The Kiwi Home Defence campaign has doubled its financial proposal to keep the next America's Cup in Auckland – but Team New Zealand remain unmoved by the renewed bid.
In a media release, the Kiwi Home Defence confirmed it has sent a written proposal to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the trustees of the Team New Zealand Trust to increase its firm commitment to help fund a home defence in Auckland from $20 million to $40 million.
The campaign, led by Kiwi rich-lister Mark Dunphy, believes the additional commitment will be sufficient funding to stage a fully-funded and competitive defence of the America's Cup in Auckland.
"We have reviewed the publicly available financial information from the staging of our tremendous Cup defence earlier this year along with the summary information provided to us by Team New Zealand representatives," Dunphy said in a statement.
"It is our understanding from this review that the actual shortfall for a home defence is $40 million, not the $80 million which had been advised, and our proposal today fully bridges the shortfall.
"Kiwi Home Defence considers that the defence of the America's Cup in 2024 can, should and must be held here at home in Tāmaki Makaurau. Our letter demonstrates that the required funding is available to support the Cup defence at home."
Dunphy, who is chairman of Greymouth Petroleum, said the increased proposal provides the funding required to keep the Cup in New Zealand, based on previous discussions with Team NZ.
"Team NZ advised at our first meeting that $120 Million is the funding required for the team ... Team NZ has said it is committed to funding $80 million from commercial sponsorships and private donors. This leaves a balance of $40 million to be committed to fully fund Team New Zealand. Today, we are making a firm commitment to provide the additional $40 million for the team.
"Our updated funding proposal assumes that the Crown and Auckland Council will be invited back to the table to support the staging of the event, and that their offer of cash (NZ$31 million) and in-kind support (NZ$68 million) stands.
"Time is of the essence for the smooth planning of, and preparation for, the AC37 defence in March 2024. Through the Trustees, and with the involvement of the RNZYS, Kiwi Home Defence now seeks a meeting as early as possible with TNZ for the parties to expedite matters and make arrangements for the defence to proceed in Auckland."
However, Team NZ have responded saying they will not entertain the bid, following their past dealings with the Kiwi Home Defence and Dunphy.
"Just to repeat our position from our statement of 22nd September: 'Emirates Team New Zealand and RNZYS have decided to cease all correspondence and any dealings with Mr Dunphy based on clear evidence of his and his associate Dr. Hamish Ross's conflicted actions that they have refused to come clean on'," a Team NZ spokesperson said in a statement to the Herald.
Last month, the RNZYS and Team NZ announced that the hosting decision for the next America's Cup, which was set to be made on September 17, would be delayed to allow more time to find the right venue, including a last-ditch bid to keep the Cup in Auckland.
Three international candidates – Cork in Ireland, Barcelona in Spain and Jedda In Saudi Arabia – are also reportedly being considered as hosts.
However, hopes of an Auckland defence took a hit after Team NZ boss Grant Dalton said he had ceased all correspondence with Dunphy in September.
Dalton claimed Dunphy refused to answer questions the syndicate put to him regarding his campaign for the 37th Cup to be hosted in New Zealand.
It followed a public back-and-forth between the two parties over a possible home defence, including claims from Team NZ that Swiss billionaire and Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli was involved with a possible New York Supreme Court action and the Kiwi Home Defence campaign, which Dunphy has denied.
Dalton said he was "disappointed" by Dunphy's "underhanded and deceitful attempts to undermine the RNZYS, ETNZ and the RYS with his despicable actions".
"We gave him every opportunity to tell us himself, but he chose not to and as far as we are concerned this puts an end to a regrettable chapter in AC37."
Dunphy said on Thursday that keeping the 2024 defence in New Zealand will "maximise the return on the significant investment" made by Kiwis.
"The 2024 America's Cup defence provides a magnificent opportunity to announce our country is back and open for business as the Covid 19 pandemic recedes. This superb event, with its huge global audience, would be very beneficial for re-establishing New Zealand's international linkages and visibility. It will also maximise the return on the significant investment New Zealand taxpayers and Auckland Council have made in the legacy infrastructure built for AC36.
"We have been working tirelessly to ensure a successful home defence can be staged since the Commodore of the RNZYS asked on 1 June that we seek to arrange funding. We have been successful in that mission and we now invite Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron to consider our proposals in the positive and constructive way they are made. We are passionate supporters of Team New Zealand and its sailors, designers, boat builders and shore crew."
Dalton has yet to close the door on a possible Auckland defence but has said that Dunphy will play no part in it.