Govt keeps Team New Zealand afloat, for now
A $5 million "interim" government investment in Emirates Team New Zealand will be made to keep its key members while a further decision is made for a future challenge.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce made the announcement today and says the money will bridge the team's funding to keep designers, sailors, support crew and administration staff until May next year.
At that point, Team New Zealand will finalise a decision on its involvement in the 35th regatta.
The funding is "a little bit less" than Team New Zealand was asking for, but the team has agreed to find the rest of the money.
Mr Joyce says there are no conditions on the money, including whether Grant Dalton and Dean Barker will stay onboard.
While both had signalled their intention to stay, "they've also been very clear that they shouldn't have their positions as of right and that should always be tested," Mr Joyce says.
The benefits to the country from this year's America's Cup in San Francisco have been vast, he says.
"We are keen to retain the knowledge and skills of the team for a further challenge, should that prove feasible."
"We think on the strength of the outcome, in terms of exposure for this country, it's certainly worth looking at seriously again and we're prepared to put the $5 million up in the meantime to give the opportunity to see if we can support the team in putting a challenge together," he says.
A thorough evaluation of the benefits to the New Zealand economy from the $36 million investment in this year's regatta is expected in March next year.
The Government will assess further involvement "based on a strong business case" from Team New Zealand and the benefits for the wider economy.
"Team New Zealand is welcoming the Government's announcement of an interim investment," says Team New Zealand spokesperson Warren Douglas. "They are already talking informally to existing sponsors and are formulating a business plan for the 35th America's Cup. From next month they will start to formalise arrangements with new sponsors."
The $5 million will be part of any final government sponsorship arrangement. If the team does decide to challenge again, the Government will likely invest between $30 to $40 million, Mr Joyce says.
Mr Joyce says the previous government made an interim investment of $10 million to tide the team over after the 2007 America's Cup.