17 Mar 2021

Cabinet signals $5m for Team New Zealand's next America's Cup defence

7:05 pm on 17 March 2021

The government has congratulated Team New Zealand, and reaffirmed its commitment to support the team as it prepares for the next America's Cup.

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(file photo) Photo: Tom Kitchin/ RNZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said they had made the country proud.

"Peter Burling and his crew of skilled sailors showed what they were capable of in all conditions, highlighting the tactical brilliance and sheer hard work of everyone involved.

"Following a hard year, Team New Zealand provided such optimism and excitement. I know with all the international limitations that Covid created this wasn't the competition they expected, but they've made us so proud", Ardern said.

The minister responsible for America's Cup support Stuart Nash said Cabinet has agreed in principle to use the under-spend from the $136.5 million set aside in Budget 2018 to support the successful team to stay together while it planned its defence.

"It would be subject to a number of conditions, including an expectation the Cup will be defended in New Zealand.

"The defence of the Cup offers a global opportunity to promote New Zealand as an innovative and successful nation, with spin-offs in areas like tourism and export deals", he said.

Nash said while no request for support had yet been made, he anticipated it would be a similar to the $5 million that was paid after America's Cup in Bermuda in 2017.

Mayor backs return to Auckland for next Cup

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the city did not get the expected return from its investment in America's Cup infrastructure due to the Covid-19 pandemic which meant the expected tourists and the super yachts did not materialise.

He said Auckland was able to showcase itself to the world, and the infrastructure is now in place.

Goff said he was hopeful that Auckland would again host the America's Cup in three years time.

"All the infrastructure is there, it's just there and ready to go if Team New Zealand makes a decision it's where they're going to host the next Cup and that's what we expect of them, I know the government will expect that and I really hope that the Cup is going to be in the city."

He said the country and spectators had been behind Team New Zealand and Auckland was a great place to host the cup.