Dean Barker is being replaced as helmsman by Team New Zealand, with Peter Burling set to take over as the lead skipper.

Newstalk ZB revealed the syndicate's plan on the Larry Williams show this afternoon.

But Emirates Team New Zealand has described media reports this afternoon as "inaccurate", saying no decision had been made in relation to helmsman for the next America's Cup.

In a further statement, Team New Zealand said: "The team had been conducting a review across all operations, the sailing team included, with a view to decreasing costs and increasing competitiveness. The review is continuing."


Burling's father Richard said reports about his son replacing Barker were "speculation" and Peter was currently surfing in Auckland with friends.

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America's Cup organisers will formally announce the plan next month.

Burling is a 49er world champion and Olympic silver medalist.

Dean Barker with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Pool Photo / Fiona Goodall/ AFP
Dean Barker with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Pool Photo / Fiona Goodall/ AFP

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce also confirmed today Team NZ is likely to get less government funding this time round than the $36 million for the 2013 America's Cup.

Mr Joyce said he was unable to confirm any funding details until the America's Cup Authority formally announces whether New Zealand had secured the qualifiers' series in the lead up to the Cup in June next year.

There are unconfirmed reports Auckland will be the host for that series which Mr Joyce has done little to quash. The Herald reported this morning that the Government had agreed to contribute the funding but it would be "significantly less" than last time.

Mr Joyce said the figure would be finalised once the announcement was made. "I suspect it will be less than that [$36 million]."


He said there would be different views on the merits of it. "But certainly holding a significant part of the regatta, less than half, but still significant, in Auckland with Oracle racing which would be very positive from New Zealand's perspective."

Dean Barker is greeted by thousands of fans at Shed 10 in 2013. Photo / Greg Bowker
Dean Barker is greeted by thousands of fans at Shed 10 in 2013. Photo / Greg Bowker

Labour's sport spokesman Trevor Mallard confirmed he was briefed on the outcome of the qualifiers' series decisions, but not by the Government and hinted it was international sources. He said he did not intend to break the confidentiality he was bound by.

Mr Mallard was Sport Minister under the former Labour Government which had given the $36 million funding and said he believed it was worth re-investing in the team whether or not it had secured a series. He said the Government had earned more in income tax and GST than it contributed in direct funding last time. "It would be logical for them to put money in on the cost benefit and tax analysis they've done. I think it adds up."

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Mr Mallard's leader was slightly less convinced and Mr Mallard said he had not passed on the information he knew to Mr Little because "I don't break confidences."

Mr Little said the America's Cup was perceived as a "rich man's game" but Labour could support funding if it was justified by benefits to local businesses such as boat builders, sail makers and component part makers.

"Obviously it's a sport that looks like a rich man's game - the big flash yachts, well paid crew. But if there's positive benefits, particularly if that exceeds any contribution the Government is making, I think it's worth looking at."

He said New Zealand was a world leader in boat building and hosting a series allowed a chance to showcase that technology. However, he said he wanted to see a business case before agreeing to it.

Mr Joyce said he would be surprised if Labour criticised a funding contribution, given it was Labour which committed $36 million for the last campaign.

- additional reporting Bay of Plenty Times / Claire Trevett