Auckland – The government was fast out of the blocks in offering funding to support Emirates Team New Zealand, just hours after it successfully defended the America’s Cup on the Waitemata harbour yesterday.
Taxpayer money will keep the team to together to build for the next defence in two years’ time. Yesterday’s win over Luna Rossa was their fourth America’s Cup triumph after winning in 1995, 2000 and 2017.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern says Team New Zealand provided such optimism and excitement.
“I know with all the international limitations that covid created this wasn’t the competition they expected, but they’ve made us so proud,” she said.
Cabinet has agreed to invest in the team from within existing budgets. It would be subject to a number of conditions, including an expectation the Auld Mug will be defended in New Zealand.
Team New Zealand has received government assistance following every America’s Cup since 2003.
A total of $136.5 million was set aside in the 2018 Budget for cup-related infrastructure and activities. Not all of that funding has been spent.
Some of the money went on downtown infrastructure, of which $40 million was to deliver and manage the event.
Auckland Council invested $113 million into infrastructure, which remains in place now racing is over. The council has also borne substantial extra operating costs for the regatta.
The New York Times says the victory was the second in a row for a syndicate representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
“This year’s races took place without their usual huge crowds of visiting spectators, many of whom had been kept away by strict coronavirus restrictions that had effectively closed New Zealand’s borders to noncitizens.
“The racing schedule had to be modified several times to accommodate stringent — and changing — lockdown rules that at times forced delays in the competition.