Internet millionaire Kim Dotcom has vowed to help fund
Team New Zealand's next America's Cup campaign.
The team's future hangs in the balance after Oracle Team USA
retained the Cup in San Francisco yesterday, with boss Grant
Dalton's position uncertain and the Government yet to confirm
whether it would fund another tilt.
The Government stumped up $36 million for the latest
campaign, but Prime Minister John Key yesterday said
decisions were yet to be made about whether it would help
However, he indicated it was likely, and hoped to discuss
whether another campaign was possible.
Internet entrepreneur Dotcom, whose relationship with Mr Key
has been tense since the GCSB spying revelations, today said
he would back Team NZ if the Government did not.
The Mega founder said on Twitter: "Prime Minister John Key
says no more funding for Team NZ? I say #Mega will become a
Team NZ sponsor & we will win next time. #AmericasCup."
Dotcom told One News he would pump millions into the campaign
regardless of the Government's contribution.
He had not discussed it with Team NZ but said there was no
better brand to be associated with, and he liked the idea
with going up against another technology entrepreneur, Oracle
boss Larry Ellison.
Dotcom told One News he was impressed with the team's skill
and like most New Zealanders he had been glued to the racing
for the last fortnight.
The German national is facing extradition to the United
States on internet piracy charges relating to his recently
rebooted Mega internet service.
Mr Key said Dotcom was welcome to fund Team NZ.
"That's a matter for him if he wants to put his money in,
he's welcome to do so.''
Asked if the Government would effectively be partnering with
Dotcom if both funded a campaign, Mr Key said it would not
affect the Government's decision.
"No, I wouldn't have thought so.''
Mr Key had not spoken to Dalton or Team NZ skipper Dean
Barker yet, but he had asked senior minister Steven Joyce,
who was in San Francisco to watch the race, to pass on his
commiserations and that they were proud of them.
"But we will definitely do that [talk to the team]. They'll
be returning to New Zealand and so will I and we'll have an
opportunity to have some discussions with them.''