Prime Minister Bill English is making encouraging noises about future Government funding for Team NZ, saying this campaign has restored New Zealanders' interest in it.

English said the Cup campaign turned out to be "an outstanding display of leadership, teamwork and technological mastery."

"Kiwis' interest in it has fluctuated a bit. I think this competition has restored the sense it is about a couple of teams who aren't dominated by the lawyers and financiers, but actually real sport. And that's what I think has got New Zealanders back to watching it."

However, he was not hurrying to get out the chequebook in anticipation of hosting the event, or to give Team NZ an assurance it would help stop key team members being poached by rival syndicates after the regatta.

Advertisement

"Like anyone else, we don't want to jinx it by getting ahead of ourselves. I think the first discussion would be about how to celebrate it."

Asked if he was open to putting taxpayer funding in to host the event in New Zealand or Team NZ's campaign, English said it would be discussed later.

"If we win, I imagine there will be some sort of discussion but I have no idea what that discussion will be."

There are already reports of likely attempts to poach Team NZ crew - from the sailors to designers.

Emirates Team New Zealand, left, competes along side Oracle Team USA in Bermuda. Photo / Supplied
Emirates Team New Zealand, left, competes along side Oracle Team USA in Bermuda. Photo / Supplied

After the 2013 Cup, the Government put in $5 million to keep Team NZ together until it decided whether to mount another challenge. No further taxpayer funding was put in - and no Government ministers went to Bermuda for the races.

Labour's Trevor Mallard is the sole MP there - Mallard was sports minister of the former Labour Government which committed $36 million to Team NZ after 2007 for the 2013 campaign - funding the National Government said it disagreed with but had to stick to after entering Government in 2008.

Sports Minister Jonathan Coleman was so worried about jinxing the result, he would not comment on possible funding until it was over. " "There's still a bit to go and I don't want to jinx it by getting ahead of ourselves."

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, who manages the Major Events portfolio, was less wary - and also more positive than he was last week about the prospect of Government cash going toward the Cup. Last Friday, Bridges said: "Should they win, I don't think there should be an expectation that the Government would be a big supporter of hosting the event, but we will of course consider any future investment on its merits and the return that such investment may bring to New Zealand."

Advertisement

By Monday afternoon - and three more wins for Team NZ put them at match point - he was less Scrooge-like, saying he expected Team NZ would want to talk about "a future partnership."

"However, for now, it would be premature for the Government to consider potential investment in Team New Zealand's next America's Cup campaign before we can fully understand the opportunity that the next event holds for New Zealand and New Zealanders."

Labour leader Andrew Little said if New Zealand was hosting the Cup, he would support "modest" Government funding for it because of the economic benefits to New Zealand. A detailed plan would be needed to decide how much was needed.

Australia's Prime Minister Bob Hawke watched Australia's 1883 America's Cup win in the dark of night from the Royal Perth Yacht Club in a loud Australia jacket and almost declared a public holiday.

Prime Minister Bill English is taking a more subdued approach to what many hope will be a New Zealand win on Tuesday - he will watch the early morning races in his living room at home with a milo.

Little also planned to watch the races at his home - and already had his new red socks on.