Is $36 million America's Cup funding for Team NZ taxpayer money well spent?
Team New Zealand will get $36 million from the Government to contest the 2013 America's Cup, the Government has confirmed.
Acting Economic Development Minister David Carter said the Government was contractually obliged to give the money to Team New Zealand to fight for the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco.
Team New Zealand today formally announced it would mount a challenge, and the Government confirmed it would honour its commitment to the $36m funding.
The decision was expected because the syndicate had paid the entry fee and were also preparing to compete in build-up events beginning this year.
However, managing director Grant Dalton had previously held off from confirming that Team NZ would definitely be at the startline off San Francisco, saying he wanted to ensure they could produce a competitive campaign.
He believed that point had now been reached.
"We believe that we can mount a credible challenge which will have a very good chance of winning the America's Cup," he said.
"That's our mission and that is the expectation of our sponsors, partners, suppliers and the people of New Zealand. It is an expectation that every member of this team is determined to fulfil."
Carter said "the eyes of the world" would be on San Francisco for the elite yacht race.
"We will use the America's Cup to our full advantage by showcasing New Zealand's technology, products and services, and encouraging tourism," Carter said.
"The funding has the potential to generate significant economic benefits for New Zealand, in particular for our world-class marine industry."
Emirates Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton said the funding would help return the America's Cup to New Zealand.
"The Government's contribution allows us to be competitive on the world stage," Dalton said.
"We are very much the arrowhead of a major New Zealand export industry and we take pride in showcasing the New Zealand brand, skills and expertise across the major yachting regattas of the world."
Carter said the Government expected "maximum benefit" from the "significant investment" of taxpayer money in the event.
An economic impact assessment of the 2007 campaign in Valencia had shown a direct economic benefit to New Zealand of $74.4m. The latest funding also retained up to 100 highly skilled specialists in New Zealand, including yachtsmen, designers and engineers.
"New Zealand is renowned for its skills in building high-quality, innovative marine equipment. Every time we compete internationally, we are showcasing the expertise of our marine industry," Carter said.
The Government has also thrown its financial support behind the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in September at Auckland's Eden Park. Tax-payers will partially cover the $40m in losses expected out of the Cup. The Government has also paid out millions in stadium upgrades and other facilities for the tournament, including a $2m plastic waka on Auckland's waterfront.
- Stuff, NZPA