America's Cup: Govt chips in $5 million for Team NZ
A week after Emirates Team New Zealand claimed victory over the US's Oracle in the America's Cup, the Government has announced it'll be helping the team defend the Cup.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Sports and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman announced a $5 million investment in Team NZ, so it can keep hold of some of its key staff while planning for the title defence.
"This win is an inspirational achievement and builds on our proud sailing heritage, and I'm confident it will help to inspire our next generation of yachties," Dr Coleman said.
While not yet staking a claim on the location for the next America's Cup, Mr Bridges said hosting it in New Zealand would have "the potential to generate significant economic benefits".
"The America's Cup regattas hosted in New Zealand in 2000 and 2003 had a significant impact on the New Zealand economy generating around half a billion dollars of total value added per regatta, particularly in the marine and tourism sectors," he said.
Prime Minister Bill English said once the team is back in New Zealand, the Government is "open to discussing" plans for the Cup's defence.
"This is a team that has provided enjoyment and a sense of achievement to millions of New Zealanders over the past few weeks, and helped to project the New Zealand brand of innovation, teamwork, onto the world stage," he said.
Team NZ chief executive Grant Dalton last week revealed financial difficulties meant the 2017 campaign was almost abandoned.
Team members were on reduced wages throughout the campaign, with the Government opting to pull their funding following the move of the round-robin series from its original destination of Auckland to Bermuda.
Ultimately a $5 million grant was made in order to help the Kiwis retain some of their talent following San Francisco, but decided against any further public grants under the weight of taxpayer pressure.