The Government will invest $5 million in Team New Zealand to help it retain its key members, ministers announced this afternoon.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said the interim funding would help protect the team's intellectual property, experience "and the skills that rest with key team members".

The Government provided the same amount of funding to Team NZ following its defeat in San Francisco in 2013.

Read more about how Auckland could host the Cup by clicking here.


Bridges would not say whether the Government would provide funding to Team NZ's defence of the America's Cup, which is expected to be in New Zealand.

"While the location for the 36th America's Cup has not been decided yet, we do know that hosting a regatta in New Zealand has the potential to generate significant economic benefits.

"The America's Cup regattas hosted in New Zealand in 2000 and 2003 had a significant impact on the New Zealand economy generating around half a billion dollars of total value added per regatta, particularly in the marine and tourism sectors.

"New Zealand Trade and Enterprise also held a successful business leverage programme at the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco in 2013 which generated trade and investment deals for New Zealand worth $200 million and a further $120 million of new sales opportunities and investor interest."

Speaking at his regular post-Cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Bill English said Team NZ had provided enjoyment and a sense of achievement to millions of Kiwis.

"Once the team is back in the country we are open to discussing with them their plans for staging the defence of the Cup."

Asked if $5m was just the start, English said that was yet to be seen. The Cup was a large event the Government would normally work to support, and that was seperate to any further grant to the team.

The $5m was provided because Team NZ didn't have any cash, and their talent was vulnerable to being poached. English said the government paid the salaries of other elite athletes.


He said running the event could be complex, and the Cup would fall in the same year that New Zealand hosted Apec.

"That may be part of an early discussion, to work out when the peak activity is ... Apec goes all year."

English said he didn't think it was realistic to have the Cup finals anywhere else but Auckland.

English said he would expect how the $5m was spent would be transparent, allowing for issues of personal privacy. Asked if it was enough, English said he understood it was an agreed amount.

"The defenders as I understand it have decided the finals will be here...certainly we are working on the assumption that they will be here."

English said his view was any funding should be conditional on the regatta being held in New Zealand.

'We are not holding out an open chequebook'

Earlier today, English said Team NZ would not dictate how much money the government would invest.

"We are in boots-and-all in the sense that this is a big event, it will be great for New Zealand and government has a role in supporting major events. But we are not holding out an open chequebook for Team New Zealand to get whatever they want," English told Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB this morning.

"There will probably be more to say today. Cabinet will have the first serious discussion. Discussions have begun between the council, government and the team. There is quite a long way to go here."

One of the biggest challenges will be finding a place to hold the event, given the previous site in Auckland was now being built on, English said.

There will be two aspects to government support. The Government had a process for supporting major events, but the second and less clear cut aspect was support for Team NZ.

"That will be a pretty hard-edged discussion. They have succeeded this time without significant government support. It will be a bit different having it in New Zealand, but we are open to the discussion."

Last week former prime minister Helen Clark said there was "no question" the Government would have to be involved in funding and organising the America's Cup, "a huge thing for New Zealand".

Clark was criticised by National in 2007 when the then-Labour Government agreed to put $38 million into Team New Zealand's campaign. Although National went ahead with the funding, it only put in $5 million for the most recent campaign.