Yachting: 'End of the road' for Team NZ funding

Photo Reuters
Photo Reuters
The future of Team New Zealand is looking grim after the announcement today that there will be no America's Cup pre-regatta for Auckland.

All racing for the 2017 regatta will take place off Bermuda. The announcement has been made on the Cup's official website.

With Team NZ's bid for government funding hinging on securing hosting rights to the qualifying regatta, there has been suggestion the Kiwi syndicate may be forced to close their doors without a top-up from the tax-payer.

Prime Minister John Key hinted at that on Paul Henry this morning when asked whether the government would fund the team now that there's no Auckland regatta.

"I think we're at the end of the road really," the Prime Minister said.

"Of course Steven Joyce will continue to have discussions with Grant Dalton, but the government's position has been pretty clear.

"With the event being held 100 percent in Bermuda, that becomes a really challenging issue to go beyond the $5 million we've already put in."

All teams will compete in a double round robin format for the America's Cup Qualifiers. The top four challengers from the qualifiers will advance to the Challenger Playoffs.

The winner of the playoffs will meet the defending champion, Oracle.

The original decision to hold a pre-regatta in Auckland was strongly opposed by the European challengers, who indicated a preference that all of the racing in 2017 be conducted at a single venue, Bermuda.

Team New Zealand were challenging a decision by the America's Cup Events Authority to ditch Auckland.

Chief executive Grant Dalton said earlier this month regardless of the outcome of any hearing "this is not the end of Emirates Team New Zealand".

Mr Key told TVNZ's Breakfast show today the chance of the competition gaining government funding was "significantly reduced" if there was no pre-regatta for Auckland.

There would be no promotion of New Zealand if the race was held overseas, he said.

"It's going to be very difficult to get the public on side that they think it's a good idea to put more money in."


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