26 Nov 2020

America's Cup: Just three foreign journalists approved for entry

11:04 am on 26 November 2020

Only three of five foreign journalists who have so far applied to come to New Zealand for the 36th America's Cup have been approved entry.

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Photo: creative commons - pixabay - MiguelCC /

Events leading up to the international regatta begin next month in Auckland, and culminate in March with the premier event - the America's Cup Match, which was heavily reliant on broadcast coverage.

TVNZ has confirmed it has secured the New Zealand broadcast rights. Spokesperson Rachel Howard said Kiwis would be able to watch racing via the network, which would also take the world feed of the racing.

Overseas broadcasters could purchase the world feed, and add their own commentary team, meaning they would not need to be in New Zealand to do that.

New Zealand's borders are still closed to foreigners due to Covid-19, with some exceptions. Border exceptions may be granted where people have a critical purpose for travel to New Zealand, including 'other critical workers' who are specifically agreed to by the government.

Once granted a border exception, all international arrivals into New Zealand are required to go into managed isolation.

Immigration New Zealand said the bar for being granted an exception to the border restrictions was set high to help stop the spread of Covid-19, which remained crucial as the virus continued to spread overseas.

The 36th America's Cup was a government-approved event, which meant overseas media outlets could request a border exception under that category.

To date, Immigration New Zealand had approved 'other critical worker' visas for three journalists - two from a Canadian media company and one from a European outlet - to cover the event.

Applications needed to made by a company. INZ said it aimed to respond to 'other critical worker' Expression of Interest (EOI) requests from employers within two weeks. Once approved, the applicant was invited to apply, and had one month to submit an application.

It said processing applications usually took about two weeks.

In line with government policy, any overseas arrivals for broadcast or media associated with the 36th America's Cup would be charged for the cost of quarantine.

Immigration New Zealand said the two other applicants were declined entry under criteria that included the person needed to have "unique experience and technical skills that are not obtainable in New Zealand".

MBIE manager of New Zealand major events Susan Sawbridge told RNZ in August that media coverage was an important component of the America's Cup, but government policy on border exemptions was clear, and there were a limited number of exceptions that would be made.

Media granted approval to come to New Zealand were required to go into managed isolation, at their cost.

"In line with the government policy, any arrivals for broadcast or media associated with the 36th America's Cup will be charged fees aligned with the recently introduced fee structure," Sawbridge said.

The America's Cup Event organisers have been approached for comment.

The New Zealand segment of the America's Cup World Series is scheduled to start in Auckland next month. The World Series are match races and fleet regattas staged overseas throughout the year as heats leading up to the main event.

The series to decide the Cup challenger follows in January, before the event proper in March.

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