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.

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