Public's America's Cup enthusiasm sails away

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 13:04 18/10/2013

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America's Cup fever, which gripped the nation, has waned and so has New Zealanders' support for a government-funded challenge in 2017, a new poll suggests.

New research from UMR shows fewer than half of New Zealanders supported a government-funded challenge, though 56 per cent approved of the $36 million given to Team New Zealand's most recent failed challenge.

Of a poll of 1000 New Zealanders, only 41 per cent said they would approve of the Government putting up the same amount of money again, with 48 per cent disapproving and 10 per cent unsure.

Notably, among the respondents who were Labour voters, only 42 per cent supported the most recent funding and 39 per cent would support funding a future challenge.

The $36m promised to Team New Zealand's challenge was originally promised by the previous Labour government. National considered withdrawing the funding after it was elected.

But among National voters, 71 per cent approved of the 2013 funding and 51 per cent supported future funding.

UMR research director Gavin White said it had been expected that support for future funding would decline as the excitement of the 2013 event faded from memory.

"If the Government does eventually formally commit to funding a future bid, it could be doing so in the face of majority opposition from the public."

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton and skipper Dean Barker discussed funding options with Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce on Friday last week.

Joyce has already confirmed the Government would be prepared to back the team for another tilt at the cup.

But considerable work would need to be done to secure millions more dollars from private sponsors before a challenge was possible.

The results were from questions included in the UMR Online Omnibus Survey which was conducted from September 24 to October 10.

The survey had a nationally representative sample of 1000 New Zealanders aged 18 years and over.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 per cent.

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