the only country in the whole World, that funds a team of boat racing people, all other participants in this America's Cup are supported and funded by very wealthy individuals, why is it that countries like China/Russia/Australia.UK/India/USA/Canada etc etc etc won't have a bar of it!!! but a vast majority of Kiwi citizens have to go without, because a few people want too race a boat!!! 80% of NZ families depend on Government handouts to run their family households, they cannot manage to hold their heads above water without that help!!

NZ has being playing around with this thing now for almost 30 years, and this tax payer is quite frankly, sick to death of it. It's time to move on. The ROI is not good enough to justify further taxpayer support. This is a race for billionaires, not countries. No more taxpayer money for Team NZ!

They should go on Kickstarter and crowd fund. Those that want to give can and those that don't don't have to. My guess is that they would get bugger all. That would show true democracy.

It maybe "chump change in the scheme of things" in Ellison's universe but to the non-believers it's throwing good money after bad.

Lance Wiggs: "Team NZ is the equal best in the world at this game"

Does "equal best" mean surrendering an 8-2 lead by allowing yourself to be crushed by the weight of expectation?

Over the passage of time, look at what the America's Cup has devolved into: a once elegant lady defined by venerable tradition, history and sporting grace, into a tawdry lady of the night with laddered fishnet stockings, stilettos, smudged mascara and smeared rouge. It ain't a pretty sight, becoming a plaything to passed around like a disheveled rag doll.

For those fervent believers baying for more taxpayer dollars to indulge Ellison & Co's conceit, go ahead and pay for the privilege yourselves.

Here is a wee bit more food for thought, America's Cup NZ is a privately owned Company, Peter Blake {RIP!!} sold this Company to Dalton/Barker/Shoebridge many years ago, so they run that company how they see fit, and I guess pay themselves what they like {all 3 are now extremely rich by comparison} BUT!!! this Company is completely different to all other Companies, they get gifted Public money by our Government, on behalf of all of the NZ Citizens to play their chosen Sport, now would it be wise for all Company Directors, and all other Sporting bodies to lobby our Government, for handouts to keep their respective operations afloat and viable, and more importantly!! you don't need to disclose one single thing, about what you do within your Company with all of these handouts!!!
Plus, you can go very public via every media system available, to disclose that without another "WINZ" chit in a couple of weeks, your company is going to fold!!!

Well, what a bunch of anti's we have here. Mr Joyce and other Ministers can throw money at numerous quangos that achieve nothing but employment for University graduates that aren't good enough to find a proper job. I agree with Graeme Edwards, the return on money invested in Team NZ has been huge. The infrastructure and team must be maintained.

The money would be better spent, and the return to the country far far greater, on developing soccer in New Zealand to get us up to a strong internationally competitive level. Football is a truly global sport, unlike yacht racing, and the economic power of it makes the America's Cup look pathetic. Stop backing losers New Zealand.

We can't play soccer very well in NZ , way behind Rugby and League.
But we are an island nation, and naturally are gifted at boating nation

Are we that gifted at boating - or do we just kid ourselves? Have not won the Americas Cup for a long time, Volvo Round the World(?), Olympic Medals - often under deliver at that level also.

I think the reference to football is more because that is a global sport, and if as people claim the funding is from the economic development budget not sport then we need to look to the biggest economic impact. I would say getting in front of 1 billion fans - even if we do not win, has more impact than finishing 2nd in front of 10,000 fans.

Team NZ is only about employment for yachtsmen that probably now would struggle to find a job. Whats the difference.

I disagree, if team NZ is lost then what's the bet every member of the present Team NZ will be in a higher paid job in the next Americas Cup regatta teams.

NZ then will be able to correctly observe, "Yes, we really are a bunch of losers".

Why would we be a bunch of losers? What is your role with team NZ to make you a loser if the government does not put more money in?

Team NZ needs to find commercial backers. The taxpayer at best should be a small part and only when others stump up.

