Team NZ cash most likely under National

By Derek Cheng

A multimillion-dollar taxpayer-funded cash injection for Team New Zealand's next bid to win the Auld Mug is most likely under a National-led Government, but far from certain if the Labour Party takes power after the election.

Of the party leaders put under the spotlight during the Herald's Fast Fire questions, only John Key, Peter Dunne and Te Ururoa Flavell offered support. Mr Flavell's support was conditional on tangible benefits to Maoridom.

Labour leader David Cunliffe said: "I think the public is beginning to tire, but we've got an open mind."

Mana leader Hone Harawira said it was "pointless".

"We've spent $100 million already to lose two yacht races. While we've been doing that, we've had more than a quarter of a million children in this country living in poverty, every single year for the last 10 years," he said.

Act leader Jamie Whyte said a Government grant amounted to compulsory financial support for a private event.

The Government has signalled it would likely provide more money to Team NZ if re-elected.

It contributed $36 million to Team NZ's last campaign. An independent evaluation released in March showed a positive impact of $87 million on the New Zealand economy.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said a re-elected National Government would make a decision on funding based on the "economic benefit it would bring to New Zealand, and in particular to our exporters".

Political party leaders also faced Fast Fire questions on inequality.

Growing job opportunities versus direct government assistance are the contrasting approaches from the right and the left to deal with the gap between the rich and the poor.

"Get people into work," said the National Party leader, Prime Minister John Key.

Conservative leader Colin Craig said the issue was about upskilling people through education, rather than welfare.

Labour and the Greens want higher taxes on high incomes to help fund social policies.

- NZ Herald

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