Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has confirmed Team NZ is likely to get less government funding this time round than the $36 million for the 2013 America's Cup.
Mr Joyce said he was unable to confirm any funding details until the America's Cup Authority formally announces whether New Zealand had secured the qualifiers' series in the leadup to the Cup in June 2017. There are unconfirmed reports Auckland will be the host for that series, which Mr Joyce has done little to quash. The Herald reported yesterday that the Government had agreed to contribute the funding but it would be "significantly less" than last time. Mr Joyce said the figure would be finalised once the announcement was made. "I suspect it will be less than that [$36 million]."
He said there would be different views on the merits of it. "But certainly holding a significant part of the regatta, less than half, but still significant, in Auckland with Oracle racing, I think would be very positive from New Zealand's perspective."
Labour's sport spokesman Trevor Mallard confirmed he was briefed on the outcome of the qualifiers' series decisions, but not by the Government and hinted it was international sources. He said he did not intend to break the confidentiality he was bound by.
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Mr Mallard was Sport Minister under the former Labour Government which had committed to the $36 million funding and said he believed it was worth re-investing in the team whether or not it had secured a series. He said the Government had earned more in income tax and GST than it contributed in direct funding last time. "It would be logical for them to put money in on the cost benefit and tax analysis they've done. I think it adds up."
Mr Mallard's leader was slightly less convinced and Mr Mallard said he had not passed on the information he knew to Andrew Little because "I don't break confidences".
Mr Little said the America's Cup was perceived as a "rich man's game" but Labour could support funding if it was justified by benefits to local businesses such as boat builders, sail makers and component part makers.
"Obviously it's a sport that looks like a rich man's game - the big flash yachts, well paid crew. But if there's positive benefits, particularly if that exceeds any contribution the Government is making, I think it's worth looking at."
He said New Zealand was a world leader in boat building and hosting a series allowed a chance to showcase that technology but said he wanted to see a business case before agreeing to it.
America's Cup location
• Wynyard Quarter and Halsey St preferred sites.
• No space at Viaduct Harbour for racing syndicates.
• Queens Wharf could be an entertainment and spectator zone.