15 Jun 2014

Team NZ sponsor not approached

2:32 pm on 15 June 2014

A major Team New Zealand sponsor has not been asked for any more money after the Government ruled out an immediate cash injection.

Team New Zealand managing director, Grant Dalton

Team New Zealand managing director, Grant Dalton Photo: AFP

Team managing director Grant Dalton said on Friday that Team New Zealand will go under by the end of June, without Government funding, as corporate sponsors won't pay up until next February.

About 90 companies backed its Cup challenge last year and Toyota has been a key sponsor for the last two decades.

But the company's assistant general manager of marketing Andrew Davis said it has not been approached for more cash.

"I suspect they are trying to get details of the next campaign together before they formally approach some of the sponsors. The big thing for Toyota is how the team and how the next regatta fits with New Zealand because that's what our sponsorship is all about."

The team was given $5 million by the Government in October 2013, and Economic Development Minister, Steven Joyce won't commit to giving any more cash until sponsors do.

Editor of Professional Skipper magazine, Keith Ingram said corporates are becoming more and more reluctant to increase their sponsorship.

"It's becoming so expensive. We're only a small nation. Where's the money coming from? Look at the other nations. They are all struggling because we have one fat cat in America whose lifting the bar far too high."

Loan not handout

The Taxpayers' Union said the Government should offer Team New Zealand a loan, not a hand out.

Executive director of the Taxpayers' Union, Jordan Williams said taxpayers shouldn't be forced to fund the gap if private sponsors aren't willing to.

He said no other government is putting money into an America's Cup syndicate and the New Zealand Government has already given millions of dollars to the team.

He said at some point the team has to be sustainable relying on only corporate sponsorship.