Auckland councillor Josephine Bartley says Sir Russell Coutts' 'entitlement' is 'unbelievable' after SailGP drama

  • 25/03/2024

Auckland councillor Josephine Bartley has hit out at "entitled" Sir Russell Coutts for complaining about Saturday's race cancellation.

The SailGP chief executive launched an attack on local officials in Christchurch after dolphins on the Lyttelton course forced the cancellation of racing on Saturday.

Sir Russell said the event will not return to Christchurch, hitting out at the harbourmaster, Department of Conservation, ECan and local iwi Ngāti Wheke for "extremely restrictive" protocols being placed on racing.

"It's another example of New Zealand handcuffed by unprecedented layers of bureaucracy and red tape," he said in response to the cancellation.

Appearing on AM's Monday panel alongside former National Party leader and Auckland Business Chamber CEO Simon Bridges, Bartley said we need to protect the Hector's Dolphins.

She pointed to the fact SailGP held its event in a marine mammal sanctuary that was established for the protection of Hector's Dolphins

"It is a marine mammal sanctuary. You would think that it would be a safe environment for the dolphins," Bartley said. 

"I just think, wow, the entitlement coming out of Russell Coutts is just unbelievable. I think as a country we would want to protect our own native species."

However, Bridges said he has a lot of Sympathy for Sir Russell.

"If you look at New Zealand right now, we make it hard… really hard to do major events… He will be frustrated about all those things in addition to this."

Bridges said it would be hard to find an area in New Zealand where there wasn't an interest group opposing the race.

"We do want events like this to happen and actually they do need to go ahead at the right times because people pay and it's a big part of economic growth and success in cities."

Bartley added that she is not "anti-events".

"We need those big events, I was one of the ones that voted for America's Cup… It was the benefits to the economy and the benefits to the city," she said. 

"We showed loyalty to that industry and it'd be nice if they showed the loyalty back to the city."

Watch the full panel above.