Team New Zealand's coffers $6m and counting

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 15/06/2014
Grant Dalton
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
ON A CASH HUNT: Team New Zealand's Grant Dalton needs to find more money to bankroll the syndicate.

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Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton has managed to raise $6million over the last week - but could yet need to find another $3m before the month is out to remain in the America's Cup.

Dalton has also expressed frustration over the handling of Friday's Auckland press conference, saying portrayals he issued government with a funding ultimatum were not what was intended and it has only strained the political environment while the clock ticks.

The board of TNZ reconvenes tomorrow, including director and top entrepreneur Sir Stephen Tindall flying back into the country in the morning, to continue discussions on how the syndicate can finish tackling its potentially terminal financial situation - facing a deadline of just 14 days before their money runs out.

While timing of a $3m entry fee complicates the financials, as it stands TNZ effectively requires $5m to survive to December and an additional $6m to see them through to the end of February 2015.

Dalton has now revealed he has found commercial and private commitments, including from new investors, for $6m of that $11m total - an impressive achievement in the last seven days.

"In a week we have found $6m of funding ourselves, that is absolutely correct," Dalton told the Sunday Star-Times last night.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has also suggested that in the short-term, government is prepared to pump in around another $2m of public money but TNZ must first meet the difference and have the cash ready. However, the relationship between TNZ and both the government and the public has been aggravated.

Joyce reacted to Dalton on Friday, quickly arranging his own press conference in response to reportage on TNZ after it was claimed Dalton had issued government with an ultimatum amounting to: ‘give us more funding, or watch us die'.

Dalton says the TNZ press conference was not even called to discuss government funding, but instead to discuss the newly unveiled, and revised, protocol for the 2017 America's Cup - and crucially, to convey that a Kiwi victory was more realistic than had first been portrayed.

Dalton has also put his own hands up, acknowledging he should have known questioning about government funding would be fielded.

"I'm embarrassed in the extreme that it went in that [funding] direction, frankly we should have anticipated, that but didn't," he said. "The claim of an ultimatum was absolutely not what was intended - it's pretty obvious doing so would only make things harder.

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"The first 40 minutes of the press conference discussed the protocol, it's a shame the majority of what was reported though was on questions which came after that about government funding."

Dalton said he is confident TNZ are in their best-ever commercial position long-term and that short-term problem is not the backing itself, but immediate cash flow. Dalton said a bank loan remains on the table, only it's not certain what assets TNZ has to secure such an agreement against.

- Sunday Star Times

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