Team New Zealand are set to contest the next America’s Cup and look likely to do so without raiding the taxpayers’ coffers - at least for now.
Team NZ chairman Dr Keith Turner today said the team had reached a point where it had the confidence to mount a challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.
He said the team had secured sufficient private and sponsorship funding to go to the next stage without needing Government funding to tide them over until bigger money deals set in next year.
‘‘Now, with the assistance of long-time supporters Sir Stephen Tindall, Matteo de Nora and other private donors and sponsors, we are delighted to be able to say that we are funded through to late this year,’’ Turner said.
Team NZ boss Grant Dalton said the funding had been secured as a result of hard work which started at the end of the last America’s Cup, which was lost to Oracle.
‘‘The team has been working towards this moment almost since the day of the last race in San Francisco,’’ Dalton said.
‘‘The funding support for the team that has coalesced over the past week means we can continue the design and engineering development, and keep racing, until main sponsorship funds begin to flow.
‘‘To avoid falling behind the opposition, our design and engineering team has been working on the software tools they will need for the challenge.’’
Dalton went on to say he had full confidence in the team and was sure they could produce the goods to mount a serious challenge.
‘‘The Protocol and the design rule has been published so we know what we are working with and we are confident we can mount a challenge that has the potential to win,’’ he said.
‘‘Amendments to the Protocol have removed some of the more contentious issues. If this Protocol follows the pattern of previous Cup cycles, more amendments will follow. The so called 2 boat rule for the defender is not the problem suggested by recent media reports.’’
‘‘We now await the announcement of venue for the challengers’ preliminary series and then the venue for the challengers’ semi-finals, finals and the America’s Cup match, so that we can put the finishing touches to the team’s business plan and present it to our backers for approval.’’
Meanwhile, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce welcomed the announcement: "It’s positive news they will be challenging for the Auld Mug again and I also welcome their announcement they have secured private funding until the end of the year."
Joyce said he recently advised the board of Team NZ that the Government wanted the team to secure private funding rather than rely on a taxpayer "at this time".
Team NZ would submit a revised sponsorship proposal which the Government would consider "in due course" before making any decisions.
"We will have to see how sponsorship of the challenge would benefit New Zealand’s visibility on the world stage – especially for our exporters. That’s very important to the Government."
The Government last year invested $5 million in interim funding in Team NZ to cover a seven-month period while the team decided whether it would challenge again.
It also contributed $36m to the last campaign.
An independent evaluation released in March this year showed a positive impact of $87 million to the New Zealand economy.
Entries for the America’s Cup close on August 8.
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