America's Cup interest fading - PM

Emirates Team New Zealand in action during last year's America's Cup. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Emirates Team New Zealand in action during last year's America's Cup. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Prime Minister John Key thinks public interest in the America's Cup is fading.

"My sense actually is the public is waning on the idea a bit," he told Newstalk ZB this morning.

"I think there's a few people saying 'we don't like the fact that this is a sport where the winner sets the rules'."

He reiterated to Newstalk ZB that the government won't fund the next bid for the America's Cup.

"This can't be a government-led thing," he said.

Mr Key said Team NZ needs to find private sector sponsors and donors to fund the campaign.

He said there were "benefits" for the country in the campaign going ahead.

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The Prime Minister's comments come four days after Team NZ boss Grant Dalton told media the team would be "gone by the end of the month" without an immediate financial backer.

Dalton said sponsorship money won't kick in until the venue for the 35th America's Cup was revealed in February.

He said the protocol set out by Oracle Team USA wasn't as unbalanced as many had thought.

"It isn't that bad. These guys aren't doing us any favours, let's be realistic about that - it is the America's Cup.

"But it isn't that bad," he said on Friday.

He said the team was in a good position to contend for the Cup."We're operational, we're sound, we've got a lot of sponsor interest.

"But we have a serious cash flow issue and we have a New Zealand public that is critically important to us.

"If we go, there ain't no coming back. The start-up price of a team from scratch is so astronomical that it will never happen in this country."

- APNZ

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