The Government is seeking to have input in the design and shape of the 36th America's Cup.
Documents obtained by the Herald under the Official Information Act reveal the extent of strategising that took place in the days after Team New Zealand's stunning win in Bermuda to ensure the Government would have a seat at the bargaining table.
Team NZ are set to reveal their plans for the next event, likely to be held in early 2021, later this month. This follows negotiations with Luna Rossa, the challenger of record.
But it is not just the Italian team looking to hold sway over the plans for the regatta. A document circulated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - the lead government agency for the next America's Cup - stressed the urgency in cosying up to the Kiwi syndicate.
"The government has the opportunity to work with Team NZ over the coming weeks and months to influence the design and nature of the event," the document stated.
Officials were concerned that decisions would progress quickly, and recommended "early engagement to allow Government to influence the decision making from both Team New Zealand and Auckland Council".
The interest appeared to extend to the type of boat class selected for the event, the timing of the regatta and broadcast arrangements. Minister of economic development Simon Bridges, who chairs the minister's group for the 36th America's Cup, noted in a paper to cabinet that the protocol has "the ability to impact the event significantly".
A group including the Ministers of Finance and Sport and Recreation was formed a week after Team NZ got their hands on the famous piece of silverware for the purpose of handling key decisions related to hosting the event, investment in the team, the event itself and infrastructure issues.
The government agreed to contribute $5 million to Team NZ following their win in Bermuda to help the Kiwi syndicate retain core staff and prevent them being picked off by rival syndicates.
Bridges wrote in his paper to cabinet that further government investment would be contingent upon being involved in the planning for the next event.
"I have made it clear to Team NZ that if it intends to request further government investment, I expect government officials to be involved to some extent in the design of the 36th America's Cup, with the view to maximising the outcomes for New Zealand."
Bridges' office responded to interview requests with a statement:
"The Government is continuing to talk with Emirates Team NZ and Auckland Council about support for the America's Cup event and central Government's potential role. However it is still early days."
Labour spokesman for sport and recreation, Trevor Mallard, said the party considered America's Cup funding a "live issue".
"My view is we would need to look at the protocol before deciding anything," he said.
"An event of this size has very big leveraging opportunities for New Zealand in it. We think the Lions tour and even the Rugby World Cup to an extent the leverage was not done well. It was great for tourism, but not for longer term business opportunities in terms of contacts. To leverage it properly the government has to get in and partner with either the team or the event."
Team NZ did not respond to requests for comment., but have signalled they will announce their plans for their defence later this month.
The most highly-anticipated detail will be what class of boat the team opts for, with speculation mounting they will abandon the high-powered foiling catamarans introduced by Oracle Team USA bosses Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison in favour of a return to monohulls.