Government wants greater control over Team NZ

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 08:58 13/02/2014
Grant Dalton
Getty Images
TOUGH LUCK: Grant Dalton consoles Dean Barker after Team New Zealand lost out the Oracle in the America's Cup.

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The Government wants greater control over the running of Team New Zealand in the wake of revelations Grant Dalton was solely responsible for a decision to allow Oracle a lay day during yachting's America's Cup.

The decision was branded a mistake by skipper Dean Barker, who said in an interview with Paul Henry, he had no knowledge of it until after the decision was made. 

It has widely been tipped as the turning point at which Team New Zealand lost its momentum and US syndicate Oracle staged a massive comeback to win the cup from a seven-race deficit. 

Economic Development Minister Stephen Joyce said the previous government set up the current structure, but it was clear, it needed to change.

"It was really just a two-for-one sponsorship deal with no oversight at all. Times have changed," he said on Firstline. 

"Over view is if we're going to be involved, we don't want to be running the team - we don't want to be determining who gets paid what - I think that would disappear down a bad route pretty quickly if the Government was running a yacht race.

"So we've made a call, and we've already written to them a couple of months ago, that we want to see at least one if not two people, that the government has supported going on the board and we expect a larger governance board that has control over the team." 

The Government has already given the team $5 million in funding, as a retainer to keep its top talent.

Team New Zealand's website had been cleared of any information, but at the time of the America's Cup last year, the team had just two trustees and Dalton was managing director. 

In his Tuesday night interview, Barker revealed that Dalton's place on the boat during the agonising loss to Oracle had been heavily debated.

He was placed on the boat for most of the races over Winston Macfarlane, who Barker conceded was fitter, stronger, and outperforming Dalton on the winches. 

Internal testing onboard had revealed Macfarlane was consistently out-muscling 51-year-old Dalton. 

Speaking to Fairfax Media from the United States, Dalton said he remained tight with Barker and was still plotting a way for the syndicate to contest the next America's Cup.

"Dean and I are very close, we talk openly and honestly with each other," Dalton said.

"I am sure some parts of the media would like to report some kind of split, I can assure you there is no split."

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- Fairfax Media

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