If the members want Govt money then they should get a job with the defence dept,Ministry of AG or some other dept.

And SO should these bludging sailboat sailors!!!! how's your memory?? they have already motored through 5 million $1 Winz Chits, I betcha NZ Cricket would love 5 million of those!! will the directors of Team NZ disclose where every single dollar of that 5 Million went?? that is an astonishing amount of money for so few people, they must be on huge incomes, at my guess more than what the Prime Minister earns??!!
As for the Viaduct infrastructure in Auckland due to the Americas Cup, it is all about to be bulldozed flat for a major new development, in fact I wouldn't mind betting that a fair bit of this applied/blackmailed for WINZ Chit, is earmarked for a brand new base and relocation.

A question to those business guys who advocate the government continuing to subsidise Team NZ. if you owned all of New Zealand and ran it to achieve the highest "returns", broadly measured, would you invest into Team NZ? Or are there other investments that would make more financial sense?

In your businesses, the return on your investments is hugely important. I am quite sure that for your businesses to be successful, you would have measured the additional margin or profits made on every investment you made. You may have paid attention to some of the "softer" benefits of an investment in some cases - the possibility of additional customers, opening up a new market segment, introducing a new product, etc. But in the long run, if your investments did not return a margin or profit, your business would have become toast.

Isn't the same principle supposed to be true for countries and government investments? I believe the economists call country margins "consumer surplus" and "producer surplus" - these are the rough equivalent to margin.

Show me the surplus from what is now a fairly long-term of investments by the government into Team NZ. Is the government still relying on "soft" returns - "NZ gets a lot of good publicity worth $3 million"?

I find it most curious that successful businessmen who have commented on this article appear to abandon their hard-headed business principles when it comes to government investments, such as those for Team NZ.

The tax payers money is better spent on Team New Zealand than in other areas the govt spends it. Team NZ is one of the strongest marketing tools NZ inc has out in the world market and the investment easily pays for itself. I agree with other comments that the viaduct would not have been upgraded had the Americas cup not come to Auckland.
stop wasting money supporting social projects and welfare to South Pacific islands and pointless immigration and spend it where the return warrants it.
Go Team New Zealand and bring the cup home.

The viaduct arguement is irrelevant. Yes a fantastic outcome. But investing today should focus on the future and what will be delivered.

While the claim of $87m return on the $35m spent sounds good are there better returns from other activities. I would say there are.

E.g. the $30m funding NZVIF has apparently helped companies that have generated $1.5 billion in sales including $1.2 billion in exports.

I would point out in my view NZVIF has under delivered but the multiple of 50 times is better than 2.5

No, no, no.

What happened to the Right's User Pays' philosophy?

Somehow it doesn't count when it comes to the wealthy wanting special welfare for corporate events?

Any benefits are not nationwide but go to very narrow targets.

However we all know that John Key and Steven Joyce (we should keep remembering that nobody even voted this dominating Minister into Parliament - he was a list MPs handpicked by John Key's inner circle) are going to throw our hard-earned money at it.

If John Key is so keen on it, let him put his hand into his own very wealthy pocket.

Sailing is so old school....yawn...John Key might as well spend the money on LoTR and get real visitors to NZ

All this chitter chatter about a few million dollars for TNZ is pathetic, small minded trolling speak from entitlists
Once National roars back for a third term, watch the $$$$$ flow for TNZ, and quite rightly so.
My pick is AC35 will be at the windy city, Chicago , on lake Michigan 2017
Can't wait!

No reason to expect the Aussies to be any more reasonable than the yanks. Or indeed the NZers, who, if your memory serves, took it all the way to the Supreme Court of America for a giant ice cream container now resident, sad and mastless, outside Auckland's Voyager Maritime Museum.

Love the AC. Nothing else on earth like it. A sporting trophy, and a document prescribing the requirements to obtain it. No governing body.

Take away the NZ designers, NZ sailors, NZ builders and NZ technicians, all that's left is American dollars. And a few NZD.