Team NZ chief's $2-million salary

By Dana Johannsen, Phil Taylor

Exclusive: As yachties cry poor, details emerge of pay, and upset over Dalton’s on-board role at Cup

In comparison, Sir Russell Coutts is rumoured to have been paid about US$10m to run Larry Ellison's Oracle campaign. Photo / NZ Herald
In comparison, Sir Russell Coutts is rumoured to have been paid about US$10m to run Larry Ellison's Oracle campaign. Photo / NZ Herald

Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton was on about $2 million a year during the last America's Cup campaign.

Dalton was by far the top earner. The next highest received about $750,000, the Herald has learned.

The figures came from one source and were confirmed by another. It is uncertain whether the $750,000 salary was for skipper Dean Barker.

The salaries have emerged a week after Dalton told a press conference that without an immediate multi-million-dollar cash injection from taxpayers, the syndicate would be "gone by the end of the month".

The Government contributed $36 million to Team NZ's last campaign, which ended in an 8-9 loss to Oracle in the closest America's Cup in history.

It put in a further $5 million after the contest last year and has asked the team to raise more from sponsors before it contributes any more.

The team has said it has raised from sponsors $6 million of the $11 million it needs to take it through to February, when the venue for the 35th Cup will be announced and sponsors will be better able to make investment decisions.

Economic Development minister Stephen Joyce told the Herald that most of the money the Government provided after racing ended in San Francisco was for salaries, to enable Team NZ to secure key team members, including crucial designers.

Mr Joyce said he did not know what individuals earned on the previous campaign or now but said design staff was a priority at the moment.

Campbell Live reported last week that it understood Barker was currently the highest-paid sailor, earning similar to a mid-tier All Black — which is about $250,000.

Team NZ chairman Keith Turner said he would not discuss salaries because they were highly commercially sensitive. He acknowledged that public money was involved, but said it was difficult to strike a balance because America's Cup competitions were the most competitive in the world and involved the best teams.

Even releasing salary bands would be giving too much away. "If they had information on salaries, boats, maintenance ... it would hand a huge advantage to rivals, especially to teams starting up," Dr Turner said.

In comparison, Sir Russell Coutts is rumoured to have been paid about US$10 million to run Larry Ellison's Oracle campaign.

In another development, Rob Waddell, an Olympic champion rower who was a grinder on board Team NZ, went above Dalton's head to raise concerns among the crew about the 56-year-old filling one of the physically demanding grinders' roles during racing. The approach was made during the Louis Vuitton Cup for challengers.

Waddell approached Gary Paykel and Jim Farmer, QC, after they arrived in San Francisco during the challenger series. Mr Paykel was the sole remaining director after Dr Farmer resigned to take part in a review of Cup safety following the death of a sailor when the yacht Artemis crashed.

Waddell's approach came after senior members of the crew, including Barker, were rebuffed by Dalton when they tried to raise the issue directly.

"We all were working hard to make the boat go faster and everyday different tactics and approaches were discussed, including crew allocations," Waddell told the Herald.

"I'm not prepared to go into specifics. In the end, we fought hard but were unable to bring the Cup back home."

Mr Paykel then raised with Dalton the concerns relayed by Waddell. The Herald has been told Dalton reacted angrily and refused to discuss it. Dalton was one of the grinders on board in nine of the first 10 races of the Cup series.

The issue is understood to have soured relations between Dalton and Mr Paykel a long-time supporter of his and Dr Farmer. Neither is on a new five-member board appointed in April after the Government said it wanted to see a "proper" governance structure over the top of the team.

Waddell is chef de mission of the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team going to Glasgow. He is not at present a member of Team NZ.

Mr Joyce said it was not for the Government to comment on the team's internal issues but it had told it that appointing a stronger board was a condition of receiving any more taxpayers' money.


Read more: Team NZ in troubled waters

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 31 Aug 2014 17:13:29 Processing Time: 836ms