The America's Cup will get more cash in Auckland Council's "emergency budget" but it's less than what was earmarked before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
The council and the Government have poured $250m into hosting the 36th America's Cup - and the council is planning to spend a further $20m to support the regatta and other events next year.
The council's share of the $250m is $113m. The Government is spending $136.5m, including a host fee of $40m. On top of this, the council has been spending about $100m to spruce up the waterfront in time for the cup and other events in 2021.
Now the council has included $20m in the draft "emergency budget" for events including promotion, activities around the cup bases on the waterfront, traffic management and public transport.
It comes after yesterday's Government announcement that members of team American Magic and INEOS Team UK would be granted exemptions for 190 workers and 232 family members to enter the country.
The council money has been cut back from $40m-plus for the Cup and other events in the pre-Covid budget. It will be spent by Auckland Transport and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed).
The $20m comes as council reels from a $525 million revenue hit from the Covid-19 pandemic - the highest faced by any council and the highest in the city's history.
To plug the gaping hole, the "emergency budget" includes cuts to spending on infrastructure and reducing popular services like libraries and community centres. Public transport and road safety are other victims of the pandemic.
Emirates Team New Zealand and America's Cup Challenger Luna Rossa want the battle for the Auld Mug to go ahead as scheduled.
Asked this week what would happen if the cup was postponed, council chief executive Stephen Town said: "As I understand it, there's no money to keep the team together."
A council spokeswoman welcomed the Government's changes to the immigration laws offering exemptions to the teams, saying: "We will be watching with interest how things change and adapt over the next few months."
She said six superyachts had cancelled bookings for the event.
"As it stands, we are at 90 per cent capacity of the 77 berths available ... and there is a current wait list of 50," the spokeswoman said.
Ateed chief executive Nick Hill said super yachts would be worth $120m to Auckland.
Sandra Coney, a member of the Waitākere Ranges Local Board and former councillor, has slammed council spending on the America's Cup.
"We can get out of contracts for libraries but not apparently from those supporting a sport of the rich. Is it right to take a punt on a discretionary boatfest, while delaying transport safety measures, cutting support to community environment programmes, cutting arts programmes and taking money off local boards most of which supports communities," she said on Facebook.
• To find out more about the emergency budget and have a say before submissions close on June 19, go to: akhaveyoursay.nz/emergency-budget