Clearly, the Government feels pressured to rush into funding another America's Cup bid. Yesterday's official welcome at Queens Wharf re-emphasised the widespread admiration for Team NZ, while the team themselves have wasted no time applying pressure for a quick decision. Skipper Dean Barker has led the charge, speaking of a very small window of opportunity before circling vultures poach some of his crewmen.
Their warning is not totally persuasive. The interest generated by Team NZ's thrilling challenge means there will surely be more entrants in the 35th America's Cup. But it is difficult to see this leading to wholesale departures from the team. And even if this were so, the damage would not be irreparable. This country has young sailors ready, willing and possibly able to take their place if a future challenge is sponsored.
Therefore, while the Economic Development Minister, Steven Joyce, indicated yesterday that funding will be forthcoming, the Cabinet can afford to wait for the waters to settle before deciding how much greater this will be than the previous Government's $36 million.
It needs to know more of the details of the next America's Cup. These will have a considerable bearing on the potential return for the country in exposure and exports. Mr Joyce says the Government stands ready to be part of the next challenge. Still, however, it should not feel pressured into coming up with funding as a matter of urgency.