Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Kiwis happy to support an America's Cup defence

New Zealanders will support their taxpayer dollars going towards any America's Cup defence - but Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says such talk is premature.

A Herald-DigiPoll survey shows Kiwis want the government to contribute should Team New Zealand get over the line for one more victory.

Thirty-six per cent of respondents said the government should give a similar amount to that contributed to the current challenge - about $40 million.

More supportive were the 22.8 per cent who believe even more money should be stumped up for a New Zealand-hosted event.

However, just over 9 per cent believed only Auckland ratepayers should help fund the Cup, and 26.5 per cent wanted no taxpayer or ratepayer money to be given.

Mr Joyce is in San Francisco, but with momentum firmly behind Oracle Team USA he was unwilling to confirm what the Government's plans were for a defence - or challenge.

"That's an interesting range of answers, but the reality is we haven't won it yet and Team New Zealand is in a very tight contest for the America's Cup.

"It's great that New Zealanders have got behind the team and I know the team hugely appreciates the support. Let's address those sorts of questions if we need to later and in the meantime just back Dean Barker and the team as they work to win that one last race."

Prime Minister John Key has previously hinted that the Government would be open to funding a defence, and indicated that it would likely cost more than the $36 million it cost the Labour Government in 2008.

An online poll on nzherald.co.nz last week had 3.74 per cent of respondents saying that Oracle could take the Cup, but another poll conducted yesterday has 33 per cent saying Oracle will win.

(Team New Zealand are still favourites with readers, with 40 per cent still saying Team New Zealand will win.)

- NZ Herald

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