If Team New Zealand decide to mount a challenge for the next America's Cup in 2017, it's "probably inevitably'' the Government will provide them with more funding, Prime Minister John Key said today.
Short-term funding to ensure the team's future was also a "possibility'', he said.
"The Government's view is that we're more than happy to talk to Team New Zealand - in fact, I spoke to Dean Barker myself this morning and made that point to him - `we're more than happy to have a discussion with you: you guys come back to us when you're in a position that you want to chat'.''
Since Australian interests have already vowed to make a challenge, the question is now whether New Zealand wants to be there or not, Mr Key said, speaking in Christchurch this morning.
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"If we do, probably inevitably the Government will have to put in some money,'' he said.
"That will have a range of views from New Zealanders - some will be very supportive and some will think it's an expensive exercise.''
The Government would take into account, not just what happens on the water, but the potential economic benefits to New Zealand, whether the nation's reputation is enhanced globally, and the impact on the local boat building industry.
Whether the team remains together in the short term depends on several factors, Mr Key said.
"It just depends on whether the individuals want to stay, what the right structure should be, whether the Government wants to put in, and ultimately whether these big private sector funders are prepared to step up again.
"We understand the pressures that they're under... they're a very good team and obviously there is international interest in recruiting them.''