America's Cup 2021: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern fends off questions until investigations complete

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has fended off questions over America's Cup funding until the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has completed its investigation.

During an Auckland school visit on Friday, Ardern was asked if she was concerned where Government contributions to Team New Zealand and America's Cup Events had been misused.

Funding of the Auckland waterfront event has been frozen, while MBIE investigates claims a $3 million loan was "reclassified" and allegations of fraud involving a Hungarian bank account.

But Ardern is loathe to comment on the case until the investigation was over.

"I don't want to predetermine what might be the findings of work under way at the moment by MBIE," she says. "It is something they are looking at, as you would expect when you see some of the claims being made.

"I've seen a range of different reports and feedback on what's being investigated at present. Ultimately, we are still committed to hosting a successful America's Cup, but we need to make sure MBIE have the space to look into this properly.

"This is a demonstration that the checks and balances are in place. We have allegations that are being investigated, which is only appropriate."

Ardern has shut down questions over whether she trusts Team NZ boss Grant Dalton, who came out swinging this week, accusing "spies" of infiltrating his organisation and leaking information.

"All of these questions assume an outcome and we don't have one at the moment. We need to let due process, not make any pre-determination and judgment, and let MBIE do the job of an audit process.

"Once we have those answers, we can look through what's happened."

Ardern also dismissed the notion that the America's Cup regatta should be postponed or cancelled during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have commitments that it's only right we continue to fulfill," she says. "There are economic spinoffs from hosting, but there's also the event itself.

"We can see in the future the likely benefit of making sure New Zealand is on the world stage."